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The death of Nelson Mandela and the refusal of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attend the funeral serve as a reminder of the somewhat tortuous relationship between South Africa and Israel as well as a notorious but little known spying case involving both nations and the Israel Lobby’s Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in the 1990s. Israel’s reluctance to celebrate Mandela is not exactly surprising as he became a prominent critic of Tel Aviv’s repression of the Palestinians, a situation that to him was all too reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa. Indeed, Israelis among themselves frequently describe the occupation of the West Bank as apartheid, a fact noted by former US President Jimmy Carter among others, but a characterization which is assiduously avoided in the US media.

Israel and South Africa under apartheid had a lot in common, given that both states were regarded by many as international pariahs due to their exclusionary domestic politics, in Israel based on religion and ethnicity and in South Africa based on race. Israel also was and still is regarded as an occupying power, in the 1990s due to its direct military control of the Sinai Peninsula, West Bank, Golan Heights, and Gaza Strip. South Africa and Israel’s shared perception of victimhood produced a willingness to stand together against world opinion and a mechanism for cooperation between the two governments also existed in the form of a large and wealthy Jewish community centered on Johannesburg.

It is now generally accepted that Israel secretly helped South Africa develop a nuclear bomb, receiving in return uranium for its own program, while South Africa was also an eager buyer of weapons produced by Israel’s fledgling arms industry. The probable test of a nuclear device, either of Israeli or South African provenance, was arranged by Pretoria in the Indian Ocean in 1979. Both nations shared the belief that they would have to possess nuclear weapons to defend themselves against their numerous enemies. Though South Africa ultimately abandoned its arms program and signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Israel continued on its own, using stolen American technology and enriched uranium to construct an arsenal that today consists of between 100 and 200 nuclear weapons.

The ADL, which has trademarked the expression “Imagine a World without Hate,” claims to be against all forms of discrimination and bigotry but its actual focus is on perceived bias against Jews. It recently celebrated its hundredth birthday with a gala dinner in New York City attended by Vice President Joe Biden, who enthused “…I mean this sincerely: You have become America’s conscience. You have become the conscience of this country, no matter what the issue. You have been a pillar of the Jewish community, but you reach out and you have reached out your embrace for all communities. ”

Biden, whose imagination has never failed him whenever it is necessary to put lipstick on a pig, omitted any mention of a notorious espionage case involving ADL, which became public twenty years ago in 1993. The police investigation ultimately exposed illegal activity that had taken place during at least forty years prior to that date, revealing that the organization had been running a private nationwide spy operation and had in its possession large numbers of classified and official use only documents which it had obtained from corrupt officials at all levels of government. The information obtained on American citizens and organizations was routinely shared with Israeli intelligence.

ADL is completely aligned with the Netanyahu government on all issues, including war crimes committed in Gaza and initiation of racist laws against Israel’s Arab citizens. Its current Director Abe Foxman is well known for shooting from the lip whenever he perceives any deviation from complete synchronization with Israel and its policies, most recently blasting the Obama Administration for its “acceptance of Iran’s blackmail.” As ADL has carefully cultivated the Washington and New York establishments, it has considerable clout both within the Beltway and along the Hudson. Even though Foxman’s tunnel vision translates as complete inability to look beyond the narrow interests of his own community, his letters to the New York Times are always printed and featured even when they are completely paranoid and irrational, which possibly says more about the mainstream media than it does about Foxman. Whenever President Obama meets with leaders of American Jewish Groups at the White House the impressive bulk of Foxman is always there front and center, frequently grinning to show his affability but often repaying the courtesy by blasting the president whenever the Administration mildly disagrees with anything that Benjamin Netanyahu might be up to.

Foxman’s political agenda means that any group that is perceived to be less than 100% gung ho about Israel’s government will be targeted, complete with blanket accusations of anti-Semitism hurled in all directions. Muslim organizations are frequently denigrated by Foxman because they are ipso facto not pro-Israeli. He endorses spying on American Muslims just because they are Muslims and therefore untrustworthy while leading the charge against the building of an Islamic cultural center near ground zero in New York City. He criticizes peace groups because they oppose Israel’s attacks on its neighbors and has also taken shots at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the German government, human rights activists, environmentalists, civil rights groups and anti-apartheid organizations. Israel’s friends and perceived interests are always ADL’s friends and interests, no matter how unsavory they might be.

