The death of former South African Prime Minister, F.W. de Klerk (Nov. 11, 2021), triggers conversation about the meaning of “race” and “apartheid” with favored Israeli Jews and disenfranchised Arab Palestinians.
The Apartheid government there was called “racist” because it elevated the Dutch Afrikaners above the indigenous blacks and colored folks. Jews are NOT a race, so they declare.
Mostly because of the success of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement, “apartheid” became unsustainable. Mr. F.W. de Klerk realized it soon after becoming prime minister in 1989.
He began secret talks with Nelson Mandela, the long-imprisoned advocate for a fuller democracy. Mandela’s biographer, Richard Stengal, asked Mr. Mandela later if he trusted de Klerk’s offer of a truer democracy. Here’s how Mr. Mandela responded: “When you are negotiating, you have to accept what a man says. He says apartheid has failed; he wants to bring about a non-racial society. We have no reason to doubt that…We must accept that he does want democratic changes.” (Time, Dec. 6-13, 2021)
Mandela risked trusting de Klerk’s moves. Despite a tumultuous, violent interim, they averted civil war and brought about a freer South Africa.
The Jews in control of the Israeli State strenuously reject the charge that they are a “racist” state. They reject the notion of being a “two-tiered” (Apartheid) state. Furthermore, for the time being, they have no intention of bringing about a “nonracial society.”
Fully enfranchising the 20 percent of their Arab Israeli “citizens” would be a good first step. But what of enfranchising the millions of Arab Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem? Allowing them to have their own state has never been taken seriously by the Israelis.
Who will be the Israeli F.W. de Klerk to begin a radically different course? Who will challenge the present, rigid orthodoxy? “We are NOT a race. We are Jews. We are entitled to our own country. Get used to it!”
Brother and sister Israelis: Our sister and brother Palestinians will never “get used to it.” To demand the dispossessed, disenfranchised indigenous Arabs to accept the present status quo, won’t work in the long run.
Where is the Israeli F.W. de Klerk? When will the future begin to arrive over there (and here)?
This article originally appeared on The Holland Sentinel: Letter: Who will be the Israeli F.W. de Klerk?