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Is Mandla Mandela an antisemite?

Investigating language coding and truth ……

In March this year, in the South African Jewish Report (SAJR), Tali Feinberg accused Mandla Mandela (the grandson of Nelson Mandela) of being an antisemite. She said that he had revealed “his own antisemitism” in his address that he made to the Pan African Palestine Solidarity Networks (PAPSN). Mandela’s address was a call to resist Israel’s presence on the African continent. The SAJR report featured the views of several antisemitism experts who opined inter alia that Mandela expressed tropes[1] that could have come from The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, a text which is generally regarded as an antisemitic portrayal of Jews as arch manipulators, hell-bent on controlling the world and suppressing Gentiles. It paints a picture of Jews that became central to the race ideology of National Socialism in Germany.

As I pointed out in an earlier article, Israel and Zionists regularly call out virtually any critical comment about Israel and its policies towards the Palestinian people, as antisemitic. This sometimes creates a defensiveness amongst some of us anti-Zionist activists and other critics of Israel. When this claim against Mandela was made, quite a few months ago, one of my colleagues in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign Cape Town opined that while Mandela was no antisemite his excessive language might have opened him up to that charge. I have observed my similar emotional reactions when parallels are drawn between us calling out Israel for its violations of human rights and our Zionist opponents responding by identifying us as antisemitic fellow travellers, helping to achieve the nefarious ends of neo-Nazis. I think that this reaction reflects what Judith Butler referred to as the “unbearable” feeling of being identified as an antisemite, a collaborator with Nazis, a feeling which is intense enough to persuade many otherwise critical of Israel rather to remain silent.

The antidote to these paralysing feelings is to examine rationally the charge of antisemitism. This is what I aim to do here. Readers do not have to agree with my political viewpoints regarding Israel and its legitimacy/ illegitimacy. This article is addressed as much to Zionists as to anti-Zionists. My purpose is to use an objective definition of antisemitism and weigh the evidence whether Mandela’s address was antisemitic.

It was on this basis that (at the time) I offered to read Mandela’s address, the SAJR article, reflect on criticism of Israel and the charge of antisemitism and put my thoughts down on paper. In fact, I had been doing just that in respect of other events on this platform for the last seven months. I thought that this would be useful from the standpoint of the struggle for freedom of speech and democratic debate, to say nothing of the struggle for Palestinian rights, indeed for the struggle for the rights of all. The delay in publishing this article is because I got waylaid by other priorities, including raising funds for a kindergarten/creche for the children of homeless people in my suburb. I also needed to dive deep into further research about discourse analysis because at the end of the day how people refer to their neighbours lies at the heart of their own identities. And “othering” is at the same time a statement of own identity. I also needed time to complete some considerable research on Israel’s practices in Africa, which should form the basis for understanding the significance of what Mandela and his critics actually said. This article, and also the one that will follow it shortly, is the outcome of these efforts.

The first section of this article summarises Mandela’s address and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the critical response to his address and reflects on the implied logic and assumptions underlying the Zionist definition and meaning of antisemitism, as these manifest in Zionist ideological practices in a specific conjuncture.

The second section clarifies that coding is integral to language and communication processes but that these codes are located within ideologies and have developed historically through ideological struggle. Based on this understanding of coding as an open-ended, uneven and contradictory set of sign processes the section critiques the Zionist claim about the coding of antisemitic discourse. Ideological struggles are characterised not simply by conflicting meanings or significations of language but implicitly (if not explicitly) by counter claims on the truth. Therefore, an important aspect of linguistic coding is the couplet “propositional statement” = “truth value”.

The third section explores the truth value of specific propositions by Mandela in his address. This is important as a specific coding of meaning and enables an assessment of the accuracy of his key claims about Israel as a settler colonialist state.

The conclusion draws together some of the key lessons about the ideological confrontation between Zionist and anti-Zionist coded language.

The next article will assess the accuracy of his claims about Israel’s modus operandi in Africa and the impact that its practices in Africa are contributing to in respect of the quality of life of the inhabitants of 15 states where Israeli presence has been discerned and examined.

Israel in Africa — Expansionary Apartheid or Incarnation of Elders of Zion?:

Israel’s expansion into Africa

In his address to the PAPSN during March 2022 Mandela referred to Israel as an apartheid state, which he said was plundering Africa’s resources. He noted that Israel had a “pernicious” agenda and “Israel’s evil actions” not only in Palestine but also in Africa and elsewhere in the world.

