CiF gives voice to South Africa’s most famous Theobald Jew, Ronnie Kasrils

Theobald Jew Ronnie Kasrils is the most high-profile and prolific slanderer of Israel in South Africa and, therefore, was given a platform by the Guardian in support of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against the Jewish state.  Specifically, Kasrils promoted a termination of the relationship between University of Johannesburg and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev – a proposal which the University of Johannesburg subsequently rejected.

Kasrils’ position on Israel can be summed up be this quote, from a two-part essay “David and Goliath: Who is Who in the Middle East” published in the ANC’s theoretical journal Umrabulo in late 2006 and early 2007. Parts of the essay were published in the S. African paper, Mail&Guardian, in a summarised form under the titleRage of the Elephant: Israel in Lebanon.” Kasrils, commenting on the results of civilian deaths following the Second Lebanon War, and referring to the Israeli leadership, noted:

“[Regarding Israel] we must call baby killers “baby killers” and declare that those using methods reminiscent of the Nazis be told that they are behaving like Nazis. May Israelis wake up and see reason, as happened in South Africa, and negotiate peace. And finally, yes, let us learn from what helped open white South African eyes: the combination of a just struggle reinforced by international solidarity utilising the weapons of boycott and sanctions.”

His CiF piece, not surprisingly, elicited these comments:

Categories: BDS

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30 replies »

  1. I wonder why the Guardian didn’t post a current photograph of him,the guy is 74 years old.

    Instead they have a 30 year old photograph of him in the Guardian

    He looks like one of the Hamas leaders with that kaffiyeh that is a symbol of violence and terrorism around his neck.

  2. The Praesidio question about whether the right of return is religious or racial made me wonder whether inherited refugeeship (refugeedom?) is religious or racial or whether you can get it gratis and for nothing by sending a reply to an email address.

  3. benorr: Kasrils is indeed a loathsome creature and I have reason to loath him more than most. But Tutu from my own personal experience I place in the same category as Christopher Hitchins- courageous and principled in so much of their lives, with this one baffling painful and grotesque blind spot about Israel. To use the kind of language you do about Tutu is irrelevant to these moral issues. I hesitate to use the word racist to describe it as it is the most misused and abused word, but it is unavoidable, it is just plain mindlessly racist language and sullies this fine site.

  4. Amie, did Hitler not have blind splots, and particularly about Jews? I, too, believe Tutu is dishonest and a faux-Christian, indeed I am disgusted by his pretence and lack of authenticity.

    Tutu suffered at the hands of apartheid in South Africa and he knows full well what apartheid is. He is not unintelligent so he also knows full well how different Israel is from South Africa and yet he uses the apartheid canard against Israel. He’s a no-account, a little man who is thirsty for attention and probably has sympathy with the revision theologists who try to sever Jews’ links with Israel.

    I’d say that this and his behaviour generally given his status, is one hell of a lot more dangerous than a mere blind spot.

  5. Repeatedly using the hateful term “Theobald Jew” severely compromises your position.


    … that hideous looking witch doctor,desmond tutu.

    How enlightening.

    And HairShirt mentions Hitler and Tutu in the same breath!

  6. Hairshirt; The comparison of Tutu and Hitler is just plain stupid. The parallel would be if I claimed that aside from his blind spot about Jews, Hitler was a principled and courageous person. It is not the same as people who try and find the one good point in Hitler’s favour in his (allegedly) being a vegetarian.

    faux-Christian, indeed I am disgusted by his pretence and lack of authenticity.

    actually that is the most false thing anyone could say about Tutu. No, make that 2 if you add your remark that he is thirsty for attention. I happen to have closely witnessed something he did during the worst days of the Struggle. Iwas something very brave, something completely out of the public eye, and that made him very unpopular with his comrades. He also demonstrated convincingly to me that he did this out of a deep Christian conviction. It was the only time in my Jewish life I saw what being a deeply authentic Christian meant.

    that doesn’t mean that what he says now is not harmful and deplorable

  7. No it isn’t amie. You could argue with a lot of justification that Jews and others constituted a significant blind spot for Hitler. I stand by what I said.

