Nelson Mandela’s thuggish and not-very-intelligent grandson, Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela (known as Mandla Mandela), is a convert to Islam, and a man obsessed with the evils of Israel. He’s also a member of South Africa’s National Assembly, where he frequently fulminates against the Jewish state. Writes Hugh Fitzgerald
Now he’s blaming Israel, among others, for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The latest on his miscomprehension of the world is here: “Mandela’s grandson blames Israel for Russian invasion of Ukraine,” by Tzvi Joffre, Jerusalem Post, March 18, 2022:
Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela blamed “neo-Nazis,” Israel and NATO for the Russian invasion of Ukraine during a conference held by the Pan African Palestinian Solidarity Network in Dakar, Senegal on Saturday, March 19..
The “Pan African Palestinian Solidarity Network”? Which Arab states and terror groups are financing that undertaking, do you think? The same ones that bribed Idi Amin and other African leaders to convert to Islam? Or bribed African states to cut ties to Israel after the Yom Kipppur War?
There is much for black Africans to do, working in “solidarity” with one another, that has nothing to do with distant “Palestine.” In three African countries – all in West Africa, none very far from Senegal — hundreds of thousands of black Africans remain enslaved to Arab masters. In Mali, there are 200,000; in Mauritania, there are 680,000, and in Niger, there are 900,000 black slaves. None of this interests Mandla Mandela, who would not want to bring the world’s attention to black slaves and Arab masters. It would only confuse people, who should save their indignation for the wretched Palestinians and their malign tormentors, the Jews of Israel.
The global military-industrial complex that beat the drums of war in Ukraine feeds an agenda of which they are the sole beneficiaries,” said Mandela.
No one except Putin “beat the drums of war in Ukraine.” No one in NATO wanted, or expected, the war. Not even the Russian people wanted the war: it has been Putin’s War all the way. Those scholars who study the sweep of large movements, and are skeptical of the notion that individuals can play a large role in history, should think again, given what one man has managed to do with his war in the Ukraine.
Mandla Mandela is mistaken: why would Ukraine want to start a war with a much more powerful neighbor? Nor were NATO countries looking to start a conflict; they have been horrified by the carnage and destruction that has been caused by Putin sitting in the Kremlin. It is there that Vladimir Putin had been planning his invasion for months, beginning last fall, and assembled an invasion force of 190,000 men to seize Ukraine in what he assumed would be a blitzkrieg, and return the country to its subordinate status within the Russian orbit, just as it was during Soviet times. Putin believes that the breakup of the Soviet Union was the “greatest catastrophe” to befall the world in the 20th century. He intends to resurrect as much as he can of the political structure of the Soviet Union, with Russia at its center. Or that was his plan, which has now gone wrong in every way, because of Russian logistics failures, the tremendous influx of weapons, including anti-tank Javelin missiles and ground-to-air Stinger missiles, sent by Western powers to Ukraine, and the amazing fight being put up by the indomitable Ukrainians, both soldiers and civilians.
“Behind them lies the ruins of Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. They are joined in this disgraceful endeavor by neo-Nazis in Ukraine, the Apartheid Israel dogs of war and those in NATO intent on advancing cold war politics.”
The “ruins” of Afghanistan are not the fault of the U.S., but of the Taliban, which for two decades has terrorized much of the country and brought it to economic ruin. It was the American government that spent more than $2 trillion, not only to suppress the Taliban, but to build roads, bridges, schools, and other infrastructure, as well as attempting to create a quasi-decent regime. It was not to be. The Americans pulled out, the Taliban completed its conquest of the country, and having promised to be “moderate,” instead installed in power a group of Muslim fanatics who are busy turning Afghanistan into a Sharia-compliant state.
The “ruins” of Syria are due not to the U.S., but are entirely the fault of Bashar Al-Assad who, in order to hold onto power, engaged in a decade of civil war that destroyed much of the country, turned 6.7 million Syrians into refugees, and caused another 6.6 million Syrians to be internally displaced.