To advance its interests he said that Israel developed underhand relationships with African and other states (“wormed” its way into countries) and he implied that Israel used economic inducements (“checkbook diplomacy”) to win the support of local economic and political elites. He said it mobilised formidable lobbies in the West.

As an example of the political relationships referred to above, he spoke of “apartheid Israel” being granted observer status in the African Union (AU), a move that he decried. As an example of the impact of established Israeli economic interests in Africa, he mentioned the fact that Clover (a South African dairy product company), which had been bought recently by an Israeli company, exploiting and retrenching its workers and thereby provoking a prolonged strike,[2] for which he expressed support.

Mandela placed the Israeli political and economic strategies in a global context by referring to the actions of the global military industrial complex (MIC) with respect to Ukraine. In respect of Ukraine he referred to the “Apartheid Israel Dogs of War”. He furthermore contextualized what he identified as the suffering people from Ukraine, with those of Kashmir, Myanmar, Syria, Western Sahara, Latin America and Palestine. In other words, he linked Israel’s apartheid policies and practices towards the Palestinian people, to an oppressive global MIC. This implied that the struggle against Israeli apartheid needed to combine with the struggles against the global MIC.

He called for resistance to Israel’s pernicious agenda in Africa (and elsewhere), through support for the Boycott, Divestment Sanctions movement.

The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.

The scholar Hanna Arendt (The Origins of Totalitarianism, pages 241 to 242) argued that the Protocols are to be understood in the context of the emergence of the pan-German and pan-Slavic movements of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. The Protocols functioned as instrument that used antisemitism as part of the ideologies mobilising support for these movements. According to Arendt agents of the Russian secret police in Paris, on the suggestion of the political advisor of Tsar Nicholas II, Probyedonostzev (the only pan-Slav ever in an influential position), forged the Protocols around 1900. The pamphlet remained forgotten until 1919 when it was published in several European countries (according to JS Curtis, The Protocols of Zion). Its circulation by 1939 was second only to Hitler’s Mein Kampf. The content of the Protocols implied a society where the police would be the central institution and the total society would be ruled according to policing principles. According to antisemites in the pan-German and pan-Slavic movements, and later Hitler and his colleagues, the Protocols revealed the innate devilishness of the Jews.

Hannah Arendt, scholar and one-time Zionist. SOURCE:

In a preface to a translation of the Protocols (first published by Sergei Nilus in Russia in 1905) by one Viktor Marsden, the latter explains the document as a concerted plan of action by the Jewish Nation, developed over the Ages. According to this view the plan was issued at the first Zionist Congress in Basle (1897) as part of a Jew World Plot. The National Home in Palestine was a camouflage for Jews’ real object. Marsden claims that the Elders comprised 300 men operating behind the scenes of all governments, and that all white people face this threat of being dominated by them. He claimed that a scheme for the peaceful conquest of the whole universe (through economic conquest and wholesale destruction) started with King Solomon in 929 BC. He traced the development of this process as a snake moving through Greece (429 BC), Rome (69 BC), Madrid (1552), Paris (1790), London (1814), Berlin (1871), St Petersburg (1881) and in the 20th Century through the Council on Foreign Relations (the Trilateral Commission). Marsden also quoted Henry Ford, a self-confessed antisemite, approvingly, who said in 1921 that the Protocols “fit in with what is going on”.

The Marsden translation of the Protocols reads like a diatribe, an ongoing rave about the omnipotence, shrewdness, all knowing consciousness and exceptional intelligence of the leaders of the Jews. These articulations are not referenced to minutes of meetings, still less to protocols of action. Instead, there is an assumption that all this power was (allegedly) arrogated to the Jews by God, as his chosen people. The document is quite repetitive about falsely presenting a good faith and moral argument for certain public actions, but which are motivated wholly by a nefarious intent to totally manipulate the Gentiles in order to effectively subjugate and enslave them.

The Protocols notes that “our educated class is headed by the aristocracy of money”, and that “we” (i.e. the elders) “arranged” the successes of Darwinism, Marxism and Nietzscheism. It claims that the “Great French Revolution” was entirely the work of their hands. The Protocols also records that control of the Press has fallen into the hands of these leaders and their organization. Propaganda will be maximized by centralising the entire press in their hands as well by their controlling of the press.