    Tutu is a moral coward and ignorant to boot, otherwise he would not fall into parroting the sort of rubbish he does, apparently without thinking. He lived under apartheid so he must know what that was like. He should inform himself more about what actually goes on in Israel before he opens his mouth.

    He bleats “apartheid” because it’s a buzz word for the delegitimisers and detractors of Israel and you have to ask yourself why an allegedly educated man should fail to inform himself about the Jewish state. I wonder what atavistic hatred the existence of the Jewish state awakens in him.

    And with all respect one swallow does not a summer make and one act of kindness does not this man a true Christian make. His words, coupled with the power he has, have long ago undone that. He’s a disgrace to the all the devout and kind Christians I know, (not all of whom I may add agree with my views about Israel but none of whom are as hypocritical as Tutu), the more so because of the power he has.

    And is he still a “deeply authentic Christian” amie?

  8. Desmond Tutu is no holy man,he is a fake,and a hypocrite,he has got to where he is by clinging to Nelson Mandelas coattails.And basking in the warmth of Nelson Mandelas glory.

    A repugnant hypocrite.

  9. I just heard from South Africa that “According to yesterday’s Cape Times, Johannesburg University has severed ties with Ben Gurion University”.

    I shall be working on a letter for US citizens to send US Congressmen (and women) asking that they support a ban on all the signatories from entering the USA.

    H/T to a couple of commentors on CiF for the idea.

  10. Akus. Not quite correct. This is the accurate story.

    benorr: I am not here to fly a flag for Tutu, but flinging prefabricated one size fits all arrows like benorr’s
    ” he has got to where he is by clinging to Nelson Mandelas coattails.And basking in the warmth of Nelson Mandelas glory.”
    is just ineffectual ignorant flailing and has nothing to do with the history and trajectory of either Tutu’s or Mandela’s standing in SA.
    I am all for sharply targeted accurate critiques but flailing is counterproductive, and just discredits accurate attacks.

    In Tutu’s case, I am not talking about wishy washy acts of kindness. I am talking major personal sacrifice and humiliation to save a man’s life, as he had to bear witness to his Christian belief that even the most evil of men’s hearts can be changed by the spirit of god. He was not successful in his mission, but it was his choices that were impressive.

  11. Hi amie, that link Gerald posted is the story we got in SA, eg. the Cape Times (AKUS) and which was broadcast on the ANC-controlled SABC news, so I can’t help but wonder if things were sugarcoated when they spoke to Associated Press (amie’s Haaretz link).

    From Gerald’s M&G link:

    “The senate delegated the matter to a nine-member subcommittee, headed by deputy vice-chancellor Adam Habib. Wednesday’s senate meeting debated its report for more than four hours.”

    HABIB. Do you understand now?

    The ANC is very close with muslims from all over. I’m not surprised about Tutu praising Iran. The ANC are protecting Mugabe who wants to sell URANIUM to IRAN and earlier this year, they in fact praised him and said they’ve “progressed so well in Zimbabwe, in SA we’re just getting started”.

    Pres Zuma’s “financial advisor”, Schabir SHAIK was found guilty of fraud and corruption in connection with a $4.8bn arms deal and the judge said that payments made by Shaik to Zuma indicated a “generally corrupt relationship.

    Actually, Tutu is a bit of a racist and has also made some racist comments as recently as a couple of months ago which were reported in SA newspapers.

    Also, when Nelson Mandela was writing his autobiography, he made notes about his own infidelity and affairs he had. However, when it was published, it turned out that Tutu had taken that unflattering stuff out. This was also in the SA news the other day.

    No wonder they now want to kill press freedom in SA.

  12. Ronnie Kasrils was the Commander of the ANC’s armed wing uMkhonto we Sizwe, which was responsible for the Church Street car bombing which killed 19 and injured 219 during peak traffic in Pretoria in 1983.

    Mandela signed off on this from jail (he admits this in his book) and Oliver Tambo, who was the next in command while Mandela was in jail, gave the final order.

    BBC’s original report on this car bomb:

    So basically Ronnie Kasrils is a car bomber.

  13. OK…

    So for those who do not understand this yet, here’s a summary of what’s going on.

    Israel is in the same shoes that South Africa was before Mandela was released in 1990.

