Nixing Mandela funeral as too costly, Bibi shows world what he's truly made of - A Special Place in Hell - Israel News | Haaretz

Nixing Mandela funeral as too costly, Bibi shows world what he's truly made of

Israel's prime minister proves he is not the smug, petty, vindictive, waffling, in-your-face insulting man he seems. He's something worse.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara - GPO - May 3, 2011.
Air Force One-I? Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara may soon have their own private plane / Photo by GPO
By Bradley Burston
Published 14:39 09.12.13

In his eleventh-hour decision against attending the funeral of Nelson Mandela, Benjamin Netanyahu proved that he is not the smug, petty, vindictive, waffling, in-your-face insulting man he seems. He's something worse.

The problem is not so much that the prime minister had first informed the South African government that he would, in fact, attend the ceremony, alongside Presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, French President Francois Hollande, and scores of other world dignitaries, among them Iranian President Hassan Rohani, in what is expected to be a world gathering unprecedented in scope.

Nor is the basic problem the fact that the decision was made so abruptly and with such lack of consultation, that the office of President Shimon Peres was thrown for a loop, and it was unclear if arrangements could be made to have Peres represent Israel in Netanyahu's stead.

The problem is the reason Netanyahu chose to give: Money. The trip would cost too much. The problem, then, is the message Netanyahu has chosen to send:

My Israel, which so craves and demands legitimacy and recognition as a full partner in the community of nations, does not consider a man like Nelson Mandela, or a nation like South Africa, or the sentiment of an entire world, worth the price of a plane flight.

In sending this message, Benjamin Netanyahu has treated the passing of Nelson Mandela as he does every challenge in statecraft: He has addressed one problem by creating another.

His message is clear: My Israel, which spends untold tens of millions on such matters as bolstering and protecting settlement construction during peace negotiations with the Palestinians, or erecting detention facilities for African asylum seekers rather than formulating coherent and just refugee policies, has nothing left over for this man Mandela.

But that's only the beginning. With a wink and a nod to the settler right, the academic rabid right, and the KKK-esque far right, Netanyahu is sending an even stronger message:

This is where I stand on this Palestinian-lover, Mandela. And this is where I stand on his Palestinian-lover heirs.

At home, the decision has been interpreted as Netanyahu's response to recent reports of profligate household spending.

Bottom line, Netanyahu seems to be suggesting: I have learned my lesson from having lavish bedrooms installed in airliners for relatively short trips, and for overspending taxpayers' money on flowers and candles and pool water for my three homes.

I will economize. No more empty frills. Like the Mandela funeral.

Worst of all, perhaps, and certainly setting a new standard in irony, Netanyahu's skipping the Mandela commemorations will allow him to oversee an extraordinary exercise in ramming through a Knesset bill to allow authorities to jail African asylum seekers for up to a year without trial, and to keep them from finding gainful employment in Israel.

Just last month, the cabinet approved a budget allocation of 440 million shekels ($126 million) to fund the provisions of the as-yet-unpassed and High Court-vulnerable bill – more than 60 times what it would have cost for Netanyahu to attend the funeral.

Never has Netanyahu sent a message quite this infuriating, with so much apparent success.

He is betting, apparently, that the moderate majority has expectations so low, its resources of outrage so overtaxed and depleted, its capacity for response so beaten flat, that it will do little more than shrug and trudge on. And this bet may well be the smart money.

What we are stuck with, in the end, is the message that Netanyahu is sending to the world. The world that Netanyahu's Israel is determined not to be a part of.

"The whole world is coming to South Africa," foreign ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela said at the weekend.

The world, yes. Israel, maybe not.