The principle articulated in the Protocols is that might is right and that the leaders of the Jewish people have to manipulate the Gentile masses using the weaknesses inherent in liberal democracy. This principle finds its practical expression in the manipulation of the mobs The Protocols supports absolute despotism as a form of state to defend and reproduce civilisation. The strategy is to promote deceit and make-belief through ideology. Ideology is defined as complete deceit that manipulated totally, masses of people.

The Protocols strategise about bringing the Gentile public into a state of bewilderment by giving expression to so many contradictory opinions that they realise that it would be better to have no opinion on the affairs of the world. In ways analogous to what Naomi Klein has referred to as the “Shock Doctrine” this strategy allegedly had as its goal the establishment of a world government. While the elders supported communism as the alleged saviour of the masses they nevertheless intended to rule the hungry worker as capital. One tactic put forward was to encumber Gentile-owned land with debt to the extent that it could be dispossessed and the Gentiles who used to live off it, enslaved.

The Protocols’ strategy included employing Economics as the core discipline of thought to frame and justify the objective of world domination “because at the end of the day everything will be determined by figures”. The text noted that “our educated class is headed by the aristocracy of money”. Part of the strategy was to create private financial institutions that issue interest-bearing debt and to bring to an end government-created fiat money. This would produce economic crises through the withdrawal of money from circulation. The fostering and promotion of the creed of liberalism would provide the ideological cloak under which to establish a Jewish dictatorship over the world.

The Jews were enjoined to declare war on any country that opposed their plans.

The structures through which these plans were to be implemented were the Masonic Lodges. The so-called Learned Elders were the central administration of the whole complex of masonic lodges. All the agents of international and national police would be included as members of these lodges.

“Israel” as Code for Jewish Elders of Zion.

Tali Feinberg, writing in the SAJR on 24 March 2022, said that antisemitism experts claimed Mandela spouted antisemitic tropes that could have come from the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”.

South African antisemitism expert Merlin Shain opined that Mandela crossed the line between antisemitism and anti-Zionism. Shain referred to phrases like “spread their tentacles”, “checkbook diplomacy” and “wormed itself into our structures”, as tropes for othering Jews, revealing a deep-seated hatred[3] for Jews. In this regard Shain referred to Fatima Hajaig’s comments during Operation Cast Lead (2008) which he said comprised similar tropes and for which she had apologised.[4]

Antisemitism expert Yehuda Bauer called the South African Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) coalition’s reference to Israel’s existence as a crime against humanity as antisemitic: “the denial of the right of the Jewish people to political self-definition and self-rule is antisemitic. Everyone has national self-determination rights, according to Mandela, except the Jews”. “That’s antisemitic”.[5]

Dr Gunther Jikeli, the Erna B Rosenfield associate professor at the Institute for the study of Contemporary Antisemitism, concluded that Mandela was antisemitic because he accused the Zionist lobby of conspiring against Africa, African people and against the World. He noted that the words (signs) “Israel” and “Zionist lobby” were often codewords for the word “Jews”.

David Saks of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies defined contemporary antisemitism as targeting Jews as a political, collective entity through defaming and delegitimising the Jewish nation state.

Rowan Polovin, of the SA Zionist Federation claimed that Mandela had minimised the holocaust and exploited the Ukrainian conflict for his own agenda.

Ontological code: “Israel” = “Jew”

Judith Butler (referred to earlier) clarified for me that the key to understanding the Zionist view of antisemitism is that for them the sign “Israel” is a code for “Jew”. In other words, the significance of criticising (or admiring) the state of Israel is that criticism is antisemitic and admiration philosemitic. Indeed Gunther Jikeli, one of the Zionist antisemitism experts referred to above, concurred with this explanation of the coding.

Butler usefully pointed to the claim (made in 2002) by Lawrence Summers (then President of Harvard University) that antisemitism should be seen as an effect, regardless of the intent of those criticising Israel. This opens the door to an objective significance of an act regardless of intent.[6] This dualism between subject and object is linked to and reinforced by the core elements of Zionist ideology with an emphasis on the object: an eternal Jewish ethnos, original links to Eretz Yisrael (the land) and antisemitism-in-perpetuity. (I explored these elements in an earlier article on this platform). This code Israel = Jew is ontological: it exists independently of the intentions of antisemites or philosemites.

