Former Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman has hit back strongly against an announcement by South African International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane of a moratorium on government visits to Israel, accusing the country of hypocrisy and fostering anti-Semitism, and urging South African Jews to come to Israel.
“The comments by the South African foreign minister at the weekend, that South African government ministers will no longer visit Israel as an expression of solidarity with the Palestinians, are a combination of hypocrisy and classic anti-Semitism,” Lieberman wrote on his Facebook page Sunday morning.
Nkoana-Mashabane said Friday that her country’s ministers are not visiting Israel out of solidarity with the Palestinians. “Even the Jewish Board of Deputies that we engage with here, they know why our ministers are not going to Israel,” South Africa’s The Times quoted Nkoana-Mashabane as saying.
Lieberman warned that this climate of anti-Israel sentiment would make life dangerous for South Africa’s Jews, and urged them to move to Israel immediately. “The South African government is creating an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic atmosphere, which will result in pogroms against the country’s Jews. I call on all Jews still living there to make aliya as soon as possible, before it is too late,” he said.
South Africa’s Jewish community numbers an estimated 70,000.
Lieberman stepped down as foreign minister earlier this year, due to his ongoing trial for fraud and breach of public trust. Prime Minister Netanyahu has assumed the duties of the post on a temporary basis, on the understanding that Lieberman will resume the role should he be acquitted in his trial.
The South Africa Jewish Board of Deputies responded by saying that Lieberman’s comments were “alarmist and inflammatory”.
“It is misguided and irresponsible to assert that their consequences might be so extreme as to lead to actual pogroms against the Jewish community,” they said.
Lieberman's words are an echo of the oldest tactic of the Zionists, which they have been using from their founding day. Whenever they have the opportunity to accuse countries of anti-Semitism or provoke governments against their local Jews, they grab it eagerly. This serves a dual purpose for them: to scare the local Jewish population with warnings about anti-Semitism so that as many Jews as possible emigrate to the State of Israel, and to project an image of their state as the only country that protects and stands up for persecuted Jews.
These are the founding principles of Zionism, as Herzl wrote in his diary clearly and unashamedly: "It would be an excellent idea to call in respectable, accredited anti-Semites as liquidators of property... The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies." (The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl. Vol. 1, edited by Raphael Patai, translated by Harry Zohn, page 83-84)
The Israeli historian Benny Morris described how Herzl foresaw how anti-Semitism could be harnessed for the realization of Zionism. He stated: "Herzl regarded Zionism's triumph as inevitable, not only because life in Europe was ever more untenable for Jews, but also because it was in Europe's interests to rid the Jews and relieved of anti-Semitism: The European political establishment would eventually be persuaded to promote Zionism. Herzl recognized that anti-Semitism would be harnessed to his own--Zionist-purposes." (Righteous Victims, p. 21)
And indeed this became a principle of Zionism from day one onward, as the Satmar Rebbe of blessed memory bears witness in his work Vayoel Moshe, chapter 110: "Already at the beginning of their movement, they began a years-long campaign of slandering the Jewish people in the ears of the nations, telling government officials that Jews are a dangerous people to tolerate in their midst, and they must be expelled. They hoped this would make it easier for them to accomplish their goal of bringing all the Jews to the Holy Land and establishing a state there."
We applaud South African Jews for their reaction against Lieberman. They are clearly not allowing themselves to be swindled by Zionist propaganda, and are quickly distancing themselves from any connection with the Israeli minister's irresponsible accusation. We call upon Jews around the world to do the same.