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South Africans Fight Apartheid–in Israel, Supremes Rule: Many Views, Manning Wins Docs, Iraq Shutters Media

June 26th, 2012 - by:

Tues, June 26: My big birthday just ONE day away, dissecting from Cape Town, South Africa

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The News We Need To Know, The Views We Need To Consider

•BBC: Arizona migrant check ruled legal

The US Supreme Court strikes down key parts of an Arizona immigration law, but allows police to check immigration status of those stopped and arrested.

•AP: Arizona Officials Pleased

PHOENIX (AP) – Arizona officials claimed a partial victory Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the “show me your papers” provision of the state’s immigration law, while rights groups vowed to prevent it from ever taking effect. While the court struck down most of the law, it preserved a section that requires police to check the status of people stopped for various reasons…

•The Atlantic: How This Ruling May lead To Healthcare Decision

•Fluent: ‘Supreme Court throws out Montana ban on corporate campaign spending

*Comment by Pubic Citizen: “Oro y Plata.

That’s the state motto of Montana. It’s Spanish for “Gold and Silver.”

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued another ruling that allows those with the most gold and silver — figuratively speaking, at least — to spend as much money as they want trying to take over our democracy.

In summarily striking down a Montana law that limited corporate electioneering in Big Sky Country, the Supreme Court doubled down on its absurd assertion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corporations have a right to distort our elections by spending without limit for the sake of securing the allegiance of politicians and policy makers.

This Supreme Court is not going to overturn Citizens United (not, at any rate, any time soon).

•NYT: Justices bar Mandatory Life Sentences for Juveniles. Four vote FOR.

•BBC: New Greek finance chief resigns

Greece’s newly nominated finance minister, Vassilis Rapanos, resigns due to ill health less than a week after being appointed to the post.

•Marketwatch: U.S. stocks down again on Europe worries

South Africa Report

Since I am in South Africa, I have been preparing some reportage from here. This first piece first appeared on The PressTV website:

South Africans Fight Apartheid—In Israel

Cape Town, South Africa: I am writing from South Africa, the land that won its war against apartheid.

Even though 22 years have passed since Nelson Mandela left prison, in a crucial turning point in his “Long Walk To Freedom,” the apartheid past has not totally disappeared. It is evident in the structural economic gaps between rich and poor that persist, as well as forms of self segregation and inter-group hostility.

It’s also not surprising that a country that suffered so long under the yoke of a racist system of imposed racial division would be sensitive to the presence of any similar appearing system of apartheid elsewhere in the world.

Many South Africans see contemporary parallels of their experience in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict where they condemn a replay of apartheid as Israel constructs walls and barriers in the name of security and treats Palestinians the way the old South Africa treated people of color.

As a result, South Africans who became active in their fight for freedom identify with the cause of Palestinians who, they argue, are oppressed by a form of unacknowledged racism that has led to old-style South Africa-like police occupations, forced relocations, and abuses of all kinds justified by discriminatory and repressive legislation.

This issue is frequently in the press. In the past week, retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu was on page one of a Cape Town newspaper responding to a decision by a Jewish South African journalist to repudiate her religion in solidarity with the suffering of the people of Palestine.

The anti-apartheid icon who chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission here years ago has been outspoken in his criticism of Israeli conduct and shares the view that there is apartheid there.

The Israelis have been stung by his morally based condemnations and criticisms by others here including Nelson Mandela.

But, Tutu was not persuaded by this journalists’ action, arguing that her religion was not responsible for decisions by politicians in Israel who often invent a Biblical rationale for actions that are internationally scorned as human rights violations.

Interestingly, the pro-apartheid Security police involved in torturing prisoners used to tell their victims that they were there because they had been misled by “the Jews.”

(In the Middle East itself, stereotypes and labels can reduce political differences to religious or ethnic factors with all sides frequently speaking of “The” Arabs and “The” Jews as if these communities are monolithic and homogenous. As for the wall, on July 24th 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) declared the Israeli Wall “contrary to international law” and instructed that its construction end. Israel ignored the decision.)

Tensions flared recently as Israel moved to deport African immigrants after riots broke out. There were ugly statements by some extremist government officials that were widely seen in Africa as racist and demeaning. A column by Montli Makhanya in this week’s Sunday Times lambasts Israeli attitudes and is headlined, “Take Heed of the World’s Disgust At This Official Racism.”

Israeli newspapers have carried articles criticizing the treatment of Immigrants too. A few years back, Haaretz featured an article by an Israeli arguing, “Israel’s apartheid is worse than South Africa’s…The system preserving this apartheid is more ruthless as it is equipped with the lie of being ‘temporary.’
The debate over whether or not Israel practices apartheid is an intense one here as many activists rally behind what’s called a BDS campaign (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), all tools that were used for years by opponents against South Africa’s white dominated regime.

A long time ANC leader and former of Minister of Intelligence, Ronnie Kasrils, himself a South African Jew, is active in the movement challenging Israel.