Lawrence Sunmmers, ex-President of Harvard and ex-Secretary of the Treasury under Clinton. SOURCE: realmoney.thestreet. com

The idea that intentionality could be separated from the effect or impact of an act or discourse, means that the effect is the thing to focus on regardless of intentions. What this means is that for Zionists all future antisemitic acts are predetermined and can be known by them. This means that there is no need empirically to study contingent events to identify antisemitism. This explains why no matter how sincere we are about supporting the struggle for Palestinian human rights, Zionists will always default to the position that we are antisemites because our practices are ipso facto critical not only of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians but fundamentally opposed to the existence of a Jewish-ethno, Jewish supremacist state.

Because the official definition of antisemitism, namely the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, does not define fair criticism of Israel, the Zionist charge that unfair criticism of Israel is antisemitic, in practice signifies all criticism of Israel as antisemitic. The more recent Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism has decoupled anti-Zionism from antisemitism but focuses on other sub-codes that are relevant to how Israel is criticised. What is signified in these subcodes are the images of the malevolent Jew as depicted in the image of the Jew-as-Christ-killer, the Blood Libel of the Russian Orthodox Church[7] and the Jew-as-global manipulator-of-Gentiles (contained in the Protocols). Zionist have invoked the Blood Libel charge of antisemitism against their critics who have dared to call them out over the killing of Palestinian infants and children from bombing strikes on Gaza City and elsewhere. In the current case they depicted Mandela’s terminology as a series of coded signs signifying the Jew as underhand, manipulative and bribing African leaders through offering them material gains and through money, and thereby placing Jews within African state decision-making structures in order to more effectively implement their criminal enterprise.

Semiotics and discourse analysis:

Language as ipso facto coding and decoding

Earlier I explained that the notion of coded language is my point of departure for critiquing the Zionist meaning of antisemitism. I also explained that I based this on Butler’s insight, referred to earlier. In his magisterial work on a theory of semiotics Umberto Eco[8] made the point that coding is central to all language and linguistic systems.

Eco clarified that semiotics is concerned with everything that can be taken as a sign. A sign is something that can be taken as significantly substituting for something else. This something else does not necessarily have to exist or actually to be somewhere at the moment in which a sign stands in for it. Semiotics studies all cultural processes as processes of communication.

A communication process is the passage of a signal (not necessarily a sign) from a source to a destination. When the destination is a human being we witness a process of signification, provided that the signal is not merely a stimulation but arouses an interpretive response in the addressee. This process is made possible by a code.

A code is a system of signification insofar as it couples present entities (in this case, the state of Israel) with absent units (i.e. Jews). When — on the basis of an underlying rule — something actually presented to the perceptions of the addressee stands for something else, there is signification.

Umberto Eco, theorist of semiotics. SOURCE:

In this sense the addressee’s actual perception and interpretive behaviour are not necessary for the definition of a significant relation as such: it is enough that the code should foresee an established correspondence between that which “stands for” and its correlate. In other words, a semiotic system is an autonomous semiotic construct that has an abstract mode of existence independent of any potential communicative act it makes possible.

At this point the basic assumptions of a theory of semiotics would appear to be congruent with the Zionist claim that there is an objective correlation of the sign “Israel” with the something else which is “Jew”, and therefore that anti-Israel propositions are antisemitic propositions. However, Zionists assume that the “Israel” = “Jew” signification is an immutable structure of meaning, an idea that Eco finds problematic.

Immutable meaning and single code

Eco makes the point that in cultural processes the semiotics of signification and the semiotics of communication are strictly intertwined. This means that the abstract structure of signification, that exists independently of any concrete communicative act, is instantiated, i.e. becomes real, only in and through historical communication processes. He furthermore argues that a sign is everything that on the grounds of a previously established social convention can be taken as something standing for something else.