    A couple of days before the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident, the SA Deputy President returned from a state visit to Turkey…

    The way I see it, the flotilla attack against the IDF soldiers was Israel’s Sharpville.

    Those IDF soldiers were put in an extremely difficult situation and were very much outnumbered and surprised. And yet, it was turned around against them to make Israel look bad. It’s also textbook ANC tactics.

    Like the ANC used propaganda, violence, taqiyya (“holy deception”) and anything else at their disposal to make all white South Africans look bad (and still does), so has this incident been turned around and lied about (despite evidence in Israel’s defense) in order TO ISOLATE ISRAEL.

    For some truth about Sharpville, please read this page:

    Israel is being targeted in the same way that white South Africans were (and are) being targeted. This flotilla thing is being used to “divide and conquer” Israel and its Western support base, as part of jihad.

    If you’ve ever read the Hamas Charter, you’d know it states that their goal is to crush Israel: “Israel will rise and remain erect until Islam crushes it as it has done in the past”.

    Don’t be too quick to talk about Apartheid. I’m not defending it, there were lots of bad things about it, but what the world was told for decades by the ANC and other “liberation” terrorists such as the PAC etc., was not necessarily true. Do yourself a favour and go learn about the Islamic principles of kitman and taqiyyah.

    The ANC’s goal was not necessarily freedom, it also had to do with wanting power and overthrowing a government. This suits the muslims, because the whites are an obstacle for countrywide shariah in SA. In the same way that the ANC used these tactics to put international pressure on SA, so Palestine, Turkey, Iran etc are using these tactics to weaken Israel.

    Mark my words. Been there, got the t-shirt. So Israel, please watch your back.

  14. Oh and I forgot to mention that the ANC government was the only country other than Turkey to recall its ambassador in Israel following the flotilla incident.

    There’s a well-known video about a former terrorist who now speaks out against Palestine. He says Islam always goes after human rights first and that Israel must never give in to these terrorists. I agree with him, because SA gave in to terrorists and now there are elderly women being carved up and tortured to death for hours with beer bottles so that “kill the boer” can be written on their farm house walls as in the case of Alice and Helen Lotter. (please watch this)

    I don’t think there will ever be peace in the Middle East as long as Islam is there, because the whole basis of Islam is that all unbelievers should be killed. Well, either that or they must convert or pay jizya (infidel tax to further fund jihad). If you take these aspects away from Islam, there probably won’t be much left of the Koran (or Sunnah).

  15. From Wikipedia:

    Positions on Israel/Palestine conflict

    Kasrils is known for his strong criticisms of the government of Israel and for his sympathies towards Palestinian political struggles.[5] He rose to international prominence after penning a “Declaration of Conscience by South Africans of Jewish Descent” in 2001 against Israeli policies in the occupied territories.[6] He has participated in events in the Palestinian Territories with all elected Palestinian parties and endorses a two-state solution premised on the 1967 borders.[7]

    In a two part essay “David and Goliath: Who is Who in the Middle East”[8][9] published in the ANC’s theoretical journal Umrabulo in late 2006 and early 2007, Kasrils outlined a history of Israel-Palestine since 1948 very critical of Israeli governments and military actions. Parts of the essay were published in the Mail&Guardian in a summarised form under the title “Rage of the Elephant: Israel in Lebanon.”[10] The article caused considerable controversy,[11] when Kasrils, commenting on the results of civilian deaths following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in July 2006, and referring to the Israeli leadership, noted: “…we must call baby killers ‘baby killers’ and declare that those using methods reminiscent of the Nazis be told that they are behaving like Nazis.”[12]

    In November 2006, the South African Jewish Report lodged a complaint of hate speech against Kasrils with the South African Human Rights Commission on the basis that the articles in Umrabulo and the Mail&Guardian violated Constitional protections (viz. Section 16(2)(c) of the Bill of Rights).[13] On 29 March 2007, the Commission ruled that Kasrils had not engaged in hate speech,[14] and noted: “Mr Kasrils’ call for peaceful negotiations is not compatible with the interpretation that he is calling for the destruction of the state of Israel. Neither can his comments reasonably be associated with Holocaust denials.”[15]