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  • 78.
    Mandelas funeral
    While opinions may differ on the wisdom of not having an appropriate Israeli presence at Mandela's funeral, I think that there would be a nearly unanimous approval of the proposition that Bradley Burston is a semi-autistic, overbearing loudmouth embodying virtually every negative stereotype of the Israeli. Nevertheless born in the USA. Ugh!
  • 77.
    MANDELLA WAS NOT A FRIEND TO ISRAEL, BUT AN ENEMY. BIBI found a way to avoid playing the game of pretense and stayed away as did 100 other leaders of the 190 countries. Obama made an ass of himself there and also should have stayed home...meanwhile Mandella will just be a footnote forgotten as when he was rotting in a jail cell.
  • truth
    do you have to work hard at being this stupid, or does it just come naturally?
  • 76.
    Netanyahu was concerned his visit would turn into an incident
    It is a well established fact that the aparthied regime of South Africa helped Israel develop and test its atomic weapons.
  • 75.
    Bibi staying home
    Why is this such a big deal ?
  • 74.
    As a Jew and a SOuth African I am ashamed at Mr Netanyahu's disgusting lack of sensitivity and respect for Mr Mandela. He is a disgrace. We South African Jews and Jews all over the world respect and love Madiba. I am sure we all wish to apologize on behalf of this uncouth mean spirited man. He does not even reach the feet of Madiba.. Sha you Netanyahu you embarrass us all.. You are no statesman you dont have basic morality.
  • unmatched scrutiny
    Kol Hakavod Stephanie. I love your way of choosing your vocabulary. Just in place
  • 100 other leaders did not attend
    Bibi was in the majority by avoiding this trip...
  • 73.
    Debt to South Africa
    After all, it's not like Israel has any real connection with South Africa, apart from the small change that gold and diamonds have created over the centuries?
  • 72.
    Mandela Was A Terrorist and Hostile Towards Israel
    Lets get real.
  • chaim
    you mean terrorist like Hagana, and hostile similar to Israel's contempt toward the whole world. One hint Chaim, I never noticed positive rating to your comments. Not surprisingly
  • 71.
    Madiba Funeral
    I understand Netanyahu's position of trying to save tax payer's money in state of Israel. If that was the case, why didn't Netanyahu call our U.S. President Barack Obama to fly with him on Air Force One in order to pay a tribute to this historical Icon of the 21st century the Late President Nelson Mandela known as 'Madiba"?. President Obama is generious enough to safe a sit for him.
  • 70.
    Did Erdogan go? No!
    Did any of you complain? Why not?
  • Because
    Erdogan is not or leader. Duh.
  • 69.
    THUS: to Bibi Netanayhu Madiba is just another Negro who killed his Brothers: Bibi Netanayhu must've known that he nor his Brothers paid anything but not even nothing as Netanayhu isn't even Rightious NOR Jew
  • You're Not human Nor sane !
  • 68.
    Yet another thing to be learned out of what Bibi did or did not is that he Bibi Netanayhu a who lets his personal issues prevail and that is what Bibi Netanyahu also is known for: such Madiba must've bene hurt and Bibi Netanyahu couldn't overcome what happened to his Brother in the Uganda of 1970's: thus Bibi Netanyahu lets Madiba suffer for what he Nelson Mandela didn't do to Bibi Netanyahu and yet that wasn't teason fro Bibi Netanayhu not od abstain from going as he is pathetic about a Netanyahu who neither paid to be born
  • You're the new Lord Haw-Haw !!!!!! so keep barking !!!!
  • 67.
    Mandela memorial
    What a disgrace that Netanyahu did not go, what a mistake. He is not a statesman.
  • 66.
    netanyahu's lack of vision and idealism
    Israel is isolated once more, and once more Netanyahu is responsible for that. Bibi is rich enough to pay the flight with his own money if he really doesn't want to exploit public money. What kind of advisers does he have, poor Bibi?
  • 65.
    Mandela gained worldwide respect while Bibi is gaining worldwide contempt.
  • Mandela was a foe of Israel and an antisemite im disguise. OK. Mandela was a symbol for Black