The point that I am trying to make here is that the signification “Israel” = “Jew” is not a given universal code as claimed (or implied) by Zionists, but like all codes is historically determined and can be replaced by other contradictory codes.[9] To understand this Eco employs the term “semantic fields”, which refers to a set of words related in meaning, which cover a certain conceptual domain and which bear certain specifiable relations to one another.[10]

Semantic fields are culturally specific, because there is a relationship between these fields and what Eco refers to as “cultural vision”.[11] He notes that at a certain juncture “a functioning semantic field” begins to dissolve and make room for another, and that in the same civilisation two or more semantic fields can coexist although in opposition when different patterns of culture are superimposed. The conclusion from this is that the same term (e.g. Israel) can entertain different relationships provided that it is inserted into different axes depending on the rhetorical (and ideological) way in which these relations are viewed.[12]

Universal Zionist code

The above points are the foundation for questioning the implicit attempt by Zionists — in the form of what Eco refers to as structural semantics — to bring to light immediately and without discussion the immutable structures of meaning underlying its “Israel” = “Jew” code. In semiotics the idea of immutable structures of meaning is based on the presumption that there is a univocal position in the Universal Semantic System, because of the existence of a single, underlying code, from which all other codes and sub-codes can be deduced. But if there are many contradictory semantic fields their choice depends on the point of view controlling one’s approach to the text.

So, what Zionists assume to be a system of ideas inherent in the code Israel = Jew is a system through which Zionist ideology views Gentiles in general and Palestinians and Jews in particular. This code is neither universal nor immutable. It is the product or outcome of a dominant ideology, Zionism, that succeeded through ideological struggle, getting the US, UK and Western European states to accept the code Israel = Jew.[13]

Contesting Zionism = Judaism. SOURCE:

The ideological struggle against Zionism includes as a key component the struggle against the validity of this code. It contests the truth value of the code by simultaneously contesting the truth value of the key set of words, related in meaning, which cover the conceptual domain of Zionist ideology: Israel’s right to exist, the definition of being Jewish and the state of Israel as Jewish and democratic (together with the Zionist meaning of antisemitism these last three sets of words cover the central themes I explore in the series of articles that I am publishing on the Medium platform).

In struggling against the validity of the Zionist code Israel = Jew I have to present a counter code. If Israel does not equal Jew then what is it that Israel stands for? Israel stands for a set of economic and socio-political ideas and practices that exceptionalise and privilege people interpellated as Jews while at the same time violating the human rights of Palestinians and are deeply discriminatory and militaristic. This militarism has embedded itself in an apartheid system, which is one of the subjects of Mandela’s address. The next section attempts to demonstrate the truth value of this statement.

Israel’s Apartheid Empirical Axes:

To present a counter semantic field (to the hegemonic Zionist one) is insufficient. One also has to demonstrate the truth value of the key terms of this counter semantic field. In this section I assess the coding inherent in Mandela’s term of Israeli apartheid. This decoding will take the form of relating Mandela’s terminology to what social scientists conceive as the evidence for what the terminology refers to objectively (i.e. the empirical referents).

Right to self-determination

Yehudah Bauer, referred to earlier, called the characterisation of the state of Israel as a crime against humanity as antisemitic because it excludes Jews from the universal right of all nations to “political self-definition” and “political self-rule”. “Political self-definition” and “political self-rule” are signs that stand for Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. These signs are based on and justified by key sets of words in the Zionist semantic field. As such they signify a state in which Jewish national identity is the only national identity, where other citizens have only civil rights and there is a large number of people governed without normal civil rights in a democratic dispensation.

The first point to note is that there is no universal right of all nations to “political self-rule” where this would entail the violation of the rights of others not constituting the said nation. In an earlier article I referred to Ali Abunimah making this point in relation to a rational conception of law as just and equitable. Writer and journalist Mehdi Hassan in opposing the debate proposition that anti-Zionism equals antisemitism, argued that there are more than 5 000 ethnic groups in the world yet only 193 member states of the United Nations. (see video link, 41,28 minutes to 43,09 minutes). His point was that national self-determination doesn’t always correspond with statehood, and that it is legitimate to debate where and when political statehood is appropriate and can — and therefore should — be implemented. He further argued that it was not bigotry and racist to say this in the same way that is not ipso facto antisemitic to oppose Zionist ethno-nationalism which has effectively denied self-determination to Palestinians through imposing an apartheid regime on them.