When a South African Artists Against Apartheid placed radio ad denouncing apartheid in Israel was challenged in Court, the artists prevailed, writing, “In a bold ruling defending the right to freedom of expression and political speech, the South African media watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), unequivocally dismissed all complaints relating to the SA Artists Against Apartheid radio advert that called for the boycott of Israel and compared Israel to Apartheid South Africa.”

This year in March, 9 universities in South Africa, participated in the annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), an international series of events (including rallies, lectures, cultural performances, film screenings and multimedia displays) held in cities and campuses across the globe.

These events were supported this year by South African struggle stalwarts including Achmed Kathrada who was imprisoned alongside Nelson Mandela in Robben Island, and Zackie Achmat, the country’s leading anti-AIDS campaigner.

Pro-Israeli students have denounced these events insisting they distort the truth and are not “balanced.”

The Jewish Deputies organization in South Africa invited former South African journalist Benjamin Pogrund and Palestinian activist, Bassem Eid, of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, to tour the country to challenge the idea that Israeli and South African apartheid are linked.

They wrote in the Mail & Guardian:

“Nelson Mandela’s words in support of Palestinian freedom were flung at us (and also appear in propaganda leaflets issued by Palestinian-supporting organizations). He was quoted as saying: “But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

That resonates strongly among South Africans and Mandela did indeed say that, on 9 December 1997, on the occasion of Palestinian Solidarity Day. But it’s actually half of what he said in the context of freedom for all people. His other (omitted) words explain the context and the dishonesty of the propagandists in singling out Israel:”— without the resolution of conflicts in East Timor, the Sudan and other parts of the world.”

“…we both spoke in bleak terms about peace prospects in the near future; second, we each castigated our own leaderships for double-talk and pretence and for their lack of boldness and vision and we pointed to the growth of Jewish settlements on the West Bank as undermining the chances of an independent and viable Palestinian state.

We stressed that we welcomed interest in our part of the world—but warned that some members of Palestinian solidarity movements have never visited the occupied territories and they damage the Palestinian cause abroad because they act out of ignorance and they foster division and hatred between Arabs and Jews; they do not help to bring peace.”

The intentions of these may have been good but they doesn’t seem to recall that most of the people who condemned apartheid and protested it overseas never visited South Africa. Did they really have to? And did the people who came here then really know what was going on with media censorship in place and so many activists behind bars?

And so the debate continues, not only in South Africa but in other parts of the world where the example of South Africa resonates not only for the evil done in the name of apartheid, but for its example as a people that did struggle for, and win, liberation with global support.

Significantly, the South African struggle led by Mandela was initially non-violent but then took on an armed character triggered by state violence. It was only when it promoted unity among oppressed peoples, provided respected leaders who enlisted mass support and the solidarity of people worldwide, for all its peoples that real negotiations could occur and elections held.

The ANC led by building popular alliances around a morality-based agenda for justice and democracy. There are lessons here for those struggling in the Middle East.

More News

CLG: WikiLeaks suspect wins battle over US documents

•A US military judge ordered prosecutors Monday to share more documents with WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning after defense lawyers accused them of hiding information that could help their client’s case. For months, Manning’s defense team has demanded access to reports by government agencies, including the CIA, that assessed the effect of the leak of classified documents to the WikiLeaks website. Judge Denise Lind ruled that government prosecutors must provide “damage assessment” reports from the CIA, the State Department, the FBI, the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (Oncix) and other documents that were relevant for the defense.

•Iraqi Police Given Orders to Shut Down 44 Local and Foreign Media Agencies

An official document has been obtained by the JFO, revealing that security forces in Iraq have received orders from the authorities to shut down the offices of 44 media agencies. Included are prominent local TV channels and radio stations such as Sharqiya and Baghdadia satellite television stations and foreign-owned media such as BBC, Radio Sawa and Voice of America. On June 20, followers of cleric Muqtada al Sadr held a demonstration in Baghdad’s Firdos Square, in which they protested restrictions on Iraqi media, as well as calling for a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to be held at the Iraqi parliament.

•NPR: FBI Checking 100 Suspected Extremists In Military

•Bloomberg: Child Prostitution Crackdown Nets 104 Arrests, U.S. FBI Says

•¨US News: James Clapper, top U.S. intelligence official, tightens security rules to avert leaks to media

•News Republic: US teen shooter’s (Zimmerman) lawyer calls for his release

•Fluent News: ‘Syria disputes downed jet story’

•AP Exclusive: AlQaeda trains Norwegian to attack

STOCKHOLM (AP) – A Norwegian man has received terrorist training from al-Qaida’s offshoot in Yemen and is awaiting orders to carry out an attack on the West, officials from three European security agencies told The Associated Press on Monday. Western intelligence officials have long feared such a scenario – a convert to Islam who is trained in terrorist methods and can blend in easily

•LA Times: USGS: Sea level in Atlantic ‘hot spot’ rising faster than world’s

•Bloomberg: Chase Receives Corporate Welfare

•BBC: UK Lulzsec hackers plead guilty

Two members of a computer hacking group plead guilty to attacking several high profile websites, but deny other charges.

This NewsDissector.net blog is Danny Schechter’s attempt to offer a compendium of important news from diverse sources as well as personal information and analysis. Comments to dissector@mediachannel.org