The ADL, which collaborated with the FBI in the 1940s in rooting out communists, has long prided itself on maintaining “confidential investigative coverage” of Arab activities in the United States. The 1963 San Francisco police department raid on the offices of the ADL revealed that there were files on 600 organizations and more than 10,000 individuals, many of whom were neither Arabs nor in any way connected to the Middle East. Three quarters of the information was from city, state, and federal files, to include those belonging to the FBI, that had been obtained illegally. There was a public outcry over the extent of the spying and the city of San Francisco prepared to prosecute ADL and its officers.

Just before the case was due to go to trial, however, the charges were dropped by the city because the litigation would be “expensive and time consuming.” In reality, it has been reported that the city District Attorney, who had political ambitions, felt the cold wind blowing from the local wealthy and powerful Jewish community. Though the case was closed and the city actually returned to ADL the files it had stolen, the police investigation determined that the ADL office had hired one Roy Bullock to serve as its chief investigator. Bullock was paid through a secret fund out of ADL in New York and was tasked with attending and recording Arab American conferences and meetings throughout the US, as well as the gatherings of other what ADL described as “anti-democratic” organizations. Bullock referred to them as “Pinkos.” The organizations targeted included the NAACP, the ACLU and at least 20 labor unions, all organizations that the ADL would have regarded as allies in the struggle against bigotry that it claimed to support. “Black anti-Semitism” was of particular interest, which led to opening of files on the African National Congress and 47 other anti-Apartheid organizations. Foxman had publicly referred to the African National Congress as “terrorists” because they had friendly ties with the Palestinians.

In a deposition made after the seizure of the ADL files in 1993, Bullock and a police officer who claimed to be a former CIA contractor named Tom Gerard admitted that they had also shared the information they collected for ADL on anti-Apartheid groups with South African intelligence. Bullock revealed that he had surveilled Chris Hani, the man who was to succeed Nelson Mandela as president of South Africa, during a California speaking tour. The file Bullock prepared was given to both the ADL and to the South Africans. Hani was assassinated after he returned to his homeland. Another Bullock target was Palestinian-American activist Alex Odeh, who was killed by a bomb at his office in 1985. Bullock and ADL had keys to the office and a floor plan.

Because of the theft of FBI files, the Bureau also launched its own investigation of the ADL spying but the Justice Department dragged its feet and the top law enforcement officials of the Clinton Administration, including Attorney General Janet Reno, eventually decided to close the case in early 1994. No reason was given for the government inaction but strong lobbying by the Israeli government has been plausibly linked to the failure to seek justice for the various crimes allegedly committed by the ADL. It was only one example of the repeated Justice Department failure to go after criminals linked to Israel or to Israel’s supporters in the US.

Whether the ADL continues its spying on other American citizens or not is probably a matter of definitions. Muslims organizations and “pinkos” who question Israeli policies are quite likely still being targeted. And ADL certainly makes sure that the cops knows who the enemy is through its LEARN program (Law Enforcement Agency Resource Network) which trains police in how to identify and deal with “extremist groups” and “hate crimes.” The ADL also provided “sensitivity training” for the CIA after a Jewish job applicant was denied a security clearance for lying regarding his ties to the Israeli government on his employment application. CIA Director George Tenet, who oversaw the process, boasted afterwards that “we educated an entire bureaucracy.” Perhaps Tenet should have had one of his staff check out ADL’s actual record on illegally spying on innocent American citizens before he got into bed with the organization, but as the Director himself has a somewhat questionable record regarding the truth it is probably just as well that he did not go down that road.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Apartheid, Israel, South Africa 
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  1. Don Nash says: • Website

    Whirling twirling Abe. Hissing then spitting venom on any and all. Israel first regardless of the immorality the position holds.
    Jumping up and down Abe is a piece of work. One of these days, that vein in the middle of his forehead that throbs so prominently when he gets his mojo worked up, is going to explode live on in primetime.