In Iraq, well-meaning but naive Americans spent more than $2 trillion, first on overthrowing Saddam Hussein, and then on building infrastructure (the same roads, bridges, schools as were built in Afghanistan), raising the standard of living (at times American civil affairs officers would simply hand out money to local officials to jump-start the Iraqi economy), tamping down sectarian and ethnic conflict, and introducing purple-thumbed elections in an attempt to fashion, after decades of despotism, a workable democracy. Right now it is still unclear if the IRGC-backed Shia militias, such as Kataib Hezbollah, will be able to enforce their will by force, or if some reasonable facsimile of democracy will prevail.
In the Ukraine, what Mandla Mandela calls those “apartheid Israel dogs of war” have taken no part in the fighting. Israel has not sent weapons to Ukraine but has delivered 100 tons of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, more than any country except the U.S., and has now finished building, and staffing, a large field hospital in western Ukrainian. That’s it. How’s that for unleashing “the dogs of war”?
Mandela also claimed that the world was acting with “profound hypocrisy, [the] myopia of the worst sort and blatant racism” amid the crisis in Ukraine.
By the “profound hypocrisy” and “myopia of the worst sort” and “blatant racism” of the world, Mandla Mandela means that all these Ukrainians are white, and European, and that’s why so many other countries, also “white” and “European,” have hastened to its aid, whereas they never do so when “brown” or “black” people are being oppressed. What Mandla has in mind is the Palestinians, who are “brown” people and so, he claims, are ignored by the “white” powers that be. It’s nonsense, of course. There are many Palestinians who are “white,” and a great many Ethiopian and Mizrahi Jews in Israel who are just as, or even more, “brown,” than the Palestinian Arabs.
But Mandla’s charge is even more absurd because, far from being ignored, the Palestinians have been the most discussed, the most supported, the most lavished with international largesse, of any stateless people on earth. They have battened on the tens of billions of dollars in aid that have been given to them over many decades, mostly by the “white” countries that Mandla Mandela believes ignores them. The Palestinians, alone among the hundreds of millions of refugees since World War II, are allowed to pass on their refugee status as an inherited trait, so that the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and so on, of the original 1948 refugees, are all considered to be “Palestinian refugees” and entitled to receive all the benefits – housing, medical care, education, family allowances – that the original refugees received. Far from being ignored because they are “brown,” the treatment of the Palestinians by the Israelis, has become a permanent agenda item (#7), taken up at every meeting of the UN Human Rights Council. And now the U.N. has also established a permanent commission to investigate “war crimes” supposedly committed by the Israelis against the Palestinians, the very people whom Mandla Mandela would like you to believe are ignored.
The pervasive panic of COVID-19 has disappeared from the media headlines, along with the wars in Syria, Yemen, and the occupation of Palestine,” said Mandela at the conference. “The warmongers have forgotten about the suffering of millions in Africa, endemic poverty, inequality and the cruel legacy of scars left on our continent by centuries of colonialism and the ongoing plunder of our resources, especially by our former colonial masters and new ones like Apartheid Israel.”
It is flatly untrue that the war in the Ukraine has driven out all other stories from the media. COVID-19 was never out of the news, and now it is being given heightened attention because of the appearance of a new variant. The Syrian civil war gets less attention, it’s true, than it di a year ago, but that only reflects the fact that the war has been sputtering out; Bashar Al-Assad has won. The war inside Yemen isn’t on the evening news, but the Houthi attacks launched from Yemen at the UAE and Saudi Arabia certainly are covered. As for what Mandela calls “the occupation of Palestine,” thus demonstrating his ignorance of the Mandate for Palestine, the Treaty of San Remo, Article 80 of the U.N. Chapter, and U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 (Nov. 22, 1967), no doubt there has been less attention to “Palestine” because of the Ukraine war, but it certainly has not been ignored, either in the regular media, or in social media, where the army of Israel-haters obsessively discuss the sins of the Jewish state, or at the U.N., where the topic of Israel and the Palestinians receives more attention, year after year, than any other subject.
The South African MP stated that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been “orchestrated” over the past eight years. He did not mention the specific fact that Russia had invaded Ukraine at any point in his speech.
What can Mandla Mandela possibly mean? Here’s what I think he means.
