A Mandela Moment in Jerusalem

jerusalemThe death of Nelson Mandela at 95 provided pundits of the world with the opportunity to ponder the legacy of the South African leader of the campaign against Apartheid.

Very few people on earth earn their legacy in their lifetime.

It would seem that almost as soon as Nelson Mandela emerged from prison and was catapulted into a post Apartheid South African presidency, there were those who adapted Mandela’s gospel of peace and reconciliation to resolve other wars in the world.

And so it was in Jerusalem.

In 1994, in the early stages of the Middle East Oslo negotiation process, optimism and wishful thinking dominated the Jerusalem landscape.

Delegations descended on a land torn with war, wanting to hear messages of peace.

The newly formed Mandela Institute, named for the legacy of Nelson Mandela, was one one of those delegations that held a press conference across from my office at the Beit Agron Press Center in Jerusalem.

These former anti-apartheid activists had arrived on a mission: to teach both sides of the Middle East conflict how to live and respect the other in a time of peace.

That was their message in South Africa, where they repeated their theme in Jerusalem, quoting Abe Lincoln in the last days of the American Civil War: “With malice toward none, with charity for all.”

The Mandela Institute Jerusalem press conference was packed.

Civil liberties groups mixed with religious and non-religious Jews who came there to hear and cheer the upbeat message of the Mandela Institute. The Black and White spokespeople appealed to receptive ears of the Israeli audience to “see the humanity in the Arab who was your enemy” ever so recently.

The Mandela people made it clear that this was the process that they were going through in South Africa, to break down walls between Blacks and Whites, after Apartheid.

I am only sorry that I do not find my notes from almost 20 years ago, so I cannot recite the names of the articulate spokespeople who expressed themselves so eloquently.

In the final moment of the Jerusalem press conference, the Mandela convener announced that they were taking a bus to Ramallah, to deliver the same message of peace, reconciliation, and understanding to the other side.

The Mandela Institute delegation announced they would hold a follow up press conference, two days hence, when they would return from Ramallah.

However, the follow up press conference never happened.

The Mandela people did return to Jerusalem, however, but they were not too interested in talking to the press about what happened.

Later at the American Colony Hotel in East Jerusalem, they did not hesitate to say what had happened. PLO chieftain Yasser Arafat had made the arrangement for a modest town meeting for the Mandela Institute. But when the Mandela devotees made their appeal for peace, recognition and understanding of Israelis, they were booed and jeered, and when they tried to deliver that message in an Arab school, the students chanted in unison that “the war is not over: we want the right of return!!”

The Mandela Institute had hit a raw nerve. And, as one delegation member described the scene, the Arabs pushed them back on the bus, yelling at them never to come back.

Twenty years have passed. The tenacity of the Arabs who run the Palestinian Authority under the premise and promise of the right of return, convey their daily message that the war against Israel is not over…while the vast majority of Israelis still ascribe to some hope of  peace in the future, however unrealistic it is.

The sequel to the story is that the Mandela Institute reconstituted itself as a permanent fixture in Ramallah, as an agency concerned for Arab convicts who sit in Israeli jails. The Mandela Institute no longer preaches respect and reconciliation of the other.

So much for a fleeting Mandela moment in Jerusalem.

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  • Texas Patriot

    At this point there can be only one response to further aggression by the Palestinians. Overwhelming defensive counterattack, forfeiture of additional lands, and expulsion of the aggressors from the forfeited lands.

    • PhillipGaley

      Well gosh, yes, . . . in the Conference at San Remo (1920) they lost out to the time honored: “To the victor belong the spoils.”; and again, in 1948 when the Egyptians told the Gaza Arabs to leave their holdings, that, in but a few days, they would have all again—and much more beside—when in just a matter of days, the Israelis would then have been pushed into the sea; they lost in succeeding conflicts—in wisdom, just how many bites at the apple can be thought to make sense?

      • StanleyT

        Actually no, the Arabs most certainly did not lose out at San Remo. They were given Mesopotamia (Iraq), Syria and Lebanon. Later, they were also given 75% of Palestine, which was renamed Jordan. The notion that the Jews were given an unfair proportion of the land is simply untrue. Unless, of course, you’re an Arab, in which case even one square inch of land going to Jews would be considered unjust.

        • PhillipGaley

          You’re confusing yourself; for, whatever one may get from actualization of: “To the victor belong the spoils.”, in being in the subservient position was the sense in which “they lost out to the time . . . .”, was used.

          But however that was, from their reduced status in the Ottoman domination, under the San Remo determinations, the status of those Arabs was given recognition in law.

