Interesting to read about reactions to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s death.
Most of the media, including, sadly, the BBC falling over themselves to give Israel’s enemies plenty of opportunity to condemn him.
Neither the leaders of USA nor the UK attending his funeral, sending instead the Vice President and a former Prime Minister respectively.
Compare that with the total absence of any hint of criticism of Mandela in the media in the first weeks after his death. One or two negative reports surfacing after two weeks or so but given no prominence.
The President of the USA and the British Prime Minister neglecting the running of their own countries for days so that they could be seen and photographed at services for Mandela. (Including being photographed taking their own pictures)
South Africa is now ruled by a communist oriented and corrupt party that was previously labelled a terrorist organisation by the USA. It’s currency has devalued from being worth more than a US dollar to 9 cents today under an ANC government.
Except for a small minority of the politically well-connected, conditions for most South Africans are worse than they were 20 years ago under the “old” South African government.
Crime rates are atrocious, businesses are suffering, the mining sector, the former backbone of the economy with more labour unrest than ever.
South Africa while still enjoying the remnants of what was once the most formidable military power on the continent, is not a major international player.
Israel is – with the chaos in Egypt – the West’s only major ally in the Middle East.
With the demise of the former USSR and with no overt signs of either the new Russia or China desiring to control the shipping lanes around the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa is of far less strategic importance to the West than Israel.
If South Africa was a more important trading partner, we could perhaps understand this preferential treatment.
That is not the case;
Trade with USA January to November 2013
Israel $12.5 bn $$20.6 bn
South Africa $6.8 bn $7.8 bn
Source : United States Census Bureau
The statistics show the reverse to be true. In the first 11 months of 2013, Israel was twice as big an export market as South Africa for the USA and provided three times the imports.
That pattern has been similar for the last 5 years.
The entire trade between the USA and sub-Saharan Africa is less than double that with Israel alone and for the entire continent less than three times the figure for Israel.
If there are no economic or strategic arguments for two of the major Western nations favouring South Africa over Israel, what are the real reasons?
The existing perceived and actual support of Israel by the West is an irritant to some of the more important Arab and other Islamic states, however this irritant is already a fact of life and unlikely to be increased by reaction to the death of a former Israeli leader.
Iran now appears to have found some common sense as a result of sanctions (and perhaps concern that Israel might act unilaterally to remove the nuclear threat).
Perhaps the real reason is appeasement, as part of foreign policy to keep the third world rabble at the UN quiet and to do the same with the pro-Palestinian liberal left domestically.
It’s a sad day when former terrorists and a relatively insignificant country are accorded more respect than allies and leaders of major trading partners.