Laura Phillips responds to a recent DafkaDotCom article, "The Matter with the Myths - Buthelezi is the Obvious Ally for the Jewish Community", by Dr Ruth Rabinowitz
I welcome Dr Ruth Rabinowitz’s engagement (10/04/2019) with my DafkaDotCom article (13/02/2019) and can only lament, as she does, that the constraints of word count limit my ability to respond in full. In this short reply then, I will just pick up on a few of the issues she raises
Though it is surprising to see the long discredited ‘rooi gevaar’ narrative resurrected in 2019, it is worth pointing out how heavily Rabinowitz’s argument relies on constructing a grand communist plot to prop up the IFP’s actions in the 1980s and early 1990s. Drawing on Anthea Jeffery’s analysis, Rabinowitz suggests that with the support of ‘a strong international communist network’ the ANC command orchestrated a ‘People’s War,’ targeting, amongst others, the IFP. In this telling of history, IFP violence was simply self-protection in the face of carefully coordinated ANC aggression. While the South African Communist Party (SACP) was a key ally of the ANC, Dr Rabinowitz misunderstands the complexities of the ANC, its factions, and its relationship to the UDF. The ANC was a broad church and incorporated a range of constituents, not all of whom aligned with the SACP. Some ANC members even argued that Comrade Mzala’s Chief with a Double Agenda ought not be published because Buthelezi should be handled with “kid gloves.” Though Dr Rabinowitz tries to discredit Mzala’s work – by suggesting that being a communist makes one a ‘propagandist’ - his book offers credible historical evidence against Buthelezi. In fact Buthelezi’s attempt to have Mzala’s book censored in 1991 would suggest it held truths particularly inconvenient for the IFP. 
To claim that the IFP faced a coherent, internationally funded communist onslaught, would not only misunderstand the nature of the anti-apartheid movement, but also undermine all agency from the deeply rooted communist organizations within South Africa. For these reasons and more, it is a grave distortion of history to portray Buthelezi as a non-violent democrat, committed to protecting 5 million Zulus (though perhaps not those that Rabinowitz problematically categorises as ‘modern Zulus) from a “communist agenda.”
Instead, the roots of the IFP-ANC split lie in Buthelezi’s irrefutable involvement in stoking violence and working in conjunction with the apartheid state. Rabinowitz cites a number of sources in an attempt to suggest that there is no evidence for my claims, but these source are either deeply problematic or simply do not support her argument. For instance, the 1998 TRC reports she references states that “[t]he Inkatha Freedom Party… was responsible for gross violations of human rights” and goes on to confirm the IFP’s “collusion with the South African Government’s security forces.” Her reference to the Magnus Malan case in 1996 is particularly cynical because the trial was shrouded in controversy and the prosecution failed to call several key witnesses, including Daluxolo Luthuli, whose incriminating testimony can now be read here. Rather, reports from the International Commission of Jurists, Amnesty International, the Goldstone Commission and the TRC point to a range of nefarious activities by the IFP, relying on eye witnesses and in-depth reporting. In more recent years scholars have conducted extensive interviews and used newly available archival evidence (such as the testimony given in the section 29 private TRC hearings) to reexamine the contemporary reports about the IFP’s violence, confirming much of what was known at the time while also offering new information.’
Finally, I want to reiterate the key argument in my original piece: the support of Bantustan leaders by Zionists in the organized local and international Jewish community speaks more to a common political agenda than Israel’s selfless desire for development in South Africa or Buthelezi’s affinity for South African Jewry. While the South African Jewish community should not allow itself to be complicit in whitewashing Buthelezi’s past, I am more than happy to admit that South African Zionists have found their match in Prince Buthelezi. I am glad that at least on this point, Dr Rabinowitz and I can agree. Citing Shimon Peres, she suggests that there are important similarities between Israel and Buthelezi’s struggles. She is absolutely right; the only difference is that she thinks this is something to boast about and I, however, do not.
 Ngonyama, P, ‘Mzala: A Short Intellectual Biography’ Seminar Paper at Department of Historical Studies, UKZN, 2012, p. 10
 Wyley, C. and Merret, C. ‘Universities and the New Censorship. Mzala’s Gatsha Buthelezi: Chief with a double agenda,’ Critical Arts, 5, 4, 1991.
 TRC 29 October 1998, Vol. 5, Chapter 6, Para 121
 For access to these records, readers can consult the South African Historical Archive (SAHA) http://www.saha.org.za/collections/the_freedom_of_information_project.htm http://www.saha.org.za/collections/the_walter_felgate_security_papers.htm
 Kelly, J To Swim with Crocodiles,Michigan State University Press, 2018; Sithole, Jabulani “The Inkatha Freedom Party and the Multiparty Negotiations,” in The Road to Democracy in South Africa, Volume 6.
Laura Phillips is a PhD student in the History Department at New York University and holds a Research Associate position at SWOP Institute at Wits University. Her research focuses on the Bantustans and their legacy in post-1994 South Africa.