    South Africans. His propaganda operators pretend that he was a fighter for all people including whites Why then most whites left south Africa after Mandelas ANC took power. Crime is now reigning terror on streets of South African cities. His ANC has a leader , Zuma, who is a polygamists with two wives. South Afrikan poor are getting poorer.Why is that happening. The gold and diamond mines are still there. Don't tell the lies that Oppenheimer family who owned AngloAemirican did not move the mines to England , Continental Europe or North America. Why is the industry of South Africa declining and closing. Who prevented Mandela and his successors like Mbeku and Zuma from rnning the industry for the good of Siuth African. Most educated and proffesional South Africans left en masse to UK, Canada and USA. The rest is evoliving into the decline of a rich in resources country like South Afrika
  • Unfortunately you are quite correct MaxZ
    Within a gereration most - if not all - of the remaining white South Africans will have moved away. The Christians to Australia and the Jews to Israel, Afterwards they will admit that fear triumphed over their best intentions. South Africa will become what former Rhodesia is today.
  • He had little choice
    Umm, I think the world has made it clear what happens to leaders who seize national resources for the native inhabitants! Numerous examples of ostracization in African, South American, and Arab countries. Mandela could not seize that which had already been stolen by white colonists of any ethnicity therby leaving valuable assets for the already rich and those who toady up to them.
  • 64.
    Netanyahu afraid of being arrested for his war crimes? Seems reasonable
  • 63.
    No one is gonna give Netanyahu or ANY other Israeli leader as grand a send off
  • 62.
    Bibi did it right
    what should he sit in a Stadion, in which not Mandela is the star , but Obama, he Comes into the Stadion , with a Jesus song, as he would be the Messiah. That is exactly what happened. On celebrations like this, esspecially by blasphemy against the God of Israel and his Messiah, neither the President nor the PM of Israel can take part. So , they did it right, staying at home.
  • no !
    Your display a high degree of intolerance, my friend.
  • 61.
    Nethanyahu & Apartheid
    In any case, Mandela's contestation of Apartheid reflects that of Israel Arabs versus a non-democratic Israel. The parallels are alarming; refusal to give full citizenship rights to all those in the State, relegation to second class status and imposition of forced physical relocation.
  • I have a hunch
    If Israel does not change course in her abuse of indigenous Arabs, IT WILL turn like old South Africa and end in the same way. Stop your macho and superman fantasy
  • 60.
    Nelson Mandela
    No need to bury Mandela, he will live for ever!
  • 59.
    The test of History:
    History's giants achieved their greatness and the highest common good through sacrifice, forgiveness, dialogue, inclusiveness and tolerance. What do we see here today?
  • Dear Rosana
    Answer to your question: Nothing but the very opposite of the blessed achievements mentioned about History's giants
  • 58.
    Netanyahu no longer good for Israel
    What Bibi apparently fails to see is that he is driving away those of us who love and have supported Israel from the time it was only a hope. He is driving away her friends with what she has become under him, and I fear for her future.
  • 57.
    What a comment straight to the point I did not believe my friends who told me that yesterday ;nethahnyaou is everything BUT a statesman ; he endangers Israël's security and reputability ; Madness . This gy should be dismissed immediately OLIVIER GEBUHRER
  • unfortunately Gebuhrer
    Not many Israelis think like you. Actually todays Israelis are to the right of Netanyahu. Good luck, and this may lead to the isolation of the Occupying power
  • 56.
    King Bibi
    Bibi the King has the highest standards…….and this guy from Africa failed those standards.
  • 55.
    I am a jew & a south african ,i have in a post said i admire Mr. MANDALA,not his stance on ISRAEL SURLEY TWO WRONGS DO NOT MAKE IT RIGHT!!!!!!! ,NETANYYAHU , should wake up and not use money as an excuse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 54.
    World Leaders stop spending Public Money to attend Nelson Mandelas Funeral
    Regarding attending the funeral of a True spirited wise man, Why are the World leaders attending Nelson Mandela's funeral when we have ambassadors in every country. I certainly find it a disgrace that public money is being spent like this, air travel and only the best of hotels, food, etc, Please do not comment that leaders want to pay their respect, there are other ways of showing this. Lastly Nelson Mandela would not have wanted this kind of spending. Stay at home and spend that money on all the homeless in your country, In particular I am talking about Ireland.
