Friday, May 28, 2010

South African Documents

I've been having less and less time for blogging, as you may have noticed, and decided not to get into the story of the new book about Israeli-South African collaboration in the 1970s. I haven't read the book, I have no doubt that particular chapter of Israel's history is not its most glorious, I doubt Israel was less cynical than France, the UK or the USA, and I'm not convinced today's critics come to the discussion with clean hands. Realpolitik is often an ugly thing to observe, but one of the finest things about Zionism is that it enabled the Jews to engage in it as a nation, rather than be shoved around by others with realpolitik reasons not to come to our aid. That's what having power means, and it's definitely better to have it than not to have it. Ask the Darfuri.

The folks at CiFWatch however have been working hard on the matter, as you can see here, here and here, and apparently with more to come. I like the way they're going at it: by carefully and precisely reading the documents. When I was younger I once wrote a doctoral thesis, which contained an entire chapter about the art of figuring out what documents really say, not what folks carelessly say they say; it was eventually published in one of those books over on the left of the blog. A careful reading of documents, it turns out, often results with a different understanding than a careless one.


Anonymous said...

Is that chapter, or that thesis, online somewhere?

Anonymous said...

I'd look for it in here
Yaacov said this book came out of his thesis

Gavin said...

What interests me is this story has been doing the rounds a few years now, and some of the research I've read has revealed that the source of it appears to be just that one journalist McGreal. Books don't get much coverage, needs the media to spread the claims to the masses, and McGreal appears to be the originator of all the news on the subject going back a good number of years. He prints something, the rest of the media pick it up & spread it around.

It goes to show what happens when you get rogue journalists working for media that have an international news feed. Only takes one.

Cheers, Gavin.

Barry Meislin said...

...not what folks carelessly say they say.... A careful reading...

Unless I am missing your sarcasm (which would very much be in place), you appear err in believing that such people are being "careless".

They are anything but "careless." They know, with "passionate intensity" exactly what they are doing.

And you can be sure that they will continue on their "righteous" path.

Morey Altman said...

It's not exactly a new story, of course. The Israeli-South African 'marriage of convenience' has been debated for years, although these newly disclosed documents are fascinating.

Not surprisingly, I've also written a backgrounder on the story, and tomorrow I'll post some comments on the documents themselves: