The governing ANC’s public distain for county’s Jews is a disturbing portend for community’s future
By Ben Levitas
Donned in Palestinian regalia, a “Keffyeh” around his neck and waving Palestinian flags, President Ramaphosa, and members of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) kicked the Jewish community into the touch lines. He rubbed salt into the wounded Jewish community, who have strong familial and spiritual bonds with the people of Israel, by not admonishing the barbarity of the murders, rapes and decapitations perpetrated by Hamas. A whole plethora of ministers have similarly vocalised their unequivocal support for Gaza, which is ruled by a terror syndicate. Ramaphosa made it very clear that he fully supports and sympathizes with Hamas – a genocidal, fanatical, bigoted and apocalyptic terrorist organization. In the context of South Africa’s diabolical foreign policy since 1994, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise!
He really put his foot into his mouth when he implied that the people of Gaza have been living under Israeli occupation for 75 years. This slip of the tongue, displays unmitigated ignorance of the conflict and the extent to which the ANC has digested the language of the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement without reservation. Like the BDS movement, which has as its credo the slogan “From the River to the sea, Palestine will be free”, this calls for the dismantling of the whole state of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian State. Similarly, when Ramaphosa talks of being “occupied” for seventy-five years, he evokes the birth of the nascent Jewish state of Israel in 1948, which is a “coded” message blaming Israel for being a root cause of Palestinian dispossession of their land. Just to be clear, Gaza was under the control of Egypt between 1948 and 1967. If Egypt cared sufficiently about the Palestinian people why did it not grant them independence during this period. Indeed, just a few days ago, President Abdel Fattah Sisi of Egypt refused to offer the Sinai as a safe refuge for any Palestinians, referencing Gazans, under the pretext that they would destabilize the Sinai by launching attacks on Israel. What a damning indictment of the Palestinian people by a fellow Arab?
Make no mistake Ramaphosa and the ANC cannot claim not to have known what the true intentions of Hamas have been all along as they are clearly articulated in the Hamas Charter. The Hamas Charter unashamedly does not call for a peace agreement with Israel; it has labelled such a pursuit:
“a waste of time and vain endeavour”.
In 1988, Hamas became an offshoot of the Moslem Brotherhood which was linked to a number of violent acts and political assassinations which resulted in it being duly banned in Egypt. It callously and unambiguously calls for the eradication of Israel and the slaughter of all Jews (without differentiating between civilian or military targets) and its replacement with an Islamic state. Yet the ANC and its leadership have courted and welcomed Hamas leaders to South Africa on at least one occasion, in October 2015, when its leader Khaled Mashaal and a full Hamas delegation were feted by President Jacob Zuma and Gwede Mantashe. Over four days they also met with many church leaders and NGO’s and felt so at home that they considered opening an office in South Africa. The Anglican Church particularly has not distinguished itself with its partisan support for the Palestinian cause without differentiating between the official representation and the various radical groups, failing consistently to condemn their brutal, murderous and unjustifiable tactics.
The ANC has provided moral solidarity, succour and support to Hamas for decades. In January 2017, Hamas said it “values” the statement by President Jacob Zuma to discourage travel to Israel as a way of showing solidarity with the struggles of the Palestinian people. Only a few days ago, Naledi Pandor spoke to the leader of Hamas who thanked her for the continued unwavering support provided by the ANC. Fikile Mblula, the ANC Secretary-General was quick to defend her for “doing her job”. This week Iran thanked Pandor for South Africa’s sympathetic support for the Palestinian cause. President Ramaphosa, attending a peace conference in Egypt, has continued to issue equivocal and meaningless statements calling for the supply of weapons to be banned to both sides, drawing a parity between the nation state of Israel and the criminal terrorist enterprise of Hamas.
Concurrently, the ANC has curtailed visits to Israel by not only members of the ANC but of any civil servants. The clear intention of this misguided policy has been to withhold and conceal any exposure to the Israeli viewpoint as that could let the genie out of the bottle. It has promoted a singular anti-Israel narrative and even gone as far as labelling Israel an “Apartheid” state. The analogy obviously has the intent of portraying Israel as a nation and people beyond the pale of morality, with the intent of calling for sanctions so as to put unbearable pressure on the Jewish state in order to bring about its demise.
Not only has South Africa forfeited and squandered any role as a neutral interlocutor in peace negotiations between the parties by their unwavering pro-Hamas stance but their failure to call out the human rights abuses of Hamas merely strengthens more radicalisation and further reduces the possibilities of peace.
What can we do in South Africa? Let us look no further than the recent words of British author and head of the UK-based national security think tank Henry Jackson Society Douglas Murray, who although referencing Britain applies to South Africa in an even greater extent because of its ANC government’s spurning of its Jewish citizens:
“It is not acceptable, it should not be acceptable that the Jewish community, among all the different communities of this country should be the one community in this diverse country, that should be expected to accept with equanimity those who cheer on the murder of Jews and those who support the murder of Jews and then being scorned for their fellow Jews being murdered.”
About the writer:
A former Chairperson of the Cape Branch of the South African Zionist Federation, Ben Levitas includes among his alma maters, the University of the Witwatersrand, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of Pretoria and the London School of Economics.
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