Mandela’s message for Israel and Palestine

Nowhere are Mandela's lessons of the power of forgiveness and pragmatism more critical than to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Nelson Mandela's coffin at funeral ceremony in Qunu, South Africa, December 15, 2013.
Photo by: REUTERS
Nelson Mandela’s death has generated a world-wide outpouring of adulation seemingly unprecedented in recent history. His story – beginning in a tiny village of mud huts; joining the anti-apartheid movement; surviving twenty seven years in prison on Robben Island with his dignity intact; negotiating with South Africa’s all-white government for the transition to full democracy; and being elected as its first black president, inviting his jail-keeper to his inauguration – is clearly the stuff of legend. Except, remarkably, it happened.

In much of the commentary about him in the past two weeks, two themes key to his success emerge prominently: his capacity for forgiveness and reconciliation, and his pragmatism in service of the goal of a democratic South Africa.

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