Letters to the editor: November 14 to 20 2014

Rafah in ruins: Egypt is razing homes on its Gaza Strip border to try to crush a militant insurgency in Sinai. (Reuters)

Rafah in ruins: Egypt is razing homes on its Gaza Strip border to try to crush a militant insurgency in Sinai. (Reuters)

Numsa expulsion part of Zuma’s plot

  Those leaders who want to steal with impunity are clapping their hands about the expulsion of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) from trade union federation Cosatu. Numsa is a threat to their “eating in our lifetime”.

When President Jacob Zuma succeeded Thabo Mbeki, many workers had high hopes that he, supported by Kgalema Motlanthe and Gwede Mantashe, would champion the interests of the poor and working class. The first things Zuma did were to disempower his deputy (Motlanthe), weaken the ANC Youth League, dish out patronage and expel those who were loyal to Mbeki and Motlanthe.

For tribal and regional reasons, Zuma co-opted Cosatu leader Sdumo Dlamini, pitting him against Zwelinzima Vavi.

In his plan, Zuma wants Cosatu to campaign for his former wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to succeed him as president.

  Let us defend the legacy of Elijah Barayi and Jay Naidoo – the militant Cosatu.
After Numsa and Vavi, who’s next? – Timothy Changwe

Trip to Israel was fixed

  Dr Christi van der Westhuizen wrote about the visit by a “civil society” delegation to Israel and the occupied West Bank (Peace process as cover for occupation), but the Mail & Guardian failed to mention that each delegate has a well-documented record of anti-Israel bias and their visit had a predetermined outcome.

Among the many bizarre statements she makes, Van der Westhuizen highlights the 517 Palestinian homes demolished in East Jerusalem over the past decade. But just last week Egypt demolished hundreds of homes along its border with Gaza – in one day – rendering about 10 000 homeless. Van der Westhuizen ignores that.

Some might ask why her group limited their visit to Israel and the West Bank. Surely, as concerned humanitarians, they would have seen fit to visit a wider range of places where human rights violations are taking place on an unprecedented scale.

Van der Westhuizen says Palestinians are being “pushed into a condition of humanitarian emergency”. It is indeed a “humanitarian emergency” when their life expectancy is the highest in the entire Arab world and their infant mortality the lowest. The Palestinians in Syria and Lebanon would accept this “humanitarian emergency” in a heartbeat and welcome living in the “prison” Van der Westhuizen so eloquently describes.

  Is it about the Palestinians, or is there another agenda hiding behind the Palestinian issue? The occupation and the Palestinian suffering at the hands of Israel is one of the most successful industries in the region, with a cash flow of billions of dollars feeding the greed of the leadership of the West Bank.  – Allan Wolman, Johannesburg

• It is truly refreshing to read some real perspective on Israel’s occupation of Palestine and how ruthless and uncaring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is, continuing with settlements on Palestinian land despite world disapproval.

  Few newspapers in this country publish anything hostile to Israel. A while back, Business Day carried a letter from someone who had recently returned from Israel: she painted a picture of nonracialism, where “black and white walk hand in hand on the streets”.

  Her version was a perversion of the truth. On May 29 2012, as reported in the Economist, Netanyahu said he was adding African “infiltrators” to his list of threats to the Jewish homeland.

Israeli demonstrators attacked African migrants in Tel Aviv in protest against refugees and asylum seekers. Miri Regev, an Israeli MP, told an angry Israeli crowd that “the Sudanese are a cancer in our body”. A car carrying Africans was attacked and shops serving refugees were looted.

  “African infiltrators are threatening the identity of the Jewish state,” said Netanyahu. “Israel belongs to the white man,” declared Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai, as quoted in Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper that also reported that Israel had introduced a law to detain immigrants for up to three years without trial. The Times of Israel reported that the prime minister’s office plans to introduce DNA testing to ensure that no non-Jews from Russia (and elsewhere) enter the country.

Israel’s largest theme park segregates Jews and Arabs.

  The list of Israeli’s racist laws and attitudes would fill a book, so why are newspapers scared to criticise that country? The M&G should continue to expose the truth and show up these racist hypocrites. – SJ Oosthuizen, Roodepoort

Keene-Young is shedding crocodile tears

So, under Bronwyn Keene-Young, then chief operating officer, e.tv broadcast a “tame documentary” on Jacob Zuma and other programming aimed at winning over government (The day Golding spun for Zuma). In an earlier report, e.tv acknowledged that money was involved in a controversial infrastructure series punting the ANC (Multichoice, e.tv and ‘dick-sucking’).

In the early 1990s, Keene-Young, then a very junior researcher with Wits University’s Campaign for Open Media, wrote uninformed, scathing articles about the SABC news department. In those critical days of change in South Africa, she suggested that the SABC was still anti-ANC and remained a mouthpiece of the white government. The SABC rightly disputed her claims at the time, saying it had thrown off its former tag, changed dramatically and was enjoying the journalistic honeymoon sweeping the country.

Yet Keene-Young stressed that the media should not be state pawns.

  Now, if the Mail & Guardian reports are correct, it seems that during Keene-Young’s climb up the ladder she adopted the pro-government line she accused the old SABC of. She embraced values that are not exactly journalistic. It seems she knew only too well which side her bread was buttered, and was happy to accommodate programming that served her political masters. She can’t cry now. – Hayman Quinton

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