  2. A comprehensive record of Zionist offenses such as the above should be kept so as to be accessible for researchers and the curious public. These matters are mentioned in various books and articles but a true database, subject to addition and refinement, would be invaluable.

    Is there one already that I am not aware of?

  3. NB says: • Website

    Thomas O. Meehan, I suggest Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

  4. NB, like all trolls you are too cowardly to use your own name.

  5. NB says: • Website

    Thomas O. Meehan, my username is linkified to my personal website where my name is featured prominently.

    As for your desire to catalog “Zionist offenses” in a database, may I ask what you mean by the term “Zionist” and what your goals are for this “invaluable” resource?

    According to The American Heritage Dictionary, a Zionist is one who supports the maintenance and preservation of the state of Israel as a Jewish homeland. While anti-Zionists try to appropriate Nelson Mandela for their cause by cherry-picking his statements (like the link Giraldi cites above), Mandela was arguably a Zionist, albeit a Zionist who criticized Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip (much like myself!):
    Nelson Mandela: “I understand completely well why Israel occupies these lands. There was a war. But if there is going to be peace, there must be complete withdrawal from all of these areas.”
    http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/Mandela-and-Israel-334174

    Nelson Mandela: “I cannot conceive of Israel withdrawing if Arab states do not recognize Israel, within secure borders”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/mandela-says-israel-must-give-up-arab-land--but-only-for-peace-740133.html

    However, according to a poll conducted by The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, 84% of Arabs are opposed to their countries’ diplomatic recognition of Israel.

    Hence, the logical deduction from Mandela’s statements is that the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict is due to Arab states’ refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist within secure borders, as even Mandela acknowledged that Israel cannot withdraw from the Palestinian territories while Arabs refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist. As far as I’m concerned, that makes Mandela a Zionist, so I hope you will include Mandela’s “offenses” in your “Zionist offenses” database.

  6. Is NB an American or an Israeli?

  7. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    NB, interesting how you accuse others of “cherry-picking” while you then went ahead and not only did so with Mandela’s statements, but somehow derived your conclusion based on it.

    Is Mandela a “Zionist”? I wouldn’t know – but he certainly did not equate the current conflict with the “Arab state’s refusal to recognize Israel”. Especially since the Saudi Plan – where the Arab States will all recognize Israel and all that – are still waiting for Israeli approval (but of course, peace is not as profitable, and how else can the Israeli government cry of being in “existential danger” if all their neighbours leave them alone?).

    It is, however, quite damning that you did not even once try to answer Mandela’s claims of Israeli apartheid – because even if the “Arabs” do not want to make peace, the issue of the Palestinians are quite a separate matter. Unless of course, if you think “Arabs” and “Palestinians” are one an indivisible – sort of like saying that unless if Uganda stops their mischief, the Boers cannot grant South African blacks independence.

  8. The documentation on the ADL spying case is available on the Israel Lobby Archive site of IRmep, the Inst. for Research Middle East Policy at http://www.irmep.org/ila.

    Unfortunately, what began as a spirited public response to the ADL revelations in the SF Bay Area was quickly co-opted by the very influential and very pro-Israel director of the Middle East Desk of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in the Bay Area, Alan Solomonow. Consequently, it should have come as no surprise that the first (and last) activity of the committee was to hold a workshop on, (you can’t make these things up) “antisemitism.”

  9. NB says: • Website

    Amry stated: “NB, interesting how you accuse others of ‘cherry-picking’ while you then went ahead and not only did so with Mandela’s statements”
    I was not cherry-picking – my statement was a comment on Giraldi’s piece, which appropriates Mandela for the anti-Israel cause, i.e. my comment was intended to be read in concert with Giraldi’s article and the one-sided piece he cited in Al-Ahram. I’m presenting the other side, assuming one is already familiar with Mandela’s criticism of the occupation of the Palestinian terrorities. Had I written an article asserting Mandela was pro-Israel and only citing the quotes above, you would be correct to accuse me of cherry-picking.

