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SA was bought cheaply but will pay dearly, says Murray

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The South African government is throwing away its post-apartheid moral capital because “it’s up for hire”, British journalist and author Douglas Murray said on a visit to South Africa recently.

“South Africa is doing what incompetent governments often do when they can’t fix the most basic problems,” he told the SA Jewish Report on 14 March. “If you can’t fix electricity supply, don’t tell me you’re interested in policing a conflict on another continent.”

Murray, who has been covering the Israel-Hamas war since 7 October and the Middle East conflict for two decades, was a guest of the SA Jewish Report at an event on 14 March.

“If they [the government] were really interested in conflict resolution or taking the perpetrators of genocide to the ICJ [International Court of Justice], they should go for the Fulani militia who are trying to commit genocide among the Christians in northern Nigeria. They should also focus on the 300 000 people killed in Yemen, but they don’t give a damn about that, do they? It’s all about what they can get out of it,” he said in a one-on-one interview with the SA Jewish Report before he spoke to a crowd of almost 600 people in person and more than 20 000 online.

Murray said he firmly believed that the South African government had been paid for what they had done against Israel. “Clearly, they have been promised money by Iran, which is why your foreign minister travelled there straight after 7 October,” he said.

“The moral capital that this country does still possess from the overthrow of apartheid, and the example this country gave to the world in the aftermath of that, is being spent by Iran.”

He said he was appalled to see how the Iranians were having their way with South Africa, getting it to talk about a genocide that isn’t a genocide and apartheid that isn’t apartheid.

“It shows that the ANC government has a clear price for anything, and their price is quite cheap. The cost is this country’s reputation. It’s so shameful.”

Murray, who has been in Israel since days after 7 October, has been outspoken in condemning Hamas for what it has done and continues to do. For him, Hamas’s guilt was clear, having witnessed the aftermath of 7 October and interviewed hundreds who were caught up in the day of terror.

Saying that he had a “low tolerance threshold for lies”, Murray said that in covering the Israeli-Palestinian crisis over the years, he was always amazed by the fact that “what I saw with my own eyes was so different to what was being reported elsewhere. This really got under my skin.”

Not being Jewish, he said he had an “emotional attachment” to Israel and the Jewish people. “I’m moved by the situation and story of Israel and the Jewish people, and by the horrible motivations that people have to attack them,” he said.

Often a lone voice in a sea of anti-Israel media, Murray said, “I wouldn’t care if I was a minority of one. I’m determined to speak the truth no matter what.”

On 7 October, he was in New York and realised there was something terribly wrong in Israel when he saw an image sent to him of Hamas firing an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) down the main road of Sderot, a town on the Gaza border.

The next day, when he saw what he thought was an anti-Israel protest in Times Square only to find it was a celebration of the massacre in Israel, he was determined to get to Israel fast. “We who cared weren’t even given 24 hours before they celebrated what they did to Jews,” he said.

“I needed to see for myself what happened, and I did, which made me obliged to pay testimony to it.”

He went to all the sites of the massacre, collected testimonies from survivors, people in hospitals, and first responders. “The head of United Hatzalah said that what he saw in one hour on 7 October was far worse than everything he had seen in 30 years doing this work.”

Murray went on to say that while there were many horror stories, there were as many of heroism.

He told of one man in his 30s who woke up in Jerusalem, realised what was happened, took guns, and drove down south, leaving behind a farewell message to his wife and family because he didn’t believe he would survive to return.

For 24 hours, he fought terrorists down south before returning.

Murray’s regular Israeli cameraman went down south to visit a friend in Kfar Aza on the day, and landed up fighting and killing a number of terrorists. “He’s a civilian, not a fighter, but he was caught in the crossfire and came out fighting,” Murray said.

“There are heroes everywhere, not least of all the men and women who re-enlisted and have been fighting to defend their country since 7 October. I’m encouraged by their bravery and commitment to their country.”

Murray said he was astonished at how incredible the youth had been since 7 October, and insisted that young leaders were emerging stronger than ever. “They will be the legacy from this war,” he said.

He maintains that those who deny what happened on 7 October in Israel are making far more of a statement about who they are and their values than those of Israel. “I simply won’t debate with them, much like I won’t debate with Holocaust deniers,” he told the SA Jewish Report.

Murray said he found it hard to believe that people “suck up the lies” put out by Hamas. “How is it that directly after a hospital is hit by a missile, they know exactly how many people were killed? It took Israel months to work out who was killed or kidnapped on 7 October. It’s simply not that simple,” he said.

Then, he said, there’s the issue of Hamas propogandists regularly getting their stories mixed up. “On the one hand, they speak about Gaza being a ‘concentration or prison camp’, and then simultaneously say, ‘It had been a set of fine Arab cities before Israel attacked.’ How can it be both?

“Then, Hamas has been claiming genocide for 15 years, first in 2009 and then 2014, but how does it reconcile that with saying that the majority of Gazans are under 30?”

He’s certain Israel will destroy Hamas, but not so sure what will happen after that. “Hamas has been in charge in Gaza for 18 years, which is exactly how long it takes for a generation to undergo formal education and to create a society of sociopaths who celebrate the massacre of innocent people. Such people worked with and for Israelis, and then gave information to Hamas to brutally slaughter them,” he said.

“I’ve seen the maps from the bodies of terrorists, which show exactly where specific people live and who they live with. These are the Palestinian neighbours with whom people demand Israel makes peace. This, to me, is not only unfair but crazy.”

According to Murray, in the West Bank, 75% to 80% of the population would vote for Hamas if there was an election.

He insists that Israel has no choice but to eradicate Hamas, but it also needs to re-establish its military and intelligence deterrents. “The Israelis are still asking how 7 October was possible. This is a big trauma because Israelis must feel safe in their home.”

He went on to say that it was also vital to ensure that Iran – which he said was 100% behind the terrorists – didn’t come out with a win. This also meant, he said, that the 160 000 higher grade missiles facing Israel from its northern border must be destroyed. “This war cannot be over unless those rockets are gone. Israel cannot live peacefully with them there.”

Murray said he believed that though many want to blame Netanyahu for the ongoing war and death, any Israeli leader would lead the war the same way he did. “Israel had no choice but to go to war with Hamas and to eradicate it,” he said.

Netanyahu will never take personal responsibility for what happened, he said, because as a leader, he knows it would be used by his opponents, making it impossible for him to govern.

Though Murray wouldn’t say who he believed would be the next Israeli leader, he said, “A new generation of political leaders have shown themselves in the past five months, which is as it should be.”

The younger generation of Israelis had proven to be brave, strong, and wise, he said, and he’s sure they will be taking a healthy Israel into the future.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Chris Kyson

    April 3, 2024 at 3:22 pm

    Yet another shred or two of wisdom from Douglas Murray. Absolute respect to him and the people of Israel right now.

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