Nelson Mandela’s support for Yasir Arafat and the PLO and his membership in The Elders are not just minor parts of his legacy and certainly do distract from the good he did (“The Mandela Legacy,” Editorial, Dec. 13).
In 1990, Mandela likened Israel to a “terrorist state” and declared that “we do not regard the PLO as a terrorist organization.” When the terrorist Arafat died, Mandela called him an “outstanding freedom fighter.”
Then, Israel’s president, Ezer Weizmann, said of Mandela: “He calls Arafat by his first name, Yasir. They embraced, and he said he and Arafat were brothers.”
In 2000, the American Jewish Committee canceled a planned dinner just days before it was to take place at which Mandela was set to be honored with a human rights award. Mandela had defended an espionage trial in Iran of 13 Iranian Jews as “free and fair.”
Mandela embraced brutal dictators throughout the Third World, such as Libya’s Gaddafi and Cuba’s Castro, singing their praises and defending them publicly even as they trampled on the rights and lives of their own people.
Mandela hailed the Puerto Rican terrorists who shot U.S. congressmen.
So, praise him for the good he did for his people, but be truthful by detailing the full picture. He was no saint for sure.