    “[Mandela] certainly did not equate the current conflict with the ‘Arab state’s refusal to recognize Israel’.”
    That is certainly possible. I’m saying it’s the logical deduction from Mandela’s statements, combined with the poll indicating that 84% of Arabs are opposed to their countries’ diplomatic recognition of Israel. It’s entirely possible that Mandela did not appreciate the fact that few Arabs recognize Israel’s right to exist within secure borders, especially since he made those remarks in 1999, before the failure of the 2000 Camp David summit.

    “Especially since the Saudi Plan – where the Arab States will all recognize Israel and all that – are still waiting for Israeli approval (but of course, peace is not as profitable, and how else can the Israeli government cry of being in ‘existential danger’ if all their neighbours leave them alone?).”
    And here is another one-sided narrative. If Israel does not want peace as you imply, why did most observers agree that the 2000 Camp David Summit failed primarily due to Arafat’s insistence on the “right of return”? The Palestinians thought that the 2000 Camp David Summit did not adequately recognize Palestinian right of return, and the Israelis thought the Saudi Plan was too accommodating of the Palestinian “right of return,” as that could eventually lead to Jews being a minority in Israel and the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

    “It is, however, quite damning that you did not even once try to answer Mandela’s claims of Israeli apartheid”
    It is quite damning of you, in fact, since Mandela never made a claim of “Israeli apartheid”:
    http://www.wbez.org/news/palestinians-and-jews-both-lay-claim-mandela’s-legacy-109375
    [Note how this article is balanced and presents both sides!]

    “Unless of course, if you think Arabs” and “Palestinians” are one an indivisible – sort of like saying that unless if Uganda stops their mischief, the Boers cannot grant South African blacks independence.”
    What a bizarre accusation. Where did I imply anything of the sort? I’m well-aware that Palestinians are a subgroup of Arabs. Of course, not all Palestinians or Arabs think alike, and public Palestinian opinion and public Arab opinion are not necessarily identical. For example, a recent poll found that 62% of Palestinian Muslims believe that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are often or sometimes justified, while just 12% of Tunisian Muslims believe that suicide bombings are justified:
    http://www.pewglobal.org/2013/09/10/muslim-publics-share-concerns-about-extremist-groups/

    However, for the subject at hand, Palestinian and overall Arab public opinion appear to be aligned, as only 23% of Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist [as a homeland for the Jewish people]:
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3987277,00.html

  10. Mark my words, the ADL and the Jewish media will go after Phil Giraldi, in the same way they went after–and almost got–Pat Buchanan, a few decades ago.

  11. NB says: • Website

    Jeff Blankfort, is it true that you once stated, “I do not believe there was any official Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews because, had there been, there would not have been close to a million left alive” as claimed here?
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/06/29/988922/-Mondofront-Now-with-Gilad-Atzmon
    just curious.

    America First, I’m actually a Mossad agent.

  12. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The legacy of ADL and Foxman will be as the face of Goldstein, the catalyst for massive and catharctic 2 minutes of head

  13. NB, polls can be misleading to the point of being meaningless or worse used to cloud issues that are clear cut like you are doing now. This is irresponsible on your part. Let’s do a poll asking the arabs if Israel accepted negotiated borders along the lines of the Saudi offer (based on the 1967 borders with some negotiated exceptions) and the Israeli recognition of a Palestinian state plus a negotiated settlement with the refugees would you support it? Your problem is you want to insist the arabs recognize Israel without any agreement on Israel to do the same. The Israeli public was fully behind the Cast lead operation and cheer on the slaughter any time Isreal drops bombs on them. The movie 5 broken cameras shows in perfect detail the apartheid state that Osrael has become. You are an apologist for racist views.

  14. NB says: • Website

    goldhoarder claims: “Your problem is you want to insist the arabs recognize Israel without any agreement on Israel to do the same.”
    That’s because it’s a non-issue. The Jewish leadership accepted an Arab Palestinian state in 1947; it was the Arab and Palestinian leadership who rejected the 1947 UN Partition Plan two-state solution, as they refused to accept a Jewish state. Indeed, Abbas’ red line is refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state:
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/12/abbas-rejects-west-bank-border-security-plan-20131213102049774691.html
    The issue is not whether Netanyahu accepts a Palestinian state; it’s whether Netanyahu accepts [what Palestinians consider] a viable Palestinian state. [of course, the “right of return” remains a huge sticking point for both sides.]

