But then he stumbled badly.
He slipped into the trap of mischaracterizing many of the world’s bad guys as freedom fighters akin to himself. He befriended, embraced and allied with Fidel Castro, Muammar Gaddafi, Yasser Arafat, Ayatollah Khomeini and his successor Ali Khamenei. He viewed these oppressors as liberators. Outside of his country, he approved of violence as means for achieving independence from the “bigoted minority rule” over the “sizeable oppressed majority”. He failed to see that those “liberators” failed to free the “oppressed majority”, but rather subjected their own people to a different and even worse form of tyranny and suppression.
Outside of his own country, he was not the same Nelson Mandela who had transformed South Africa from an Apartheid state to a true democracy by means of an olive branch and reconciliation. Outside of his own country he approved of violent resistance to what he considered to be either an imperialistic foreign element, or corrupt elite in control of the suffering masses. So was the case in Cuba, in Libya, in Iran, and in Palestine.
Nelson Mandela deemed the Palestinian propaganda as truth. He referred to Israel as a “Terrorist State”; he made known to the Palestinians that they were his “Comrades in Arms” and supported their struggle for the liberation of Palestine. He repeated Palestinian blood libels and false propaganda claiming that Israel was slaughtering defenseless, innocent Palestinians. He likened Israel to an Apartheid State, implying that Yasser Arafat was a Palestinian Mandela and that his South African countrymen were ready and willing to fight with the Palestinians against the racist Zionists. He viewed Zionism as an imperialistic movement, the objective of which was to seize Palestinian territory and subjugate the true owners of the land.
He was not speaking the truth. He was repeating lies and propaganda that he wanted to believe in. His hostility towards the state of Israel did not end there. He let it spill over and cover the rest of the Jews as well. When Iran tried 13 Jews for espionage in the year 2000, Mandela claimed that these Jews “received a fair trial”—as if anyone can receive a fair trial under the Ayatollah’s oppressive system. He dismissed South African Jews’ likely concerns regarding his stand on Israel. He let it be known that he cared less about their feelings.
But the worst part of all was the fact that Nelson Mandela was a George Washington of South Africa. He was the first leader of the new true Democracy. He set examples and established paradigms for others to follow. And although the examples he set and the path he outline internally was great and pure, the roadmap he delineated outside of his country and the especially the one concerning Israel and Jews was filled with anti-Semitism flavor. Desmond Tutu, the influential South African Leader, and his anti-Semitic views are a perfect specimen to that fact.
Sorry world, but I can’t bring myself to the same outpouring feeling and extolling eulogies I have been reading, watching and listening to in every news medium I have tuned to. I just can’t.