Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Picture: REUTERS
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Picture: REUTERS

David Saks of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) in his letter, “Colour is not an issue for Jews in Israel” (June 13) further reveals his blinkers when he attempts to rebut the realities that Israel is a racist and apartheid state — most especially when it comes to black minorities, including Ethiopian and Yemeni Jews. 

The scandal erupted in 2013 when the Ethiopian community investigated why birth rates had fallen dramatically. In a repetition of what happened to Yemeni women, who were sterilised during the 1950s, the scandal revealed that Ethiopian women had been given birth control without their consent.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (who then also held the health portfolio) declared: “Immigrants from Africa threaten our existence as a Jewish and democratic state.”

As another example, the Israeli nuclear weapons whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu — who was born in Morocco, and was taken to Israel as a child by his father, who was a Rabbi — was motivated by the racial discrimination he suffered (and continues to suffer) as an Arab Jew.

After he left Israel, he was kidnapped in Europe in 1986. His trial conducted in secret was a mockery of the most elementary principles of justice. He was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment, 11 of which were spent mainly in solitary confinement in an attempt to make him go mad, and is still not allowed to leave Israel or speak to journalists. Those restrictions were renewed two weeks ago.

As Sasha Polakow-Suransky confirmed in his book The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid SA, SA was a crucial element in Israel’s development of nuclear weapons. Of course, the SAJBD remained silent then and colluded with the apartheid government.

As the Israeli government conduct towards so-called “non-whites”, including Palestinians, becomes increasingly fascist and reminiscent of Nazi atrocities towards European Jews during the 1930s and 1940s, just why is the SAJBD still complicit in the crime of silence? It is past time to take those blinkers off, Mr Saks.

Terry Crawford-Browne
Palestine Solidarity Campaign