  • 53.
    Bibi's decision is ethical
    Bibi is a man of principles. Who is this Mandela that Bibi should show up at his funeral?! Mandela colluded with the neo-liberals and captured the power; allowed the nation's capital to move out of the country; replaced a few white rich with a new class of brutal black ones; worsened the situation for the poor; shook hand with the criminal leaders of the world including, Khamenei, Rafsanjani, Khatami, Yaser Arafat, etc without giving a damn about human rights abuses in those places.
  • 52.
    How much poison in one article...
    Yes, not Israel, but :Syria, N.Korea, Iran,etc. are representing the democratic and enlightened world...
  • 51.
    Jailing asylum seekers, celebrating the policies of apartheid, fattening himself up on the coffers of the state
    How much more does an American Jew have to swallow of this PM's behavior before we cease support of the state?
  • 50.
    Netanyahu fails Israel by absence
    There is no "upside" to the decision by Netanyahu to not attend the funeral of Nelson Mandala. This is a unique world event not unlike the opening session of the UN. To not be there sends a strong message to the world and nothing is favorable for Israel. I agree with the author who suggests that in his attempting to disguise one problem, his irresponsible personal spending, Netanyahu has created another. Only the bigger problem will affect the world opinion of all of Israel not just Netanyahu.
  • Netanyahu's failure
    The writer says it all. Now we just hope someone's listening.
  • 49.
    Bibi has no place among those that value human dignity
    He would have been getting dirty looks from all the other heads of state. The excuse could have been more creative though, like needing to be Sara while she volunteers in a homeless shelter.
  • 48.
    Global disdain
    Frankly, he properly represents his country. He's just not a gentleman nor a statesman. There will be a lot of disdain coming to him and to Israel.
  • 47.
    Another reason
    With Americans, Europeans, Russians, Iranians, and Palestinian reps (who must be going) of state there, he would be under tremendous pressure to use the occasion to make a Bold Gesture for Peace, sincere or not. His decision not to go avoids this embarrassing situation, while as another commentator said, giving support to the Far-Right.
  • 46.
    South Africa and Israel
    De Klerk's great contribution was that he recognized white South Africa could not keep what they wanted (apartheid) and he said, "we're not going to kill anymore people in pursuit of a lost cause." Where is the Israeli leader will recognize Israel can not keep what it wants (the occupied territories) and will say, "we're not going to kill anymore people in pursuit of a lost cause"? Now is time, Prime Minister.
  • 45.
    Bibi loves ice cream
    Maybe if he took less ice cream would be money left to go
  • 44.
    A penny pinching jewish man? Paint me shocked...
  • More surprised
    A racist/antisemetic comment? Paint me shocked.
  • 43.
    Bibi is right not to go.
    It is only a publicity stunt for leaders of countries that have no interest in the rights of their own subjects. Bibi would only be the leader of a small country, surrounded by the leaders of larger countries. There are better way to use resources.
  • Small frog in a big pond
    That's all Bibi is anyway. Leader of a small country surrounded by leaders of larger, much larger countries.
  • Ha! Bibi's not going because he doesn't want to have to
    sit in the short chair. It's Israel's aparthide policy that makes him unwelcome. Sorry to learn Israel has to pinch every last penny.
  • 42.
    Re "A Special Place in Hell " by by Bradley Burston
    All your comments are true yet I feel the main reason is Bibi Netanyahu is not attending the Mandela funeral is hiding from the world as the light of anti- apartheid will be shining clearly on his Zionist apartheid state of Israel. Make no mistake what world leader would want his picture taken embracing and shaking the hand of this monster. Mandela said “Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians,”
  • 41.
    the money??? way to rid yourself of that stereotype... lol...
  • 40.
    No need to pretend.
