Does Israel Believe Black Lives Matter?

Does Israel Believe Black Lives Matter? October 13, 2017




The characterization of “Israel” as an apartheid state in reference to its systemic oppression of Palestinians has received much criticisms and pushback from Zionists. They assert that Pro-Palestinian Boycott and Divestment activists who classify “Israel” in this manner are erroneous and unfairly targeting Israel. However, history tells a different story.

What often is omitted from scholarly and contemporary discussions about Israeli apartheid is their culpability in the development of apartheid South Africa.  The relationship between officials in the Israeli and South African governments goes back to the peak of Apartheid!

In, The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa,  Sasha Polakow-Suransk  documents the ramifications of the Israel-South Africa Agreement (ISSA) of 1975, which was a  military defense cooperation  between Israel and the Apartheid Regime of South Africa.[1]

The agreement laid out a comprehensive technical plan for how South Africa and Israel would collaborate on military technology with one another.  The willingness of Israel to assist the apartheid regime of South Africa militarily was rooted in the fact that they saw unmistakable similarities between one another.  They felt perhaps as kindred spirits.

In 1978, South Africa released a government yearbook which stated, “Israel and South Africa have one thing above all else in common: they are both situated in a predominantly hostile world inhabited by dark peoples.“ [2] This fundamental reality resulted in Israel and South Africa being in solidarity with each other and collaborating militarily.

The term apartheid did not always carry the negative connotation that it does today. There was a time when apartheid was something which individuals took great pride in boasting about.

Long before, Boycott and Divestment activists began characterizing Israel as an apartheid state, the architect of apartheid in South Africa, Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd stated,”[They] took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs lived there for a thousand years. Israel like South Africa is an apartheid state.”  [3] The architect of apartheid in South Africa admired how Israel created an exclusive ethnic state which displaced native Palestinians. The admiration was mutual.

When South Africa’s army chief,  Constand Viljoen visited Israeli checkpoints in occupied Palestine, he said, “The thoroughness with which Israel conducts this examination is astonishing. At the quickest, it takes individual Arabs that come through there about one and a half hours. When traffic is heavy, it takes from four to five.”[4]

So impressed was Vijoen, with the manner that Israel controlled Palestinians, that he sent South African soldiers to the Israeli defense force combat school in order to study the manufacturing of bombs and fortified bases and how Israel controlled movements of Palestinians with the hope of establishing a replica system in Apartheid, South Africa.

Hendrick Van den Beg, the former South African police chief, later became head of South Africa’s intelligence services. He was notorious for torturing and even murdering anti-apartheid activists.  Van Den beg boasted, “I have enough men to commit murder if I tell them to kill. I don’t care who the prey is. These are the type of men I have.” [5] The book The Tall Assassin:  The Darkest Political Murders of the Old South Africa  Alan D. Elsdon  characterizes Van Den Beg as the most feared man in South Africa because of his role in widespread murder of anti-apartheid activists. [6]

Yet, one individual who did not fear Hendrick Van Den Beg was the former Israeli Prime Minister, Shimon Peres. He met with Van Den Deg to form a military alliance with the apartheid regime of South Africa. Peres said, “This cooperation is based not only on common interests and on the determination to resist equally our enemies.”  [8]

Who exactly, are these enemies that Shimon Peres speaks about? The common enemies were the Palestinians and the indigenous Black people of South Africa, who were both victims of Europeans establishing illegitimate oppressive governments on stolen land. Both groups were seeking freedom to live in peace on their homeland, freedom from an oppressive apartheid regime.  Without saying it, Peres also made Black people adversaries of Israel.

During the anti-apartheid struggle against South Africa, embargoes were placed on the apartheid regime. Polakow-Suransky writes that,”South Africa conveniently used Israel as an intermediary to buy arms from countries off limits to them because of embargoes.”  [9]  This means Israel had a unique relationship with the Apartheid Regime of South Africa. Israel deliberately violated the United Nation’s embargoes upon apartheid, South Africa in order to give the regime more weapons.  Former Isreali prime minister, Ariel Sharon openly advocated that the apartheid regime of South Africa needed better weapons.

Even more catastrophic, is that Dr. Ernest David Bergmann, an Israeli chemist and nuclear scientist, considered to be the father of the Israeli nuclear program, visited apartheid South Africa and in a public address stated that, “Neither of us has neighbors to whom we can speak and to whom we are going to be able to speak to in the near future. If we are in this position of isolation, perhaps it might be best for both countries to speak to each other.”Dr. Bergmann, enthusiastically pledged to further scientific technological military cooperation between Israel and South Africa. [10]   Israel went as far as to supply the apartheid regime of South Africa with tritium, which is used to boost the explosive power of nuclear bombs. [11]

History is best qualified to reward our research.    Black Lives Matter is so much more than just U.S. domestic politics.   The violence against Black people here fundamentally configures international relations and geo-politics.   In Mohammed Eno’s pivotal article, Slavery and Colonialism: The Worst Terrorism on Africa, he argues that it is important to analyze the, “history of terrorism and terrorists from an African perspective.” [12]

This is because the systemic devaluation of Black lives, which shapes international politics, renders the suffering and destruction of Black people unworthy of mourning, tears or remembrance. Chronicling the period of the TransAtlantic Slave Trade and the colonialism that followed, we see the beginning of anti-Black terrorism. Eno further argues that, “The Dutch and their apartheid system in South Africa represent the enormous toll European terrorism has taken on Africa.” [13] 

Does Israel think Black Lives Matter?  You decide.  But I believe Israel is a state sponsor anti-Black terrorism through arming the apartheid, South Africa regime. I further believe the  Israeli defense force is a defender of white supremacy.  Consequently, I am forced to view Israel as an enemy to Black people.




1)The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa By Sasha Polakow-Suransky. Page 82

2)  Official Yearbook of the Republic of South Africa, Volume 5, Department of Information, 1978, page 59

3)Israel and South Africa: The Many Faces of Apartheid edited by Ilan Pappé,Birds of a Feather: Israel and Apartheid South Africa–colonalism of a special type. Ronnie Kasrils

4)The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa By Sasha Polakow-Suransky. Page 103.


6)The Tall Assassin:  The Darkest Political Murders of the Old South Africa  byAlan D. Elsdon

7)This cooperation is based not only on common interests and on the determination to resist equally our enemies.”  page 80.

8)The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa By Sasha Polakow-Suransky. Page 80.

9)IBID,Page 83.

10) IBID, Page 118

11)IBID, Page 118

12)  Slavery and Colonialism: The Worst Terrorism on Africa by Mohammed Eno


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