    In May 2007, during a visit to the Palestinian Territories, Kasrils met with Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and invited him to make his first visit outside the Muslim world to South Africa. South Africa’s Jewish Board of Deputies criticised the invitation, saying the “racist ideology” of Haniyeh’s Hamas organisation, which led the Palestinian unity government at that time, stood in contrast to South Africa’s own post-apartheid ideals. In response to criticism of the invitation Kasrils was quoted (Haaretz, 7 May 2007) as stating: “Those who myopically object to such invitations merely show that they have learnt nothing from South Africa’s transition”.[16]

  16. SA Reader: As someone who with my husband, was closely involved with the legal defence of many UDF and ANC leaders during the Struggle, I am quite aware of the the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of the Struggle. I have also had very close experience of the evil of the previous regime, who assassinated colleagues, both white and black who were never involved in violence, on the basis of paranoid whims. We ourselves received death threats, just for carrying out our professional duties to our clients as officers of the court, often in the form of midnight phone calls from the security police, which took the form of “we are coming to get you, you fucking Jews”. And they did.

    “Israel is in the same shoes that South Africa was before Mandela was released in 1990.” you say.
    YOur attempt at putting Israel in the same boat as this previous regime is miserably misguided and demeaning of Israel.

    There is plenty more to say about Kasrils, including the Goldstone report (not that one, another one) condemning Kasrils actions during the Bisho massacre, his more recent involvement during the Bongani Masuku furore, including burning an Israeli flag outside the shul my grandparents built, etc etc as well as more personal anecdotes I could relate.

    There is plenty of bad stuff to say about the current ANC administration including the threat to press freedom, but you ruin your case by trying to say that the reason White south africa was viewed in a bad light was owing to deception and propaganda by the ANC.
    The regime needed no propoganda tricks against it for people to have experienced the full force of its murderous injustice. This was a favourite ploy of the regime to crush opposition by saying that any black complaints of suffering and oppression was just communist “agitation” whereas the suffering was plain to see if you didn’t shut your eyes and retreat into your bunker.

  17. SA Reader: You say that Israel is in SA’s shoes with regard to the flotilla which is like Sharpeville.
    The basic facts of Sharpville are “On 21 March 1960 at least 180 black Africans were injured (there are claims of as many as 300) and 69 killed when South African police opened fire on approximately 300 demonstrators, who were protesting against the pass laws, at the township of Sharpeville, near Vereeniging in the Transvaal. “.
    I see no resemblance to the reluctant killing of nine terrorist agitators in self defence by soldiers who attempted peaceful means at first.

  18. Surely the most important thing to say about Ronnie Kasrils is that his line has come down the decades from his lifelong dedicated membership of the South African Communist Party, of which he was a member of the Central Executive for many years.

    Most significantly, he was trained in the Soviet Union in the sixties by the KGB at Odessa Military College and graduated as an intelligence specialist, graduating at Brigadier rank, as summarized here:

    Alongside the late Joe Modise, then MK Commander, and Commissar Moses Mabhida, Kasrils completed a general military course and a military engineering specialist course, graduating from the Odessa Military College in the Soviet Union at the end of 1964. He then went on to complete a specialist course in intelligence and a general officers course at Brigadier level. Therefore in 1983, Kasrils was appointed Chief of MK Intelligence.

    Kasrils very proudly celebrates his experience of this training, including marching goose-step to the instructors’ training in his autobiography “Armed and Dangerous”. In order to get that far, and even to qualify for the training he had, he would have had to show himself an ideological conformist with every twist and turn of Soviet Party lines on every subject.

    This is the Party Line on zionism of the time (Pravda editorial of 1983), which Kasrils follows to the letter to this day:

    “…By its nature, Zionism concentrates ultra-nationalism, chauvinism and racial intolerance, excuse for territorial occupation and annexation, military opportunism, cult of political promiscuousness and irresponsibility, demagogy and ideological diversion, dirty tactics and perfidy… Absurd are attempts of Zionist ideologists to present criticizing them, or condemning the aggressive politics of the Israel’s ruling circles, as antisemitic… We call on all Soviet citizens: workers, peasants, representatives of intelligentsia: take active part in exposing Zionism, strongly rebuke its endeavors; social scientists: activate scientific research to criticize reactionary core of that ideology and aggressive character of its political practice; writers, artists, journalists: fuller expose anti-populace and anti-humane diversionary character of propaganda and politics of Zionism…”

    Only these days, Kasrils doesn’t tell you where his ideology comes from– he represents himself as just a guy who came to his “anti-zionist”= anti-semitic politics through his own sense of right and wrong and his own experience.