Eight years ago Russia invaded Crimea and took it away from Ukraine. I think Mandela means that from that time forward, Ukraine has been plotting its revenge attack on Russia, when it would take back Crimea. But if that were true, why didn’t Ukraine, in the hopes of defeating Russia, build up its military, provide itself with vast stores of the necessary war materiel, including Stinger surface-to-air missiles and Javelin anti-tank weapons? Why was the Ukraine so unprepared, if it had supposedly been planning this war for eight years? And how was it that the Ukraine managed to inveigle Putin into starting the very war that, Mandla may believe, Ukraine had been hoping for?
Mandela additionally expressed outrage at Israel being granted observer status in the African Union, saying “We must reflect deeply on what has transpired on our continent and how the Apartheid Israel regime and its Zionist lobbying machine has crept insipidly [sic] into the African psyche and wormed itself into our structures overtly and covertly.”
Over 70 countries and organizations have observer status at the African Union. Why shouldn’t Israel be one of them? Israel had an extensive program of aid to black African countries in the late 1950s and 1960s. The Jewish state gave unstintingly to black Africa. It helped to establish agricultural cooperatives, youth training programs, medical infrastructure, and joint industrial enterprises in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and other sub-Saharan countries.
Then things changed for Israel in Africa. In the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, followed by the global oil crisis, most of the Sub-Saharan countries severed diplomatic ties with Israel, due to two prime factors: promises of cheap oil and financial aid, and compliance with the OAU (Organization of African Unity) resolution, sponsored by Egypt, calling for the severing of relations with Israel. Only Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland maintained full diplomatic relations with Israel, while a few other countries sustained contact through interest offices in foreign embassies. Commercial ties did, however, continue to some extent; African students participated in training courses in Israel; and Israeli experts were active throughout the continent. It makes no sense to prevent Israel, given its past, present, and likely future aid to black Africa, from being granted observer status by the African Union. Israel now has relations with 46 African countries and has renewed aid programs with at least two dozen.
Mandela is the chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council and a staunch supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. He converted to Islam in later 2015, according to the BBC. In 2017, he visited Israel, but only held meetings with Palestinian leaders. During the visit he stated that “Israel is the worst apartheid regime.”
How did Mandla Mandela arrive at that damning conclusion? The Palestinians told him so. He did not bother to investigate for himself, for if he had, he would have seen that Israeli Arabs sit in the Knesset, serve on the Supreme Court, go abroad as ambassadors. He might have discovered that the chairman of Israel’s largest bank, Bank Leumi, is an Arab. He could have seen for himself Jews and Arabs working side by side in offices and factories, studying together in universities, being treated by both Jewish and Arab medical personnel. Jews and Arabs play on the same teams (the captain of Israel’s national soccer team is an Arab), and in the same orchestras. All of that could have been discovered by Mandla Mandela, but his mind was made up. Whatever Mahmoud Abbas told him, he believed.
Many Xhosa chiefs have expressed alarm about Mandla Mandela, and particularly about his conversion to Islam. The Congress of Traditional Leaders in South Africa (Contralesa) told the BBCin 2016, when Mandla converted, that being a Muslim could affect his ability to uphold Xhosa traditions.
Contralesa’s spokesperson, Chief Mwelo Nonkonyane, said Mr Mandela’s new religious affiliation could present a conflict for his subjects.
“There is nothing wrong with a traditional leader following any faith he chooses but we are concerned about whether he will be able to continue performing his responsibilities as a chief,” he said.
“Traditional chiefs sometimes lead thanksgiving rituals for ancestors, which would include presenting slaughtered animals to them in prayer.
“Such practices are not considered to be in line with the beliefs of many Muslims.
Even the chiefs of Mandla’s own tribe have their doubts about his fitness to be the traditional leader of the tribe. He’s been married four times and involved in paternity suits and other scandals. Everyone recognizes he’s not a patch on his grandfather. But he’s got one thing in his favor: he’s the champion of the Palestinians, who will stand by their man, providing money and propaganda support for this appalling spawn of the late, and quasi-great, Nelson Mandela.