Of all the political pundits perhaps only Charles Krauthammer {op-ed, June 27} in all his slippery brilliance could so deftly twist what began as a justification of African National Congress alliances into an apologia for Israel and Jonas Savimbi's UNITA. To equate the position of Nelson Mandela and the ANC with that of UNITA, and especially Israel, is fatuous; to suggest that the various alliances they have made arise from the same "principle of necessity" is disingenuous.

While Israel has been castigated by and isolated from the Third World, this hardly explains that country's relationship with South Africa (nor, for instance, with the murderous regime of Guatemala). Zionism as practiced by the governments of Israel has never been a Third World movement. Israel has always received spiritual succor and overwhelming material support from Western Europe and the United States -- a position never enjoyed by the ANC. The notion that the majority people of South Africa and of Israel are "similarly besieged" or equally "desperate for help" is absurd.

Further, there is little equivalence in the nature of Israel's relationships with its allies and that of the ANC with its own. The latter shows the attempts of a beleaguered armed liberation struggle to merely survive, while Israel is an example of one of the greatest powers in the Middle East, backed by the world's greatest power, acting as arms merchant to repressive, genocidal regimes.

Mandela and his comrades have the integrity to acknowledge their mutual support, while all of the other dealings to which Krauthammer attributes moral equivalence have taken place mostly behind closed doors, usually denied, at best justified on the same specious grounds he employs. -- Andrew M. Thompson