Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Interview with South African MP Kenneth Meshoe

[From Harry's Place]

Karl Pfeifer: Reverend, you lived during apartheid in South Africa…

MP Dr. Kenneth Meshoe: Correct.

What do you feel when you hear Israel being accused of being an apartheid state?
Firstly they are exposing their ignorance. They do not know what apartheid was; they do not know how negatively apartheid impacted on black South Africans. Apartheid was based on the colour of our skin. Because we are not white we had a law that said we [were] second-class citizens and we [were] denied basic human rights. Now it doesn’t make sense to try to bring up the issue of apartheid in a country like Israel because to my notice there is no law that discriminates against people on the basis of their colour and also there is no law that discriminates against people on the basis of their religion.
The second statement I can make, those who accuse Israel of being an apartheid State are minimising the pain of apartheid. In Israel I have not seen and I have not noticed Palestinians going through the discrimination that we have come through in South Africa.

Can you give me an example?
Firstly there were separate modes of transportation for blacks and whites, there were buses only for black people and buses only for white people and there where coaches in trains only for black people and others only for white people. Sometimes you could see the coach of the black people overflowing with passengers and in the coach of white people there were only four or five passengers. The overflow of black people was never allowed to go into the white coach. It would be a crime to do so and you would be arrested on the spot if you went to the coach for white people that was meant only for white people. In the public space there were signs clearly marked and written “Whites only” and “Non whites” was for the black people. There were chairs and benches in the city parks on all of them written “Whites only”. There were beaches where black people never set their foot I am not talking about swimming, just setting the foot. If you go near the place you were arrested, because those beaches were meant only for white people.

How can you explain that there are people in the ANC who declare that Israel is an apartheid atate, for instance the minister of agriculture and fishing Kasrils, who is himself of Jewish descent?
There are politicians who find lying to be a normal way of doing politics. Many of them know that they are lying. And they just continue lying in order to please people who hate Israel and in order to please people who they believe have money and oil; in order to do so they make blatant lies.
Kasrils is a white man. So he never experienced the pain and suffering black people had. He as a white person had privileges, had a better education than black people. Why? White people were given a much better education that we blacks did not have. Education was structured in a way that we black people become forever dependent on white people. There were separate schools, there was separate transport and separate hospitals and the best was for white people. Even if you fainted in front of a white hospital you could not be treated there. You could never go into a white clinic. There were doctors whose white patients came in at the front door. If the doctor was kind enough to treat a black patient then he did it in the back room or in a store. We could never use the main entrance. Yet in Israel everyone goes to the same hospital and gets the same treatment, be it a Jew or a Palestinian. They use the same means of transport and Jewish and Arab students go to the same university. Therefore it does not make sense for anybody who knows what is going on in the region to claim that Israel is an apartheid state.

Was there a political representation of black people in South Africa?
Black people were not allowed to vote, we had no say about the destiny of South Africa and because we had no vote we had no representation. Black people voted the first time in 1995 when democracy was established. I heard this morning that the former president of Israel was convicted in court by an Arab judge. In South Africa a black person could never accuse a white person. Black lawyers could never represent a white client, they could never listen to a case having to do with a white person. What do Arabs experience in Israel? Do they experience what we had? No. There would not have been in South Africa a struggle against apartheid if we had the same privileges Palestinians enjoy.

Why do some Palestinians claim that Israel is an apartheid state?
I think it’s just a strategy that the Palestinians are using to get sympathy. Most people in the world were sympathetic to black people in South Africa because of apartheid. The Palestinians saw the sympathy at that time because of apartheid. Now they think that if they use the same word apartheid, that the sympathy that the people had on blacks in South Africa will be upon them also as Palestinians.

How could peace be achieved between Jews and Palestinian Arabs?
In order to build peace and democracy, all stakeholders must commit themselves to the following:
1) All role players must accept the right of the Jewish and democratic state of Israel to live within safe and secure borders.
2) They must have respect for the human rights of all.
3) They must stop poisoning the minds of school children and teaching them to hate.
4) They must commit themselves to end violence and all terrorist activities, and replace them with sporting and cultural activities and education for/about peace.

1 comment:

  1. The guy is an extreme evangelist Christian, only one half of a step behind those extreme Christians who believe that the "rapture" is coming, and if you and your brother, family, and fellow Jews do not accept Christianity, you will all spend eternity burning in hell.

    Seriously, you want to call on a guy who said this:-

    "When the Twin Towers were bombed, it was after a decision that was made by Congress against Israel I forgot was told I forgot what happened but God allowed that to happen to shake them. If you realize..if you remember Ariel Sharon, the former prime minister of Israel is still in a coma today. When did he go into a coma? After forcing his people to leave Judea and Samaria…he went into the coma." ??

    He is against Gays, against contraception as a method of preventing AIDS and against abortion among others.

    Hey, you score your points where you can, but this guy is a head case - a head case with some influence in South Africa, but still a head case.


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