5 million Afrikaners

Posted: October 30th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: the US and us | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

How could Israel keep millions of Palestinians without civil rights for more than 42 years? Yoel Marcus – a centrist veteran pundit for Haaretz, not some lefty anti-Semite – comes up with a provocative answer:

The leaders of pre-state Israel who were prepared in 1949 to give up large sections of the land in return for recognition from the Arabs took advantage of the Arab’s refusal to expand. It was the left’s leaders who started the settlements. A settlement policy was never on the right-wing Revisionists’ list of things to do. Slowly, war after war, and in the 60th year of its establishment, Israel remains the only country in the world without permanent borders.

The [Israeli] politicians have been lucky over the generations that the United States supports Israel. During one of my visits to South Africa, a tough Afrikaner said to me that if they had had 5 million Afrikaners in America, they would never have given up South Africa. Maybe this is so and maybe not. But there is no doubt that the American Jews’ strength has caused even those presidents who have not especially loved Jews to support Israel, or will win their support for Israel in the future.

I would love to see what Jeffrey Goldberg has to say about this.

I would love to see what Jeffrey Goldberg has to say about this.

2 Comments on “5 million Afrikaners”

  1. 1 Raphael said at 3:53 pm on October 30th, 2009:

    I’d say that’s a bit simplified. Ok, Jewish voters play a bit of a role, but today support for Israel’s actions seems to come mainly from 1) Evangelical Christians who think that it is important for Israel to stay strong so that it can play the role they believe it is meant to play in the divine plan for the End of Days and 2) Foreign policy hawks who have thought for a while that supporting Israel is the hawkish thing to do and therefore the right thing to do. (There’s some overlap between these groups.)

    Historically, the different relations that Israel’s leaders and South Africa’s old leaders had to Nazi Germany, and to nazis after the war, probably played a role in shaping US attitudes towards their countries. It’s easier to oppose people who get some support from neo-nazis and whose party used to sympathize with the original nazis, than to oppose people who are to a good deal survivors or descendants of survivors of nazi persecutions.

    And there’s the civil rights angle: For people who are (at least in theory) against oppressing minorities, and who come from a vountry where Blacks and Jews are both minorities with a history of being discriminated against, it can be easier to oppose a system that oppresses Blacks than to oppose a system whose leaders are Jews.

    So I don’t think that, other things staying as they are in our world, 5 million Afrikaners in the USA would have made much of a difference in attitudes towards apartheid.

  2. 2 noam said at 4:26 am on October 31st, 2009:

    Raphel – you might be taking Marcus quote too literally. I think that the question is not whether SA’s Apartheid could have survived with the support of a strong community of loyal ex-pats in the US, but rather could the Israeli occupation have survived without US Jews.

    In other words, it’s nice to see the first signs of debate in the US regarding the Jewish support for the current Israeli government – but I didn’t see much thinking on the question of responsibility. to what expense the Jewish community is responsible for what’s going on in the WB? For the abuse of civil and human rights – the same rights they support back home? For the settlements?