The Jewish Bund. SOURCE:

Lenin’s “On the Jewish Question”[14] is an earlier argument against separate political sub-structures for differentially defined social groups or nations — albeit within the structures of a single state — as a precondition of national self-determination. This is relevant to the present discussion because he addressed the challenge of countering and overcoming antisemitism by protecting and advancing the national rights of Jewish people, as well as those of other nationalities, within a single democratic state. He countered the ethno-nationalist claim that extra-territorial cultural sovereignty is a sine qua non for self-determination, which arose in 1899 from South Slav Social Democrats and took the form of the following demand: “every nation inhabiting Austria, irrespective of the territory on which its members reside, shall constitute an autonomous group which will quite independently administer all its national language and cultural affairs”.[15]

Lenin responded critically to a similar demand by the General Jewish Workers Union in Lithuania, Poland and Russia (The Jewish Bund) that the Jewish nation required extra-territorial structures of representation within a single state, applied particularly to develop a Jewish educational programme and govern Jewish educational institutions.[16] While the Bund’s demands were not for a separate Jewish state, Lenin criticized them for dividing nations through separate structures within a single state. He argued positively for full equality between nations in a single state: a general school programme which demanded an absolutely secular school system as the framework within which full equality of different nations and cultures could be realised. Full equality meant the recognition of the right of self-determination for all nations, i.e. the right to use native languages, but instruction in native languages meant neither dividing educational affairs within a single state according to nationality nor taking educational affairs out of the hands of the state.[17] The point is that national self-determination is not exhausted by a code for national political supremacy in a self-defined state. Therefore, positing an anti-Zionist form of self-determination for Jews in terms of the right to education and communication in Hebrew, education and celebration of Jewish history and culture, etc. is not ipso facto antisemitic.

Israel’s apartheid regime

The apartheid wall. SOURCE:

Likewise, calling Israeli apartheid a crime against humanity is not antisemitic but reflects international law. The term “Israeli apartheid” is a code for three pieces of international law taken together: the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the crime of Apartheid (“Apartheid Convention”) and the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). International law ascribes the words “crimes against humanity” to apartheid and persecution. The words “Israeli apartheid” are signs for what has been recorded in five reports that claim that Israel is an apartheid state. These are the South African Human Sciences Research Council Report of 2009, the 2017 Report of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, The 2019 Report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), the 2021 Report of B’Tselem(the Israeli Human Rights organisation) and the 2022 Report by Amnesty International (Amnesty). As all these documents point out Israeli apartheid refers to the systematic dispossession, confinement, forcible separation and subjugation of Palestinians by the state of Israel.[18]


Zionist antisemitism experts claimed that Mandela’s address was antisemitic because he (together with the SA BDS Coalition) singled Jews out of all ethnic groups as not having the right to live in a state (Israel) in which they could exercise national, political and cultural supremacy.

These experts as reported in the SAJR produced not a shred of evidence to substantiate their claim.

Instead they based their claim on their making of “Israel” equivalent to “Jew”, a code that they assumed is an immutable structure of meaning and which they apply universally. However, as I have argued in earlier articles on the meaning of being Jewish and the meaning of antisemitism, there is no universal semantic system that defines the signs and signification through which these terms are given meaning.

Instead, I argued in the earlier pages of this article, there are contradictory semantic fields within the context of which multiple and contradictory linguistic codes function as the structures and anecdotes that form the logic and meaning of sometimes conflicting and sometimes reinforcing ideologies. In deconstructing Zionist discourse and language to signs and their signification I have deepened the analysis of Zionist ideology as a specific narrative in the context of a counter narrative, in a process that can be termed ideological struggle. This article forms part of a counter hegemonic ideological struggle.

It was also necessary for me to demonstrate the likely scientific truth about Mandela’s alleged antisemitic cannard, namely his calling out the Israeli state regime as a crime against humanity. The significations of scientific discourse is their coding as “propositional statements” = “truth value”. Truth value is verified both ratio-conceptually as well as empirically.

Thus in a scientific semantic field claims need to be conceptually clarified as does empirical evidence that then needs to be weighed up to verify the claims made.

At the time a reasonable probability existed that certain statements by Mandela about Israel and its practices were true. This probability underlines the claim that Mandela said what he said in good faith, rather than revealing “his own antisemitism” (to quote Feinberg, the SAJR reporter). This remains the case even if some of Mandela’s claims can be shown to be either false or only partially true.

I referred to three pieces of international human rights law as well as five independent, substantive reports[19] that concluded the apartheid nature of the Israeli state regime, which establishes an objectively verifiable meaning to the term Israeli apartheid. There is no evidence to substantiate the claim that Mandela and the SA BDS Coalition singled out Jews only as a social group whose political, language, cultural and historical rights should be denied. I pointed to the fact that there are thousands of other ethnic/language/cultural groups who do not exercise hegemonic political and national supremacy in a self-defined state. In fact, I observed that to argue that each such group has this right would be a fool’s crusade and a recipe for endless conflict and wars.