          And, they might have done well in Jordan, except for the PLO and Yasser Arafat attempting to assassinate the Jordanian king.

          Certain observers in the 19th century left remark upon the desolate and un-lived-in status of the land extending from the sea to Jordan.

          And so far as fairness in what Israel got, international boundaries are determined by what one people are able to hold against any other, . . . at sword point, . . . as yet to be more fully determined by Israel. And if going by simple odds analysis, for the six Israeli military conflicts to date, . . . I’m going to put my money on Israel, . . . how about you?

          • Drakken

            Israel has been far to nice to the pali savages, they should without any doubt tell the rag heads one more act of aggression towards Israel, we return the favor with a Shermans March to the sea and tell allah the Israeli’s sent them with their compliments. Hey If ole King Hussein can eliminate over 20,000 PLO folks in a week and nobody says boo about that, why can’t Israel give them a taste of Carthage?

          • PhillipGaley

            . . . . far too nice; but then, too, whatever king Hussein did, or any other leaders do, Israel will be damned if in attaching moral equivalence, it takes those crude fools as any kind of positive example or standard, . . .

          • objectivefactsmatter

            Hussein could have claimed to be waging legitimate jihad. Israel can’t. The OIC view is practically all that matters these days.

            But you knew that already.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        Do over! Hit the reset button!

        • PhillipGaley

          How about this: type in a sufficient number of words so that, it at least looks like you tried to get out of your own small world and make some sense, . . .

          • objectivefactsmatter

            It’s sarcasm

          • PhillipGaley

            Humor on the net is a difficult task, . . . you must needs keep things better connected, . . .

          • objectivefactsmatter

            MMm, perhaps difficult. But I don’t like to make it obvious to the point of being boring. That defeats the purpose for me.


            “…in wisdom, just how many bites at the apple can be thought to make sense?”

            They’ve been handing out these little reset buttons to the “Palestinians” for ages now.

  • Edward smith

    Yeah because it’s much better to just keep the palestinians trapped in cages like animals. Am I right haters?

    • BenZacharia

      Re-settlement on all the lands stolen from the Jews, when 800,000 where stripped of all of their possessions and deported from m o o s e l i m b lands. BTW notify your local AmerInd association and sign over you land.

      • Edward smith

        The jews stole the land from the canaanites. How’s about you have god show me the deed.

        • PhillipGaley

          Spoiling in war is not stealing (And for clarity in definition, stealing is covert activity.), but conquest. The deeds are written in conquest, . . . maybe sign up for some book-larnin’, . . . simpleton, . . .

          • Edward smith

            Why don’t they go back to ’67 borders then?

          • PhillipGaley

            ‘” 67 borders” is a mere arbitrary designation, but which the Leftists love to hold up and parade around, like a cat with a mouse, . . .

          • PhillipGaley

            “Y’oughter dance with them thet brung ya’.”

            Spiritually dead though you be, too bad you don’t have the common sense to turn from the Moslems—dead batteries in every nation and dirty neighborhood, the world round—and accept the Israelis for their very works sake, blessing the world, as they have, with an amazing number of pages and patents which make life here easier and longer, . . .

        • UCSPanther

          The Normans stole England from the Anglo-Saxons in the 11th century. What’s the difference?

          • Edward smith

            hundreds of years. That’s the difference. israel is an apartheid state

          • UCSPanther

            So was Norman England. What’s your point?

          • Edward smith

            This is stupid. This is like saying “Genghis khan killed a bunch of people” “Why can’t I?”

          • UCSPanther

            Your apartheid argument is stupid. My Anglo-Saxon ancestors should sue my Norman ancestors for mistreatment and theft of their property.

          • PhillipGaley

            If–with all the civil rights and access to hospitals and so forth–Israel is an apartheid state, what indeed would be your label for those Moslem nations surrounding who, not only allow no civil rights to foreign born and alien religion, but are persecutorial in the extreeme?

          • Edward smith

            israel is an apartheid state and in five years it will be even worse. There are 3 million palestinians that have no rights, no freedoms, nothing. This is wrong. It’s 2013. The soviet union is gone, the south african apartheid is gone. The next regime to fall is this one in palestine.

          • UCSPanther

            And look what is happening in South Africa right now: Sky-high crime rates, especially with both rape and murder, crumbling economy, and having the cards set for a descent into third-world status.

            I can say that they are going to be much worse off than under the old Apartheid laws. Zimbabwe is South Africa’s future.

          • PhillipGaley

            Of course their rights can be limited—not as much though as if they were living in any nearby Moslem nation—and almost upon the same reasoning which tells why, when the parent drives the car over the cliff, the children also, must die.

