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