    It's within his right, choosing to go or not. And he may also offer whatever explanations he pleases. And, would Mandela even want him in his funeral? I don't see why he would. I kind of like the message he is sending though, that Israel doesn't need to pretend. That has indeed been consistently demonstrated, Israel has been able to do whatever it wants without even having to pretend that it is a part of the civilized world.
  • Pretend?
    You have a warped definition of civilized.
  • 39.
    Mandela wasn't friend of Israel so his funeral is not mandatory for them.
    If you want to see real murderers and rapists,go to Mandela funeral to see them !!
  • 38.
    Petty, small-minded, pathetic.
    Hard to imagine Netanyahu could bring Israel's reputation even lower, but you can never underestimate him, I suppose.
  • 37.
    Mandela recognizes a racist aparthied regime when he sees one
    If Mandela fought against SA apartheid and racism, despite being imprisoned for 27Y, why would he shy away from castigating Israel' for its illegal apartheid regime which remains in violation of some 250UN res.
  • 36.
    Obvious explanation
    South Africa has a hostile government, a large, hostile Muslim population, and loads of corruption. The South African government couldn't guarantee security, and refused to allow Israeli security what it wanted. Rather than create a diplomatic incident over the inadequate security, Bibi put out the falf-assed cost explanation.
  • 35.
    There are a lot of good men and women...
    There are a lot of good men and women who die every day. It is impossible to attend all of their funerals, and Mandela has plenty of attention already.
  • 34.
    Burston's A Special Place in Hell
    Mr Burston regardless of your clearly emotional state, your outrageous smear of Prime Minister Netanyahu in this article shows you to be "the smug, petty, vindictive, waffling, in-your-face insulting man" and a craven coward who hides behind his keyboard slinging mud instead of reporting fact. No doubt were our Prime Minister to attend with all the necessary expense you would be writing a "social justice" smear piece on the excesses of spending involved. Perhaps you might have applied your brain and asked whether there is more to this story instead of allowing bias, personal agenda and blind hatred to prejudice any semblance of professionalism.
  • 33.
    Maybe he showed YOU his true colors.
    The rest of us realized what they were a good decade back -- if not more. People who like Netanyahu like him for what he is -- not what he pretends to be. We all know that -- where have you been?
  • 32.
    bibi's flight
    Please let me know. I will offer $25 (I am unemployed) to help Bibi go to Israel.
  • 31.
    This article shocked me
    I usually enjoy HaAretz's articles but this art seemed very different from other articles. The situation seemed overdramatized, the writing was poor, but mostly I feel like you made an issue out of a non-issue.
  • 30.
    Peres also won't go for good reasons.The whole world would be disgusted to see Israeli politicians at Mandela's funeral. Israel has its own Nelson Mandela called Marwan Hasib Ibrahim Barghouti
  • Israel has a lot of Mandela- Barghouti in priison,only in Gaza are 1,4 million.
    children,women,old men and women closed without fuel and,sure,with less food than Mandela received in prison.
  • You mean Mandela too blew up kids?
    Whie there is little doubt that Mandela was on very shaky grounds when it came to his papering over the crimes of ANC terrorists,there is very little evidence, as yet, to link him to actual acts of terrorism targeting civilians.Do you mean to say that Mandela too was responsible for the murder of innocent men, women and children like your friend Barghouti?If so, please share whatever evidence you have at hand.
  • 29.
    The simplest explanation is usually the correct one: Bibi was pulled aside and quietly told he wasn'r really welcome.
  • 28.
    Skipping the Mandela Funeral
    Why not? Mandela called Israel an apartheid state. I'm with Bibi.
  • Bibi's no-show
    And the world was CRUSHED when he decided not to grace the event with his august presence.
  • 27.
    The whole world is coming to South Africa..
    But Israel is not part of the world is it?
  • Not part of the world...
    Sadly Israel is not part of the world by choice
  • 26.
    Who cares?
    Mandela was passé anyway. He was a great leader that lead his country to the end of Apartheid and nothing more. What has become of South Africa, a violent, racist, unequal country is part of his heritage and there is little to be proud about.
  • Really who cares?