          • PhillipGaley

            “The next regime to fall is this one in palestine.”?

            That’s comical, . . . do you have anything at all, showing odds which anyone of whole mind might bet on?

          • Drakken

            Well go there and tell those mean naughty Israeli’s how wrong they are? I’ll go get a drink and watch as Darwin gets his due right along with the devil, and good riddance.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “hundreds of years. That’s the difference.”

            What’s the significant difference?

            “israel is an apartheid state”

            All states want to be “apart” from their enemies. If Israel is an “apartheid” state, then any state without unregulated borders is also an “apartheid state.”

            Why fixate on Israel? Don’t bother. I know the answer.

          • PhillipGaley

            All you need to do is, keep repeating: ” israel is an apartheid state”, . . . that will make it so.

          • PhillipGaley

            The Normans did not steal England: conquest is not theft, rather is it a part of the time-honored process of progress as shown in the history of such occurrences, . . .

          • Drakken

            Hey! I want my lands and estates in East Prussia back dang namit! And I want them back now! Free East Prussia! LOL Do you think I’ll get them back?

          • PhillipGaley

            You would have to TAKE them, . . . probably at gun-point, . . . somehow, . . . I get the idea that, you’re not going to do that, . . .

          • UCSPanther

            I’m using that troll’s arguments against him.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            That’s right. Theft might come later, but fighting over sovereignty is not theft. Theft also implies taking something unjustly. So the jihadis actually have nothing to gripe about unless they don’t mind lying. Oh, I see the problem now…

          • PhillipGaley

            Theft is a matter which is perpetrated by, and is of concern to individuals. Theft is a thing done in stealth. Not injustice but, wrongfulness is inherent to the deed.

        • PhillipGaley

          No one “stole” the land of Canaan, rather was take-over done in conquest of a people who, in long continuance of time and activity shown that, they had little or nothing to contribute to the race of man for an evolving standard of decency, . . . y’need some serious book-larnin’, . . .

          • Edward smith

            The Canaanites were there first. Why don’t the Canaanites go to “israel”, say that they want the land back because they were there first. and start kicking out and terrorize all the “israelis” that choose to stay there. Just do exactly what the “israelis” did to the palestinians after WW2.

          • PhillipGaley

            The Canaanites are free to do that. And if so—estimating by G0D’s support of Israel in military conflict thus far—they would be crushed, conquest would again be affirmed, and, as is sometimes spoken for such, that would be that.

            But of course, we need not wait for the Canaanites; for, Egypt, and Syria, and Jordan, and probably Russia and who knows will else, will attempt that very thing, and estimating the odds of G0D’s support of Israel in military conflict thus far, Israel will be taken care of, and as per the prophecy, those other nations will be wrecked, . . .

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “The Canaanites were there first. Why don’t the Canaanites go to “israel”, say that they want the land back because they were there first.”

            They need to organize a movement and then petition the sovereign, as the Israeli modern founders did.

            “and start kicking out and terrorize all the “israelis” that choose to stay there.”

            Why would they do that? That’s no way to build legitimacy. They’d probably lose unless you’re rewriting all of history and then we can’t possibly know what you’d imagine. But have fun with your delusions.

            “Just do exactly what the “israelis” did to the palestinians after WW2.”

            You’re irrational and unbalanced partisan. The “Palestinians” brought that $hit on themselves. All of it.

        • Roland

          a} the Canaanites were not Muslims since the Great Deflowerer wasn’t born until the 9th century, and, b} the Hebrews settled on vacant lands alongside the Canaanites as the area was sparsely settled at the time. No need for Muslim style :” your land is my land now.”

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “Yeah because it’s much better to just keep the palestinians trapped in cages like animals. Am I right haters?”

      Who put them in cages dipshirt?

    • PhillipGaley

      Okay, so, . . . tell us, if a parent drives his car over a cliff say, or into a lake, why the children also, must die, . . .

    • iluvisrael

      that’s an insult to animals

    • Drakken

      I would much prefer we get this over and done with because there will never ever be peace with these sub human Islamic savages, killem all and let allah sortem out, it would be a great message to the next group of muslim savages.

  • Lanna

    Those of us who understand the PLO and Hamas could have predicted this response. They aren’t rational, they only want to destroy Israel, no matter what it takes, their hatred outweighs their ability to be able to look at any situation like a normal person would think. Rationalize, and bridge the gap. At least Mandela did some positive things to get people to work together and bridge gaps…His early years were communistic, but he too found out, it does not Work! Actions speak louder than words!

    • IzzyKiddnya

      Or, (just maybe) the PLO and Hamas are simply people who want to move back into their family homes?