ANC big­otry laid bare

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

Azad Essa is a jour­nal­ist at Al Jazeera. He is also co-founder of The Daily Vox.

LAST week the DA’s Mmusi Maimane vis­ited Is­rael. Out­rage came quick and fast, and while he de­served ev­ery bit of it, we need to be care­ful of those ex­ploit­ing the is­sue for po­lit­i­cal mileage.

The ANC has been at the fore in crit­i­cis­ing Maimane’s de­ci­sion to go to Jerusalem and cosy up with Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu. Zizi Kodwa, the spokesman for the ANC, said the me­dia jun­ket showed how the DA was “funded and con­trolled by apartheid Is­rael sym­pa­this­ers”. Even though this may be true, how can the ANC re­buke Maimane for ro­manc­ing Is­rael when it’s done far worse? Un­for­tu­nately, like all things ANC, poli­cies and prac­tice are poles apart. Here’s why: 1. The ANC dis­cour­ages travel to Is­rael. What does this even mean? If the ANC is up­set with Maimane’s visit to Is­rael, why do we still have an em­bassy in Tel Aviv?

Yes, party and gov­ern­ment are not the same, but this coun­try’s been led by the ANC since 1994 – what’s stop­ping them?

Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Bo­livia have cut off re­la­tions. Why haven’t we done the same?

2. Last year Sisa Ngom­bane, our am­bas­sador to Is­rael, spoke of Op­er­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge or the in­va­sion of Gaza in 2014, as if par­rot­ing a memo from the Is­raeli military. Never mind the oc­cu­pa­tion, never mind the siege, never mind the refugees. Ngom­bane went on to blame the vic­tims for the work of their op­pres­sors. He was nei­ther dis­ci­plined nor re­called. For­get ask­ing the DA to ac­cept Is­rael as an apartheid state when your own rep­re­sen­ta­tive is de­fend­ing Is­rael.

3. We all know how univer­sity stu­dents were treated dur­ing the #FeesMustFall protests of late 2015 and last year. They were beaten, shot with rub­ber bul­lets and tear­gas and trau­ma­tised by wa­ter can­nons. It turns out that those wa­ter can­nons used by our po­lice were pro­cured from an Is­raeli com­pany. Yes, our stu­dents were sprayed on their faces by the same can­nons the Is­raeli army uses to fire fae­ces on pro­test­ers in the oc­cu­pied Pales­tinian ter­ri­to­ries.

4. The boy­cott and sanc­tions cam­paign of the 1970s and 1980s played a cru­cial role in dis­abling apartheid South Africa. In 2012, the ANC for­mally adopted Boy­cott Divest­ment and Sanc­tions (BDS) of Is­rael as an of­fi­cial pol­icy of the party, a move widely lauded for its pointed at­tempt to pres­sure Is­rael into amend­ing its ways.

Per­haps they should act against a cer­tain Philip Krawitz, chair­man of Cape Union Mart. It turns out that Krawitz was hon­oured in Is­rael in 2015 for help­ing raise a fat-load of cash for the Jewish state.

Not only that, the City of Cape Town raised the most money per capita for Is­rael dur­ing Op­er­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge. More than 2 100 peo­ple died in Gaza dur­ing this op­er­a­tion. This is money leav­ing our shores to fund killers. Why has no ac­tion been taken?

5. On the note of killers, there’s a moun­tain of ev­i­dence that South Africans have fought for the Is­raeli army.

While it’s il­le­gal to fight for a for­eign or­gan­i­sa­tion or coun­try any­where, up to 150 peo­ple are be­lieved to have fought for Is­rael. Ac­cord­ing to the Times of Is­rael, South African-Is­raelis would face “se­ri­ous in­con­ve­nience” if pros­e­cuted and so those in uni­form have been asked not to post pho­tos on so­cial me­dia. And de­spite in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tions be­ing launched against cer­tain in­di­vid­u­als, again, no ac­tion has been taken.

6. Fi­nally, and this is prob­a­bly the most telling of the lot. If Nel­son Man­dela and the ANC would not ac­cept any­thing but “one-man-one-vote” in their ne­go­ti­a­tions with the Na­tional Party – how can the ANCled gov­ern­ment’s of­fi­cial stance push for a two-state so­lu­tion to the Pales­tine-Is­rael prob­lem? Would it have made sense for the ANC to ac­cept the pur­pose­fully mal­nour­ished Ban­tus­tans as one coun­try and al­lowed white South Africa to swal­low up the rest? How is it that in this day and age we are fine with posit­ing “two states for two peo­ple”? Are th­ese two equal sides, fight­ing a sym­met­ri­cal war?

That is not the talk of lib­er­a­tors; this is the lex­i­con of the op­pres­sors. The so­lu­tion is one-state where all bod­ies have equal rights and priv­i­leges. We all know it.

If the ANC or the gov­ern­ment cared about the Pales­tini­ans and jus­tice, it wouldn’t care so much about the DA’s big­otry. It would care about its own.

Mmusi Maimane shakes hands with Prime Min­is­ter of Is­rael Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu.

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