    The whole world is content enough with those who will attend. It is not for you to make an uninformed judgement on who Mandela was. Everybody else is proud of Mandela done for his country. What becomes of South Africa is a destiny current South Africans will choose. Not you, Not Mandela.
  • 25.
    Netanyahu spared the South African government a major embarrassment. Why would the head of an apartheid regime attend the funeral of the icon of the struggle against apartheid? Hope Shimon Peres will do likewise before the South African government ask him not attend
  • 24.
    Mandela's funeral
    When the PM travels the protocol is asking for him to be surrounded by Shin Bet agents (especially in SA which has a large Muslim population). At that point you heart bleeding liberals will jump on him that he spends too much money. He can never do the right thing for you guys. Sending the Knesset delegation is appropriate enough, and there is no need to stir the pot again and run to the foreign media saying Bibi is not respecting Mandela and the SA black community.
  • Not going is not the issue
    The issue is THE REASON he gives for not going, the ridiculous excuse that it costs too much money, after all the money he's spent for his private matters from our taxes, your taxes.
  • 23.
    You get what you pay for
    "He is betting, apparently, that the moderate majority has expectations so low, its resources of outrage so overtaxed and depleted, its capacity for response so beaten flat, that it will do little more than shrug and trudge on", and this is a surprise. You know what they get what you pay for.
  • You get what you pay for
    and you pay for what you get.
  • 22.
    Is it possible that Israel's current apartheid government has been told that it is not welcome at Mandela's funeral?
  • It's quite possible, if not likely
    Mandela was the very face of the struggle against apartheid. He was the one whom everyone thought of when they thought of as the leader. And it was his gamble that brought South Africa out of the darkness into the light. They know the horrors of apartheid, and its consequences. Then there's the leader of the next apartheid nation, a nation that supported apartheid South Africa, and the South Africans recognize him for the monster he truly is. So they tell him to not come to the funeral, for he is not welcome. It's actually a very plausible scenario. Yahoo would simply be trying to save face by coming up with some bullshit excuse, rather than saying he's persona non grata, which should be the case around the globe for him and other members of the apartheid regime.
  • 21.
    stuuupid israely prime minister
    what?... he could not have used some of the 400 million the US gave them for military spending????
  • Too costly?
    What is even more bewildering is that there were a number of better excuses that could have been used (unspecified security concerns from nearby militant groups, not wanting to exacerbate existing tensions with heads of states from hostile countries, a "domestic" crisis that requires attention, or even acknowledging that past support to the apartheid regime might distract from the solemnity of the occasion so attendance is being declined out of respect). Nope. Instead, it's because "I'm too cheap to splurge on the El Al ticket and hotel costs." What the heck was Bibi thinking?
  • 20.
    Something worse? Yes, Bradley, he's the leader of Zionist Jews.
    Netanyahu didn't go because he's afraid he would be arrested for war crimes.
  • Zionism didn't always support war crimes like what happened in OPT, but greed, arrogance, and narcissism perverted it into something dark
    Israel has changed, much like the USA that once stood for truth and justice, -but now eats it's own words at the UNSC to cover for Israel's war crimes and violation of it's Road Map obligation to stop all settlement construction in occupied territory.
  • 19.
    Nelson Mandella's funeral
    If Natenyahu went to Mandella's funeral he would be under more scrutiny for what he is doing under his racist policies as a counterpoint to the healing South Africa did under Nelson Mandella...and he simply does not want to do that or be put in that position.
  • 18.
    Bradley is a keen observer
    Bibi has no good qualities. I figured this out for myself but it is heartening to hear an expert confirm my conclusions. Bibi is an appropriate spokesman for everything this that is bad about Israel.
  • 17.
    In my opinion Bibi is a faschist, thats why he is not going..