    This article gives what seems to me a very good take on why Kasrils is so prominent these days in leading extreme anti-zionist BDS campaigns against Israel. It’s just like the case of the British Trade Unions and minority left newspapers like the Guardian. Their power and their constituency are vanishing. They achieve increasingly little. So here’s a stage which gets them lots of attention and the prospect of recruiting a new constituency:

    These three detractors – Tutu, Kasrils and Dugard-share two traits. One is their neglect of human rights elsewhere. They behave as though human rights violations and terror do not matter unless there is an Israeli nearby on whom the crime can be blamed. Indeed, Tutu was present last year when Carter declared that the word “genocide” had a narrow “legal definition” which the Sudanese government-sponsored onslaught in Darfur did not meet.[21]

    Just as Carter lost his sense of moral indignation when talking about horrors perpetrated in Darfur, so did Dugard when talking about Palestinian suicide bombings. Speaking to students at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, he declared: “Without justifying it [suicide bombing], I think one can understand it.”[22]

    Kasrils is similarly hypocritical on the question of human rights. In his book and speeches, he frequently glorifies Josef Stalin’s Soviet Union-one of the most repressive and murderous regimes in human history. As Intelligence Minister, he signed an agreement to cooperate with Zimbabwe on defense and security matters and crudely scolded a journalist who raised questions about Zimbabwe’s record on human rights under the regime of Robert Mugabe.

    The second trait common to these self-appointed prophets of apartheid is that they have been sidelined in the new South Africa. Kasrils, for example, was recently voted off the ANC’s national executive. His anti-Israel activity is the only way for him to preserve his diminishing political relevance. Nobel laureate Tutu has similarly used the issue to maintain his political relevance on the international scene. He has been sidelined in South Africa ever since President Thabo Mbeki publicly questioned his anti-apartheid credentials and accused him of dishonesty in comments made in 2004.

    Kasrils is a vain, self-serving, unrepentant and unreconstructed self-serving KGB tool. His adventurism and vanity cost quite a few of the lives of African strugglers and demonstrators against apartheid. His anti-zionist posturing should be exposed for what it is and where it comes from.

    Meanwhile, I wish amie would write a book about her experience and take on South African politics then and now.

  19. Judy: regarding the book- there have been attempts, but the publishers in SA wimped out, we suspect because it didn’t present a version of certain events the current dispensation was comfortable with hearing.

    I take issue with the lumping of the 3 regarding other human rights abuses- Tutu has been vocal about Zimbabwe and I think Darfur and many other places. Dugard on the other hand is another bitter let down for me, having been my International law prof whom we looked up to and admired. He was very bitter about being sidelined under the New SA and went off to Leyden where we met him when he was starting out as Rapporteur on Palestine. I had no idea the vicious line he was going to take.

  20. Amie, I can accept that Tutu has pursued other causes than Israel, but that in my view doesn’t mitigate the fact that he derives much of his current world status from his virulent anti-Israel campaigns, and I do think myself that there’s something of the demagogue in his political positioning and that he’s also making a continuing international career (as is Carter) out of being a Travelling World Conscience for Hire.

    It’s a side issue, anyway, here. The issue is Kasrils’ continuing peddling of the classic Brezhnev era Soviet anti-semitic anti-zionist party line (including the Nazi analogies) whilst presenting it as arising out of his own insights.

    Perhaps you could try finding a publisher in the UK. I know a literary agent if you think that would be useful. I think a good book on the real history of “the current dispensation” would be invaluable.

  21. Judy: I agree with everything you say in this comment.
    My only issue is with inaccurate attacks which misdirect the real sting of the case against people like Tutu. Lazy assumptions instead of sound research detracts from the credibility of the Israel activist cause.
    Thanks for the suggestion. I will be in touch.