June 03, 2014

Samuel L Jackson and the Apartheid Connection

Samuel L Jackson caused a fair bit of dismay among anti-racists on twitter just recently with this "selfie".

Here are a couple of twitter responses I've taken from Ha'aretz:

@SamuelLJackson Uh. Why would you support something like this? Israel is an apartheid state.
@SamuelLJackson Wow, and I admired you :( Unfollow it is then....
@SamuelLJackson wow, pretty sad to hear that you support an apartheid state. You of all people.
That's just three of many responses from people who are clearly surprised at Jackson's, at best, cavalier attitude to racist statehood.  But I remember him promoting Barclays Bank and Barclays among people of my generation - ie, fifty somethings - will always be remembered as the apartheid bank.

Here's The Daily Telegraph from as far back as 2002 Jackson's role in a then new Barclays ad campaign:
What happens Hollywood star Samuel L Jackson (Pulp Fiction, the mad kilted drug dealer in 51st State) offers up a variety of soliloquies straight to camera about money.

One talks about whether money is really evil; another about how it's better to know who you're dealing with; and a third about how people instinctively mistrust advice about money.
 So, surprise surprise, it's all about money with advertising as with banking.

Now look at Barclays connection to apartheid South Africa.  This is from News24.com:
I remember well 1977 and the so-called Carlton conference, at which Botha summoned all the leaders of big business and asked them to help the regime to beat the international arms embargo imposed by the United Nations.

The Barclays pledge
After that meeting Barclays bank pledged a whopping R90m to the apartheid army for its defence force bonds, and I remember well The Citizen, ever the chief supporter and main praise-singer of the racist and oppressive apartheid regime, praising Barclays and carrying a cartoon showing two uniformed apartheid troopies lugging away a hefty Barclays cheque for R90m.

That bank was an unrepentant supporter of apartheid, and I would argue that their financial help for apartheid delayed our liberation by at least a generation.
Now it's just possible that Jackson knew nothing of Barclays' involvement with apartheid South Africa.  It's possible that he didn't know about Israel's support for the apartheid regime, including nuclear weapons collaboration.  It's also possible that he doesn't know that Israel is a colonial settler state based on ethnic cleansing and segregationist laws.  Israel does, after all, get a very favourable press in the USA.  But can he really be so ignorant that there is at least some controversy around Israel that might be worth checking out.

Back in the day, Samuel L Jackson worked for the apartheid bank for money but when he did a selfie at the Celebrate Israel Parade, he gave racists a freebie.  He could at least stand back and look at himself and stop being such a bad motherfucker.


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