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Ron Radosh

The revelation in Haaretz, the left-wing Israeli daily newspaper, that the Mossad trained Nelson Mandela in Ethiopia throws a new wrinkle into the Mandela story.

The world already knew that Mandela was trained in sabotage and terrorist tactics. This occurred when he left South Africa for Ethiopia to set up a secret underground military apparatus for the African National Congress that would then wage guerrilla attacks against the apartheid regime.

The assumption was that he got his training — as he probably did as well — from the KGB or the GRU, Soviet intelligence agencies that were seeking to establish proxies in Africa loyal to communism and the Soviet Union. But until the story that appeared yesterday, no one knew that Mandela “was trained in weaponry and sabotage by Mossad operatives in 1962, a few months before he was arrested in South Africa.”

The Mossad, the writers reveal, also tried their best to convert their subject — whom they did not realize was Nelson Mandela until he was arrested in South Africa — to the philosophy of Zionism. Mandela, who had support from Jewish Communists at home as well as from other liberal Jews opposed to apartheid, was evidently familiar with both the pre-state Haganah in British-occupied Palestine, and with Zionism in particular.

On October 11, 1962, two months after Mandela’s arrest in South Africa, the Mossad sent a letter to its officers that was stamped “Top Secret”:

The Mossad sent the letter to three recipients: the head of the Africa Desk at the Foreign Ministry, Netanel Lorch, who went on to become the third Knesset secretary; Maj. Gen. Aharon Remez, head of the ministry’s department of international cooperation and the first Israel Air Force commander; and Shmuel Dibon, Israel’s ambassador to Ethiopia between 1962 and 1966 and former head of the Middle East desk at the Ministry.

The subject line of the letter was “the Black Pimpernel,” in English, the term the South African media was already using for Mandela. It was based on the Scarlet Pimpernel, the nom de guerre of the hero of Baroness Emma Orczy’s early 20th century novel, who saved French noblemen from the guillotine during the French Revolution.

“As you may recall, three months ago we discussed the case of a trainee who arrived at the [Israeli] embassy in Ethiopia by the name of David Mobsari who came from Rhodesia,” the letter said. “The aforementioned received training from the Ethiopians [Israeli embassy staff, almost certainly Mossad agents] in judo, sabotage and weaponry.” The phrase “the Ethiopians” was apparently a code name for Mossad operatives working in Ethiopia.

The report also noted that Mandela greeted everyone with the term “shalom,” and was most familiar with the problem of the world’s Jews and with Israel. He appeared to the Mossad agents as an “intellectual,” but most tellingly “he expressed socialist worldviews and at times created the impression that he leaned toward communism.”

On that, the Mossad had it right. Their training of him did not pay off. From the start, Mandela supported the Soviet Union and its foreign policy, and befriended leftist African tyrannies as well as Yassir Arafat and the PLO.

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42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
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42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Radosh should keep in mind that Israel was ruled by a team of committed Socialists, who shaped and molded the spirit and ideolofy of the nation for some 100 years, from the first days of the Aliyah, the early days during the late 19th Century when Russian Jews left to establish in Israel the true Socialist Dream, under Turkish rule, they were living in a cloud of naivite which has not been expunged to these days. 1960 was the high point era of Israeli Socialismo, the peak. They were shooting in every direction. Developing civil projects in Africa, promoting relationships with the Third World, giving hundreds of grants to thankless Africans to study medicine, civil service management, water and irrigation, etc.
The fact that a fella like Mandela, a known entity among the Jewish community in SAF, was coming over to pick a few tips on weapons only shows how detached the Israelis were, not realizing who he was. This is the same year the Mossad pulled the stunt of putting Adolf Eichman on a plane bound to Tel-Aviv, dressed as a drunk El-Al crew. Because they were Socialists, and he looked like one, or appeared like one, and said Shalom, they were so nice to him, not realizing he also had some earlier training with the Algerian FLN in the Western deserts during the French rule, a pretty daring stunt. This is a comic story and a tragedy, in fact by than the Mossad clocked one of the worst historical fiascos in Cairo, the entire outfit was running wild with what is known as the Lavon Affair, the "Third Man", a stigma which they never got over with ever since. They appear amateurish and naive. I pin it all on Golda, the U.S Socialist from Red Wisconsin. She was clever by half, and it showed so well in 1973, Israel was taken by surprise, and as the "galamorous" Socialist Defense Minister, General Dayan, was murmuring in genuine fear inside the "Hakirayh Bunker-the "Hole" (where the Defense Ministry is located on Sokolov Street, Tel-Aviv) than, the Third temple could come down. All, because these half baked, dreamy Socialists thought that the world would behave according to their ideology, not based on natural laws. Mandela was heavily supported, by a battery of Jewish lawyers, cadres, rabbis, etc. How come the clever Mossadniks were so clueless?
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
I could have helped them out. Communism is the arch-enemy of Jews and Christians. Always has been, always will be. There was never any chance they were going to turn him to their side.

There was a really good chance he would use them.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Greetings:

Mr. Mandela was also a recipient of the Enron Prize for Distinguished Public Service.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
So what? In the early 1960's Israel had little to offer anyone. The state was besieged and not even 20 years old with no clear ally. Mandela, despite the rumors was not anti Zionist. That in itself was a good thing.

How many CIA, KGB, BNB, MI6, whomever the real players at the time interacted with him? Israel was nothing then. So he was a socialist, well so was Golda Meir, and Ben Gurion. All of the early zionists were socialists. This is a revelation?

Israel has no apology needed. Our president acting like an idiot clown at the state ceremony is far worse.

Netanyahu, citing security concerns politely declined. The president of the United States stood next to a psychotic sadistic criminal before the entire world and blathered on off the Prompter speech. How did that happen?

Then he took selfie photos.

Great job America.



43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
The socialism of fools.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's worse than a crime.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
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