  • 16.
    Israel was only few states having close relationship with apartheid state of South Africa when ONLY WHITE were the rulers.
  • 15.
    what abut those three homes he owns?
    And all the money he saved by no paying those taxes, on the other hand....i have never expected anything from that man.
  • 14.
    A special place in hell
    Your prime minister is a perfect product of Zionism. Haaretz talks out of both sides of its mouth - villifies the prime bully while supporting the racist ideology he represents.
  • 13.
    As a Bostonian I have been trying to hold on to respect for Israel's prime minister and believe the best. Who am I in the Diaspora to judge, I say to myself. However, this is heinous, unspeakable and shows Israel to be a SMALL nation in every sense of the word. Aside from the fact that Mandela showed respect for the Jews and deserves respect in return, Netanyahu is absenting himself from participating with 60 leaders of the world. SHAME!
  • 12.
    7 million shekels
    Instead of using the 7 milion shekels to attend Mandela's funeral, instead they should use this money to help African refugees and Asylum Seekers.
  • 11.
    On the other hand, why would South Africans want to see the purveyor of apartheid come to their country. Better to stay home in increasing isolation.
  • 10.
    Mandela funeral
    Again, Bibi has shown his lack of leadership and class. No amount of money should keep him away from the funeral of one of the greatest leaders of the last century. Perhaps he doesn't want to be reminded that the greatest legacy of Mandela was not only the he overthrew the bonds of those who subjugated him but that he also realized that the end of hate begins in forgiving those who have wronged us! Once again, I am disgraced by our governments behaviour!
  • 9.
    In honor of Netanyahu's choice not attend Mandela's funeral, I'm going to get the @MaxBlumenthal book Goliath to try to better understand what has gone wrong with Israel.
  • 8.
    The great gift Mandela and his partner De Klerk offered to their people and their country was to accept each other as partners in an existential conflict and in BEING that partner for the other side. They set themselves at eye-level and so enabled a development for ALL South Africans to follow. The only honestly respectable answer of Netanyahu to not attend the funeral of Nelson Mandela would have been: I honestly can't stand at the grave of this great man and then go back to my country and follow up the politics of fostering mutual distrust and denying of the rights and needs of the other as I do. I hope he somewhere in a hidden corner in his heart can feel shame for what he does as an Israeli and as a Jew. The struggle for peace and justice unfolds much more in our deeds for the other than in our deeds for our very brothers and sisters. We never will gain peace and justice for ourselves and our own people as long as we don't start to provide it to our so called enemies. This is one of the great lessons Mandela and De Klerk understood not only in their minds but also in their hearts. I'd send Uri Avnery to South Africa to accompany Nelson Mandela's trip to the happy hunting ground. I guess he can stand there without feeling shame.
  • 7.
    Mandela bad-mouthed Israel on a daily basis. He called Democratic State of Israel disrespectfully an apartheid state regardless of facts and common sense. Being black does not give him a right to use and abuse. PM done well and did not played a political games to appease a mob...
  • He called a spade a spade.
  • Hmmm
    You make the statement being black does not give one the right to use and abuse. This is clear your English reads as being black one is not given rights to use.
  • Bibi didn't want to lower himself by going to this digusting racist antiSemitic cess pool
  • 6.
    He wouldn't be welcome in South Africa anyway and he knows that!
  • 5.
    Now I understand there is no shame at all! I do not think I have to explain in detail.
  • 4.
    Mandela's funeral
    Bibi will miss the boat if he fails to aattend Mandela's funeral.. Mandela was a Mensch even though there were times he supported the Palestinians in his early career. No one calls Bibi a Mensch, and his boycott of Mandela's funeral is one of the reasons why.
  • 3.
    Nixing Mandela funeral - Penny Wise & Pound Foolish
