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November 29, 2017 7:33 pm

Ethiopian-Israeli MK Slams Nelson Mandela’s Grandson Over ‘Apartheid’ Accusations

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

MK Avraham Neguise. Photo: Uri Prandnik via Wikimedia Commons

In a remarkable open letter, Ethiopian-Jewish Knesset Member Dr. Avraham Neguise eloquently refuted anti-Israel claims made by Nelson Mandela’s grandson Mandla during his recent visit to the Palestinian territories.

Mandla Mandela used strong rhetoric against Israel during his trip, calling it the “worst apartheid regime.”

In response, MK Neguise, who is Chairman of the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, and the Knesset Caucus for Relations Between Israel and African Countries, penned an open letter to Mandela published in the Times of Israel, saying that Mandela’s grandfather “was a man who always listened, even to his opponents, and fought hard for dialogue and understanding. It appears that you have not inherited these vital qualities.”

During his trip, Neguise said, Mandela “became a tool in a hate campaign, a campaign that seeks to suppress the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in our historic, ancestral and indigenous homeland.”

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Criticizing Mandela for not visiting Israel during his visit, Neguise noted, “If you had, you would have found that Israel is actually the opposite of apartheid; it is a story of liberation, emancipation and anti-colonization. You would have heard how a people exiled and enslaved two thousand years ago were scattered to the four corners of the earth and subjected to humiliation, oppression, slavery, dhimmitude and even attempted annihilation,” yet struggled until they achieved renewed sovereignty in their ancestral homeland.

Regarding the apartheid accusation, Neguise insisted, “Comparing Israel, a nation that took in more refugees per capita than any nation in history, and where people of any religion, ethnicity and background can reach every level of office, to apartheid, dishonors your grandfather’s legacy.”

Noting that the apartheid regime created a hierarchical society based solely on skin color, with total segregation of peoples according to race, Neguise said, “I would like to know where any of this exists in Israel, because if it did, I would be the first to stand against such injustice.”

Instead, he pointed out, “You probably know that there are no such limitations in Israel. The facts are that there are fifteen Arab Members of Knesset, four from the Druze community, including a government minister, and countless more who came from Africa, including myself, and I am honored to be the Chairman of a Knesset Committee. There is an Arab Supreme Court Justice, Salim Joubran, who sent a former Israeli prime minister to jail. Any minority can run for president and prime minister, and all Israelis have exactly the same rights and freedoms embedded in our quasi-constitutional Basic Laws.”

Neguise concluded by inviting Mandela to visit Israel “to see for yourself how hopelessly far reality really is from the image you are perpetrating.”

Nelson Mandela, he stated, “left this door open to you. You can ignore it and remain divisive, belligerent and anti-Semitic, or you can walk through that door to embrace understanding and dialogue. … My door remains open to you should you wish to follow your grandfather’s example.”

Mandla Mandela is a leader of the BDS movement in South Africa. He converted to Islam in 2016 to some domestic controversy.

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