In addition, one of the Zionist antisemitism experts, Shain, opined that Mandela’s description of the Israeli practices towards African states as underhand, untransparent, manipulative and buying influence, was a code for the notorious antisemitic tract the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. In the next, soon-to-be-published, article I will assess Shain’s claim against the evidence of practices by officials and representatives of the state of Israel and Israeli weapons and arms and security services companies and entrepreneurs in 15 African states, stretching over the past 60 years.

[1] A trope is a form of expression (such as a simile or metaphor) used to convey meaning or heighten effect often by comparing or identifying one thing with another that has a meaning or connotation familiar to the reader or listener.

[2] A future article will examine the charges of antisemitism in and around the Clover strike.

[3] Presumably Mandela’s but as will be shown later this is an ontological hatred that has little to do with individual intent.

[4] A future article will explore this event and its issues in greater detail.

[5] Although these were not Mandela’s exact words Bauer is making explicit that to dismantle what for him is the so-called Israeli apartheid state, would end Jewish political supremacy in the land between the river and the sea.

[6] This notion of antisemitism in effect if not in intent has been used often and consistently since its first uttering in 2002. Shain, one of the antisemitism experts referred to earlier, referred to an article I wrote in 2010 as antisemitic in effect if not in intent.

[7] According to which Jews caught and killed Christian children on Passover in order to drain their blood for Passover ceremonies.

[8] Umberto Eco, A Theory of Semiotics, Indiana University Press, 1978, Pages 7–9.

[9] Furthermore, concrete acts of communication between a sender and an addressee perforce involve or are driven by the intentions of these parties, meaning that to separate effect from intent is to abstract from real communication processes.

[10] Cf. Thoughtco.

[11] Eco, op. cit, 1978, Pages 79–84; 145.

[12] Eco takes the premise “in an affluent society every poor man has the opportunity to become rich”. One response to this could be to present Rich versus Poor as a relation of extremes that requires public intervention to achieve the claim of the premise. Another could present Rich and Poor as the outcome of natural hereditary boundaries of the human condition, and therefore that there are ontological limits to the practical achievement of the premise.

[13] In two previous article of this series I clarified the Zionist definition of antisemitism and also provided a critique thereof. Antisemitic ideology of the late-19th and twentieth centuries both helped to create and also reinforced this code: Zionist and antisemitic ideology have in common that “the Jew” is identified as an eternally lost soul that roams the earth, unassimilable into existing gentile-dominant societies, and unable to set down roots and live a “normal life” in any country other than Israel.

[14] Hyman Lumer (ed), Lenin on the Jewish Question, International Publishers, New York, 1974.

[15] Lumer, op. cit, page 122.

[16] Presumably to ensure the survival and continuity of national languages like Hebrew, Yiddish, etc.

[17] Lumer, op. cit, page 133. On this point there is resonance with school segregation in the United States during the civil rights struggle of the 1960s as well as de facto segregated schooling systems in post-apartheid South Africa. The latter arises from local communities that are economically and geographically segmented having relative autonomy over the resources available for schooling in their areas, which results in a hierarchy of schooling educational processes and institutions defined ideologically, economically and politically. While this is tangential to the principal theme of this article I mention it because it exemplifies the deep-seated and complex nature of national and cultural identity. Several protests in and around certain South African schools demonstrate that the South African nation, invented through the anti-apartheid struggle and the democratic transition of 1994, has fault points along which it could further fragment.

[18] The reports’ conclusion about Israeli apartheid are referents for key sets of words in the anti-Zionist semantic field. These words are contained in propositions that include historically hundreds of thousands of Gentiles (Palestinians) who had been living on the land, being relocated to enable a Jewish demographic majority, the perpetuation of the refugee status of these people over more than 70 years, the denial of national rights to those who remained as citizens of Israel, the economic exploitation and marginalisation of all these non-nationals (in both Israel behind the 1949 armistice lines and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories [OPTs]) and the violent and bloody repression of the resistance of some and all of these Palestinians in their struggle to assert their human rights.

Paul Hendler

I was born in 1951 and grew up in South Africa. I was interpellated as a white, Jewish male in an apartheid society. I write about ideological struggle

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