    I always thought that Bibi was a good salesman - a poor statesman but a good salesman . However a good salseman knows how to recognise a good business oportunity, in this case making your presense felt in the market. By not attending teh funeral , not only is he not making Israel's presence felt, he is insulting the market that he should be trying to sell to.
  • 2.
    Love for Bibi
    Too costly? Really Bibi? That's the best Bibi can come up with? Well, everyone, let's face it. Bibi's love for press and camera is probably a bit more important for him than pistachio ice cream and fresh flowers on taxpayer's dime. Bibi likes to gloat in front of camera, particularly in the company of world leaders where it makes him look important (at least to the Israelis). Bibi, worrying about trip cost to the taxpayers is purely cynical as is evident from his use of taxpayers money for clothes and water bill. He is worried about cost as much as he was worried about Cottage cheese price going up in Israel a few years ago. Let's face it, South Africa has as much love for Bibi as they have for their Apartheid era leaders and they probably made clear how much love they were going to display for Bibi (being a leader of occupation) in a memorial setting for one of the most famous person fighting injustice and oppression in the history of the world. So, people of Israel, this is the best excuse Bibi can come up with and he sincerely hopes you all buy it.
  • 1.
    could not have said it better myself
    Netanyahu's decision has nothing to do with economizing. It is all politics, as the column makes the point.
  • Whiners of the world.
    Listening to all the above BS. Lets face it, whatever Bibi said or does will always be criticized by all you people. Bottom line, who really cares what you say. Like it or not, he's the leader of his nation, you are just armchair whiners.
  • I couldn't have said it any better....
  • mass followers and hysteria
    AT least Bibi showed individualistic thinking. While Mandela clearly liked SA Jews as it furthered his people's agenda and vision and aim he was not fair to Israel. He sided with those who were anti-Israel. Of course,he has left a SA legacy in that he truly helped to steer a steady course, avoiding confrontation and violence. As for a continued legacy, the minute he left the scene as a potent political figure, the jackals arrived and are still there, greedily helping themselves and dishing out to their families, not caring a whit for the poor or their fellow citizens. not even one generation after Mandela. So, history will judge the real legacy. Morals, honesty, integrity I think will remain with the figure of Mandela, but has not shifted far from there.. I live in SA and it is actually a disgrace, read the daily papers like I do and see how the population behave, how the politicians behave. so i beg to ask.were the moral, honesty, democratic ideals only superficial, and if so, why is that so. I shudder when i see what the current leadership gets up to: they are immoral, greedy, dishonest and uncaring. So I beg you, what has happened to the qualities that Mandela exemplified and why has it not been promoted. or continued. Once there was equality, that was it, there was nothing and is nothing else that seems to bind this land to be a moral country. That is why it can turn on Jews, that is why the government seeks to scapegoat israel, why the wily Tutu preaches with one voice and blasphemes the Jews with the other voice.. Bibi is a clever man and did the correct thing. SA votes against Israel time and time again in the UN, what a cheek when its own current record (see the daily newspapers) and moral behaviour is so abysmal. So rant all you want Bradley, you do not live in SA so it is easy to keep your rose coloured glasses on and dwell in a fantasy world. I have no such illusions from where I sit.
  • Keep up the good work!
  • The Jewish SA community and the end of Aparthied
    Jewish people have contempt for European Gentiles - the white majority of SA in particular. Jews prided themselves on the role they played towards overthrowing the SA Aparthied rule. Fortunately because Mandela and de Klerk were Christians they sought a peaceful resolution. Lea b's fear reflects a belief that there are no similar leaders of equal character today. Jewish South African International Jurist Goldstone tars Israel with war crimes charges - and then changes his mind - typifies a world stereotype of Jews with authority who cannot be trusted or taken at their word. But look at the bright side: Bradely Burston will welcome you to Israel with open arms when you are forced to leave South Africa along with millions of other whites.