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Nelson Mandela, Israel: 6 Quotes Illustrate Rocky Relationship

Image: Nelson Mandela, Israel: 6 Quotes Illustrate Rocky Relationship
I this 2000 file photo, former South African President Nelson Mandela. (Patrice Lapoirie/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 15 Sep 2014 11:13 AM

Former South African president Nelson Mandela had a rocky relationship with Israel. While the global peacemaker respected Jews and recognized Israel’s right to statehood, Mandela also was loyal to Palestinians and troubled by Israel’s support of the South African apartheid, which he worked to end. Here are six quotes that illustrate Mandela’s complicated relationship with Israel.

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Mandela expressed his support of Palestinians during a 1997 speech in Pretoria for International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

• "When in 1977, the United Nations passed the resolution inaugurating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, it was asserting the recognition that injustice and gross human rights violations were being perpetrated in Palestine. In the same period, the UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians; without the resolution of conflicts in East Timor, the Sudan and other parts of the world."

• "These Palestinian and Israeli campaigners for peace know that security for any nation is not abstract; neither is it exclusive. It depends on the security of others; it depends on mutual respect and trust. Indeed, these soldiers of peace know that their destiny is bound together, and that none can be at peace while others wallow in poverty and insecurity."

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Mandela laid out his position on Israeli occupation of the West Bank during a 1999 trip to Israel.

• "Israel should withdraw from all the areas which it won from the Arabs in 1967, and in particular Israel should withdraw completely from the Golan Heights, from south Lebanon and from the West Bank."

• "I cannot conceive of Israel withdrawing if Arab states do not recognize Israel within secure borders."

• “To the many people who have questioned why I came, I say: Israel worked very closely with the apartheid regime. I say: I’ve made peace with many men who slaughtered our people like animals. Israel cooperated with the apartheid regime, but it did not participate in any atrocities. … My view is that talk of peace remains hollow if Israel continues to occupy Arab lands.”

Mandela illustrated his respect for Jews in his 1994 autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom.”

• “I have found Jews to be more broad-minded than most whites on issues of race and politics, perhaps because they themselves have historically been victims of prejudice.”

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Former South African president Nelson Mandela had a rocky relationship with Israel. While the global peacemaker respected Jews and recognized Israel’s right to statehood, Mandela also was loyal to Palestinians and troubled by Israel’s support of the South African apartheid, which he worked to end.
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2014-13-15
Monday, 15 Sep 2014 11:13 AM
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