ANC’s de­mon­i­sa­tion of Is­rael ig­nores in­con­ve­nient truths


IHAVE sup­ported the ANC for decades, and thus far re­sisted the temp­ta­tion to call out the or­gan­i­sa­tion with re­gard to its for­eign pol­icy to­wards Is­rael, but now my si­lence bor­ders on sin­ful. The pol­icy is dis­turb­ing be­cause it dis­re­gards the fun­da­men­tal pre­req­ui­sites of for­eign pol­icy – clar­ity, trans­parency and con­sis­tency.

It has be­come the norm to pub­licly cas­ti­gate Is­rael as a re­li­able scape­goat and thus re­di­rect the pub­lic’s at­ten­tion else­where, which is ex­actly what tran­spired soon after the ANC’s Jan­uary 8 state­ment.

The ANC’s view on Is­rael is di­vorced from his­tory and re­al­ity; and this is sur­pris­ing, given our own re­cent his­tory of dis­pos­ses­sion.

Any peo­ple that have ever felt the yolk of colo­nial­ism should un­der­stand the plight of the Jewish peo­ple in Is­rael. Colo­nial em­pires thrived on dis­pos­sess­ing indige­nous peo­ple of their land, and the only dif­fer­ence be­tween us Africans and the Jews is that we were in­ter­nally dis­placed, while the Jewish peo­ple were dis­pos­sessed and ex­iled.

Is it il­le­gal or un­de­sir­able for Jewish ex­iles to re­turn to their an­ces­tral home­land, and do ex­iles for­feit their right to do so be­cause they fled per­se­cu­tion? In the case of Is­rael, the world deems this un­de­sir­able – but then how is it pos­si­ble for our pres­i­dent, Ja­cob Zuma, and oth­ers in the lib­er­a­tion move­ment to re­turn from ex­ile in 1990, yet con­demn Is­rael for set­tle­ments and oc­cu­pa­tion?

The ANC sin­gles out Is­rael for spe­cial at­ten­tion based on a false pre­text, yet it en­dorses the One China Pol­icy – which treats Tai­wan and Ti­bet as mere prov­inces of China. The Dalai Lama has been in ex­ile since 1959, yet both the ANC and our gov­ern­ment do not sup­port the as­pi­ra­tions of the Ti­betan peo­ple. The same ap­plied when Rus­sia an­nexed Crimea.

The ANC is un­able to find the moral for­ti­tude to con­demn th­ese abuses be­cause th­ese coun­tries are two of our ma­jor part­ners. Con­sider the fol­low­ing two res­o­lu­tions from the ANC’s con­fer­ence in Man­gaung in 2012. The Syr­ian Luba Mayekiso is the na­tional di­rec­tor of the South Africa branch of the In­ter­na­tional Chris­tian Em­bassy in Jerusalem. civil war at that stage had a death toll in ex­cess of 37 000 but the ANC, in three para­graphs, con­demned the civil war and vi­o­lence, and sup­ported UN-led peace ef­forts. In com­par­i­son, it de­voted a page pledg­ing sol­i­dar­ity with the Pales­tini­ans and en­dorsed cam­paigns against Is­rael.

With the death toll now in ex­cess of 400 000, the ANC is “deeply dis­turbed by the sit­u­a­tion in Syria”. The Pales­tini­ans, how­ever, get pledges of sol­i­dar­ity, en­dorse­ment of UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tion 2334, and we are told not to travel to Is­rael un­less for a peace mis­sion!

I travel to Is­rael at least twice a year, and the facts on the ground paint a dif­fer­ent pic­ture to the ANC’s lament. One won­ders how many of those who de­cided on this travel ban have vis­ited the re­gion or ac­quainted them­selves with the facts.

The ANC is part of an un­re­lent­ing cru­sade to de­monise Is­rael. The na­tions be­hind UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tion 2334 in­clude China, France, Rus­sia, the UK, the US, New Zealand and Spain. How do they stand against scru­tiny if we are to be­lieve that th­ese coun­tries can, with moral au­thor­ity, lec­ture Is­rael about co­ex­is­tence? What would the na­tive Amer­i­can In­di­ans have to say about their con­tin­ued plight in John Kerry’s demo­cratic Amer­ica? What about the Ti­betans and Tai­wanese in China or the African coun­tries where France con­tin­ues to med­dle in their af­fairs?

The world con­ve­niently for­gets that it was the Arab na­tions that, un­pro­voked, in­vaded the newly formed State of Is­rael in 1948, re­sult­ing in armistice lines that are viewed as fixed his­tor­i­cal bor­ders.

How can we as black peo­ple ad­vo­cate for the re­turn of our an­ces­tral land in Africa and even en­act the Resti­tu­tion of Land Act to fa­cil­i­tate this, but deny the same right to the Jewish peo­ple with­out be­ing hyp­ocrites?

Most Africans do not sup­port this jaun­diced view of the ANC to­wards Is­rael, and so we must won­der what would cause or­gan­i­sa­tions and politi­cians to dis­card facts and re­al­ity in favour of per­pet­u­at­ing myths.

SA can­not claim an­ces­tral land yet deny Jewish peo­ple the same right

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