AFRICANGLOBE – After widespread castigation of Israel for having supported the White apartheid Afrikaner regime, an Israeli scholar has come up with so-called “evidence” that Israel had secretly supported the African National Congress in the 1960s.
In a piece published in the Israeli Haaretz, David Fachler claims to uncover the “unknown story of how Israel secretly trained anti-apartheid activists in ‘judo, sabotage and weaponry,’ including Nelson Mandela himself.”
He claims that Israel cultivated ties with the White apartheid regime only after “Black Africa” abandoned Israel in the 1970s, suggesting that ungrateful Africa was partly to blame for Israel developing warm relations with the White apartheid regime.
Fachler writes that the new information comes from a top-secret letter obtained from Israel’s National Archive, which had to await discovery until after the death of the man who could have refuted or confirmed it.
According to Fachler, in 1962, a Mossad operative, Y. Ben Ari, at the Israeli Embassy in Ethiopia, sent a letter dated Oct. 11, 1962, to the Israeli Foreign Office describing how Mossad operatives trained a man named David Mobsari from Rhodesia whom they later discovered was Nelson Mandela.
Mandela was reportedly among the anti-apartheid fighters who traveled out of South Africa in the early 1960s and visited several African countries, including Ghana, Nigeria and Ethiopia, seeking financial and military assistance from newly independent African nations.
Fachler writes that “Mobsari” approached Mossad agents in Ethiopia and received training from them. His trainers said he showed interest in the methods of the pre-state Jewish military force, the Haganah, and that he expressed socialist views and appeared to have communist sympathies.
His Mossad trainers, however, tried to influence him in favor of Zionism.
Fachler quotes part of the so-called letter:
As you may recall, three months ago we discussed the case of a trainee who arrived at the [Israeli] embassy in] Ethiopia by the name of David Mobsari who came from Rhodesia. The aforementioned received training from the Ethiopians [Mossad agents] in judo, sabotage and weaponry.
He greeted our men with ‘Shalom,’ was familiar with the problems of Jewry and of Israel and gave the impression of being an intellectual. The staff tried to make him into a Zionist.
Fachler writes that ANC leaders were not the only African freedom fighters who participated in an alleged covert Israeli training program.
According to him, Israel had secret ties with other groups opposed to the South African nationalist regime and had provided training and support to Potlkako Leballo, head of the Pan Africanist Congress’s militant Poqo wing, which later morphed into the Azanian People’s Liberation Army.
Fachler writes that Israel went out of its way to cultivate relations with African liberation movements in the 1960s and singled out Golda Meir as an “ardent admirer of Black Africa,” who urged the South African authorities to commute Mandela’s death sentence in the Rivonia trial.
He then makes the bizarre assertion that “Black Africa” abandoned Israel in the 1970s, implying that African nations share the blame for Israel’s decision to cultivate close relations with the White apartheid regime.
But thankfully, he frankly admits the historical fact of the active support that Israel gave to the White apartheid regime and the fact that after Mandela’s release in 1990, Israel had hoped against all odds that Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s Inkatha Freedom Party, widely recognized as collaborating with the White apartheid nationalist government, would accede to power.
Fachel’s argument that Israel befriended the White apartheid regime “following its abandonment by Black Africa in the 1970s” is a belated attempt to rewrite history.
The lines in the anti-colonial struggle were not so blurred that African freedom fighters could not see that the White apartheid regime was only a proxy of the colonialist Western powers.
They could also appreciate the significance of Israel’s close ties with the “axis of evil” they were fighting against.
That the freedom fighters were willing to approach an ally of the Western powers for help — assuming that the letter Fachler cites is authentic — only further underscores a fact that Fachler’s analysis misses as key historical takeaway: The African freedom fighters were simply freedom fighters, not ideologues.
If Mandela, who has been accused of the sin of communism, had also approached the Israelis for assistance, it would merely reveal the realpolitik attitude of the ANC leaders at a time in which they were in dire need of assistance from the outside world.
Mandela’s training under Mossad – assuming, once again, that the letter Fachler cites is authentic — only reveals that the ANC leaders were as open to receiving assistance from capitalists as from communists.
In spite of himself, Fachler acknowledges the significant implication of the fact that Mandela and his colleagues in the ANC were willing to accept assistance from the West and its allies when he comments: “What makes this tentative contact with the pre-incarcerated Nelson Mandela so fascinating is his willingness to engage with these Israelis in the first place.”
Fachler also unwittingly admits that Africa did not abandon Israel, but that Israel abandoned Africa in favor of its commitment to its Western allies. He comments that Israel was more willing to give assistance to the Pan Africanist Congress because it was “considered anti-communist and not aligned with the Soviet Union” and thus “more attractive for a prospect for Israel to deal with than the ANC.”
Fachler’s comment reveals the reason Israel’s relationship with Africa did not last. Israel abandoned the ANC and other African freedom movements because of the narrow and misinformed perception that they were communist.
The observation by Mossad agents that Mandela “expressed socialist worldviews, and at times created the impression that he leaned toward communism” is unremarkable.
The saying goes that “he who pays the piper calls the tune.”
Besides, a man drowning in deep waters is unlikely to ask the first man who throws him a lifebelt whether he is a capitalist or a communist.
Beyond the fundamental issues of social justice, African freedom fighters had no genuine interest in the ideological conflict of the Cold War era.
It’s too late to rewrite history, Mr. Fachler. African freedom fighters did not abandon Israel, nor did they abandon the West in favor of communism. Rather, Israel and its Western friends abandoned Africans when they needed help, forcing them to accept an offer of assistance from the Soviets.
The frequent claim that Nelson Mandela was communist misrepresents the reality of the limited options the freedom fighters faced in their hour of need.
By: Johnthomas Didymus