    The Israeli public was fully behind the Cast lead operation and cheer on the slaughter any time Isreal drops bombs on them.
    Yes, most Israelis supported Cast Lead [in order to stop Hamas’ rocket attacks]; however, that is not the same as supporting the slaughter of innocent civilians. Please cite a source for your claim that the Israeli public “cheer on the slaughter any time Israel drops bombs on them.”

    The movie 5 broken cameras shows in perfect detail the apartheid state that Osrael has become. You are an apologist for racist views.
    Five Broken Cameras is about the West Bank. I said that I support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish homeland but that I don’t support the occupation. How does that make me an apologist for racist views?

  15. Nurit Bayrch Yes indeed, you have caught me out. You do have a traceable identity. Seeing a two letter moniker, I failed to click it.

    As to, “As for your desire to catalog “Zionist offenses” in a database, may I ask what you mean by the term “Zionist” and what your goals are for this “invaluable” resource?”

    If you have a mirror handy I can easily point one out to you. For the only impact you seem to make either here or on the internet in general is as a defender of Jewish interests. Now there is nothing wrong with sticking up for your own. But given your minority status you can hardly expect all the rest of us to ignore our own partisan interests in deference to yours. If you don’t like the term Zionist we can substitute Philo-Semite. But even this may be inadequate in that there are many American Jews who do not place their group interest and that of the state of Israel above that of their fellow citizens.

    As to my goals; do I need your permission? Are my motives any less transparent than yours? If there are people who propel your group interest above that of the majority, are we not justified in chronicling and examining those efforts, especially the illegal ones?

  16. NB says: • Website

    Thomas, where is the evidence that I place the interests of Israel above those of the US? Or that I place the interests of Jews above those of Americans [in general]?

    fyi, being anti-anti-Semitism ≠ philo-Semitic or being anti-Gentile.

    The definition of Zionist is one who supports the maintenance and preservation of the state of Israel as a Jewish homeland. Supporting Jewish self-determination does not necessarily mean denying the right of Palestinians to self-determination. Nor does it necessarily mean placing the interests of Israel above those of the US.

    So when you say you want to chronicle and examine “people who propel [their] group interest above that of the majority,” are you talking about Jews or Zionists? or Jewish Zionists? 82% of American white evangelical Christians vs 40% of American Jews believe Israel was given to the Jewish people by God:
    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/10/03/more-white-evangelicals-than-american-jews-say-god-gave-israel-to-the-jewish-people/
    So are you planning to chronicle the offenses committed by these white Christian Zionists?

    The majority of Americans support Israel’s right to exist:
    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/israel_the_middle_east/71_say_middle_east_peace_agreement_must_recognize_israel_s_right_to_exist
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/161387/americans-sympathies-israel-match-time-high.aspx

    66% of Americans think US support of Israel is “about right” or insufficient:
    http://www.people-press.org/2012/03/15/little-support-for-u-s-intervention-in-syrian-conflict/

    Hence, it’s clear that the majority of Americans are Zionists.

  17. Nurit Baytch wrote,

    “Hence, it’s clear that the majority of Americans are Zionists.”

    The majority population of every nation consists of simpletons. So what’s your point? You can drive sheep in any direction you wish without having any good intention toward them whatsoever.

    I have to laugh at your poll numbers about Israel’s right to exist. Let’s have a small thought experiment shall we? Let’s get a number of grad students together in a room and ask them if say, Moesia has a right to exist. Of course, Moesia hasn’t existed for many hundreds of years. How many examinees would deny Moesias right to exist? Nobody in modern America denies anyone’s right to exist.

    A great many of those who register the greatest support for Israel are theologically ignorant fundamentalists who actually think they’re the chosen people, not you. How comfortable are you with them as allies?

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