Tulsa Peace Fellowship

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Randall Robinson on Nelson Mandela, and the Success of the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Movement (BDS) in overthrowing the South African apartheid regime

from the rush transcript of the interview:
RANDALL ROBINSON: "5,000 Americans who came to the embassy over the following years—year to be arrested. And of course that helped to propel through the Congress the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986. So, it—and then American investments in South Africa began to tumble. And, of course, that, combined with the internal pressures in the country, produced the circumstances in the government there, the readiness to negotiate and to ultimately release Nelson Mandela. ... [The divestment movement] made every difference. There was no inclination in government to change policy. There was in place a policy that the Republican government called "constructive engagement," meaning that, in effect, that we were on South Africa’s side and that sanctions would be the wrong thing, even though the ANC was asking us to do all that we could to put in place sanctions, because they knew, and we knew, that unless the government of South Africa felt the steel of some penalty for what they were doing, nothing would ever change. But once the loans began to disappear and the corporate investors began to disappear and the income and the size of the South African economy began to shrink, because of these efforts and because of these civil disobedience efforts across the United States, it made all the difference in the world.

And so, then we saw passed in 1986 in October the Comprehensive Act, with a Republican Senate overriding the veto of Ronald Reagan. It was the only time in the 20th century that an American president had suffered an override for a foreign policy measure, an override of a veto. So, it was historic. And it happened because of the leadership in the Congress working with us, the leadership of Senator Ted Kennedy, the leadership of Bill Gray in the House, the Congressional Black Caucus and many others—Richard Lugar, a Republican leader. Lowell Weicker, a Republican from Connecticut, became the first American member of the United States Senate to be arrested in an act of civil disobedience."

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/12/6/randall_robinson_on_nelson_mandela_us

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Comment by Tony Nuspl on December 9, 2013 at 11:49am

"Israel initiated defense cooperation with apartheid South Africa. Israel profited handsomely from arms exports and South Africa gained access to cutting-edge weaponry at a time when the rest of the world was turning against the apartheid state. For the next twenty years, a Janus-faced Israel denied its ties with South Africa, claiming that it opposed apartheid on moral and religious grounds even as it secretly strengthened the arsenal of a white supremacist government. Israel and South Africa joined forces at a precarious and auspicious time. The alliance began in earnest after the October 1973 Yom Kippur War, and shared military and economic interests... This alliance exposed Israel to great risks in the realm of public relations, especially when the Jewish state’s legitimacy was already under attack at the U.N. from pro-Palestinian groups and aligning itself with the hated apartheid regime threatened to tarnish its reputation further. During the Rabin years, South African arms purchases breathed life into the Israeli economy and Israeli weapons helped to reinforce the beleaguered and isolated apartheid regime in Pretoria."

"These two isolated states formed an alliance that allowed South Africa to develop advanced nuclear missile technology and provided Israel with the raw material and testing space it needed to expand its existing arsenal of missiles and nuclear weapons. All of this occurred in the face of intense international criticism, surveillance by U.S. and Soviet intelligence agencies, and constant condemnation by the United Nations General Assembly.

This mutually beneficial relationship was forged outside the jurisdiction of international conventions such as the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the cornerstones of Western efforts to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The two countries developed and improved their respective weapons systems under such secrecy that not even American intelligence agencies knew the full extent of their cooperation. U.S. administrations couldn’t stop Israel from helping the apartheid state develop more advanced components of its nuclear arsenal."

"Even decades after the fact, Israel remains extremely sensitive about keeping secret the details of its collaboration with a regime that is now universally condemned as immoral. ... As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict festers and the prospects for peace appear gloomier each day, it has become increasingly popular to compare the situation in Israel to the dying days of the apartheid regime in South Africa."

Excerpted from The Unspoken Alliance by Sasha Polakow-Suransky Copyright © 2010 by Sasha Polakow-Suransky

posted online by Alex Kane on December 6, 2013 , under the title:
"The unspoken alliance: Israel’s secret relationship with apartheid South Africa"
http://mondoweiss.net/2013/12/alliance-relationship-apartheid.html

Comment by Tony Nuspl on December 8, 2013 at 9:26pm

6 Dec 2013 — Dozens of Palestinians across the West Bank were injured and one detained as Israeli forces opened fire to disperse protests against the Israeli occupation, during the commemorating of Nelson Mandela’s death.

http://mondoweiss.net/2013/12/military-palestinian-commemorations.html

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