Democracies are known for supporting freedoms and opposing tyrannies. This, I believe, is noble. This ought to occur across the spectrum. A democratic nation which calls out every nation which opposes freedom and is in favor of tyranny is both fair and right. Yet, what if a nation chooses to call out only one country – a country which in no way can be called a tyranny and claiming that it opposes freedoms is arguable?
Enter South Africa. We’ve all heard of it this beautiful country aptly located in the South of Africa. It is famous for many things, from its tragic history of apartheid and the following more positive the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, to its Diamonds, and beautiful nature. Yet, it is interesting what things have South Africa in the news these days.
The United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanetham Pillay, (a South African), has created a much contested report to be presented before that “impartial body” in September, claiming that Israel is a violator of human rights and particularly points out December’s Operation Cast Lead as an example. Yet the Israeli government notes that it was larger based on Palestinian testimony and “unsubstantiated” information. Now, I’m all for using victim sources (something with which the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. disagrees), but one should seriously verify and triple check facts used to accuse a nation in an international forum of perpetrating despicable actions. Another report, also, largely expected to be “extremely critical”, will be presented at the same time. This report is being compiled by another South African, Richard Goldstone.
Following this logic, South African organizations have decided not to wait for the International Community to make its (potentially biased) findings, but to go on the offensive. The South African National Prosecuting Authority and Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigation received an affidavit known as the “Gaza Docket” with two NGOs listed as complainants, which wish to try 70 South Africans who hold dual citizenship with Israel who served in the IDF during Cast Lead.
Not to be forgotten, the Durban Conference, held in 2001, released its well-known statement of “Zionism is Racism.”
To be clear, I am not saying that South Africa is anti-Semitic. South Africa has a vibrant Jewish community. Moreover many, or at least, some notable, individuals involved in the above cases are Jewish. However, the feeling is decidedly anti-Israel. One must wonder why a proud democracy would choose to single out a single nation for criticism while ignoring nations like the Sudan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and China, to name a few, for their clear and evident human rights abuses. Ideas?