In a exceptional interview this week, the previous Greek finance minister and founding father of DiEM25 sought to current the slaughter of tons of of Israeli civilians because the inevitable final result of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians. He claimed that Israel has lengthy imposed a South African-style ‘apartheid’ regime on the Palestinians. He mentioned that Hamas has been compelled to take up arms to overthrow the oppressors, simply as UMkhonto we Sizwe (the Spear of the Nation), the previous armed wing of the African Nationwide Congress (ANC), needed to in South Africa. Whereas he admitted that many harmless individuals had been killed on Saturday, he argued that, simply because the left didn’t condemn the ANC when it fought again in opposition to South African Apartheid, it shouldn’t condemn Hamas for preventing again in opposition to Israeli ‘apartheid’.

This can be a grotesque distortion of occasions previous and current. It distorts the reality concerning the South African wrestle in opposition to Apartheid. And it distorts the reality about Hamas, by portraying it as a national-liberation motion.

The ANC’s Umkhonto we Sizwe was fashioned in 1961 beneath Nelson Mandela. It was a political initiative to attempt to deliver the Apartheid regime to the negotiating desk, moderately than a severe try and overthrow it by power. The Apartheid regime’s ruthless intransigence had successfully compelled the average, black middle-class leaders of the ANC to reluctantly arm themselves.

The Sharpeville Bloodbath on 21 March 1960 was the turning level. South African safety forces ruthlessly gunned down black individuals peacefully protesting in opposition to the imposition of the infamous ‘go legal guidelines’ (a racially discriminatory internal-passport system). They left 69 individuals lifeless and 180 injured. After Sharpeville, the black plenty demanded greater than the passive resistance the ANC had been advocating for the reason that Nineteen Fifties. And so the ANC fashioned Umkhonto we Sizwe. In some ways, it was extra of a propaganda train, geared toward placating the black plenty, than a severe try and overthrow Apartheid.

The ANC’s use of violence, particularly after Sharpeville, was undoubtedly justified. The bombing of {an electrical} substation on 16 December 1961 and related actions shook the regime. However the final result was not negotiations, because the ANC had hoped for, however additional ruthless oppression. In July 1963, the ANC’s management, together with Mandela, had been all arrested. They had been subsequently discovered responsible of 221 militant acts designed to ‘foment violent revolution’ and got life phrases.

What’s necessary to notice about this second is that the black plenty at all times noticed their perfunctory armed wrestle as part of a broader political wrestle for freedom and equality. It was by no means about violence for the sake of violence. Sure, some political actions annoyed by the ANC’s moderation, just like the Pan Africanist Congress and later the Black Consciousness Motion, tried to advocate a race struggle in opposition to their white oppressors. However this strategy by no means caught on amongst South Africa’s black majority.

The black plenty’ usually brutalising wrestle in opposition to Apartheid, which price the lives of 1000’s, was by no means about violence as an finish in itself. It was concerning the pursuit of the political beliefs of democracy and freedom.

The distinction between the wrestle in opposition to Apartheid and Hamas’s struggle with Israel may hardly be starker. This weekend, Hamas carried out a pogrom in opposition to Jewish civilians. As Daniel Ben-Ami highlights, Hamas is just not a national-liberation motion engaged in making an attempt to free Palestine. It’s an anti-Semitic demise cult, hell-bent on eliminating all Jews within the quest for a world Islamic order. There may be not one iota of democratic idealism in Hamas’s make-up.

In equating Hamas with Umkhonto, Yanis Varoufakis and his fellow cheerleaders not solely arrogantly malign the sacrifices of South Africa’s black plenty. Additionally they perpetuate a dangerous falsehood about Israel, which helps to isolate the Jewish state globally – particularly, that Israel is an apartheid state. That it is rather like South Africa was.

That is merely unfaithful. Arabs in Israel can vote in elections and Arab events sit in parliament. There are Arab justices on the Supreme Court docket and Arab docs within the well being service. Related equality for black individuals in Apartheid South Africa would have been unthinkable.

Sure, Arabs do endure discrimination over jobs, schooling and housing. And the Israeli state’s abuse of human rights must be condemned. There are grounds for a severe debate about Israel’s problematic insurance policies in the direction of Palestinians. However the comparability with Apartheid South Africa is grotesque.

Furthermore, evaluating the sacrifices and braveness of the black South African plenty of their wrestle in opposition to the Apartheid regime to the cowardice and cruelty of Hamas’s slaughter of defenceless Jewish civilians – together with youngsters and the aged – merely beggars perception. What Varoufakis and others are at the moment defending is barbarism, pure and easy.