Israel to blame for Russian attack on Ukraine, says Mandela’s grandson

Nelson Mandela’s grandson blames Russian invasion on ‘Ukraine neo-Nazis’ and “Apartheid Israel dogs of war.”

By Ben Cohen, The Algemeiner

A South African member of parliament who is also the grandson of Nelson Mandela, the country’s iconic leader in the struggle against apartheid during the late 20th century, is making headlines for a bombastic speech in which he branded Ukraine’s leaders as “neo-Nazis” who are allied with “apartheid Israel’s dogs of war.”

Nkosi Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela, a convert to Islam who is one of South Africa’s most outspoken anti-Zionist activists, was speaking at a session of the Pan African Palestinian Solidarity Network in the Senegalese capital Dakar last weekend, where he began by greeting “the global BDS family” — a reference to the cluster of pro-Palestinian organizations pushing for a comprehensive boycott of Israel.

Omitting the basic fact that Russia — a country that went entirely unmentioned — invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, Mandela went on to blame the war on Israel and the western alliance.

“The global military industrial complex that beat the drums of war in Ukraine feeds an agenda of which they are the sole beneficiaries. Behind them lies the ruins of Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. They are joined in this disgraceful endeavor by neo-Nazis in Ukraine, the apartheid Israel dogs of war and those in NATO intent on advancing cold war politics,” Mandela stated.

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The false accusation that Ukraine is led by neo-Nazis originated with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other members of his inner circle. Despite being roundly condemned by Holocaust survivors, Jewish groups and western governments, the accusation has been endorsed by some pro-Russian commentators in the west on both the far left and the extreme right.

On Wednesday, Putin doubled down on his claim, asserting that western countries sought “Russia’s destruction” by imposing sanctions whose effects were reminiscent of the “antisemitic pogroms” carried out by the Nazis.

Later on in his speech, Mandela painted a conspiratorial picture of a vast “Zionist” effort to dominate the African continent, drawing on antisemitic tropes about Jewish wealth and political influence.

“Apartheid Israel has done all in its power to deny the Palestinian people their very existence,” he claimed. “It has mobilized formidable lobbies in the West and pursued a policy of checkbook diplomacy in Africa.”

He complained in particular about the Jewish state’s admission to African Union (AU) as an observer member in July 2021.

“We must as our first line of duty step up our mobilization … and remove apartheid Israel from its AU observer status,” Mandela declared.

While the younger Mandela is wedded to extreme anti-Zionist positions supporting the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state, his late grandfather rejected these entirely, insisting that only a two-state solution would deliver justice to both Israel and the Palestinians.

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A billboard campaign staged by South African Friends of Israel last year in Johannesburg highlighted Nelson Mandela’s documented commitment to the continued existence of a Jewish state.