Update: South Africa turns up the pressure on Israel

on 15 Comments

Update: Breaking news: Electronic Intifada reports that South Africa’s African National Congress makes support for Israel boycott its official policy. This is an unprecedented development and represents a major breakthrough in the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement. BDS South Africa representative said the decision “by the ANC’s National Conference, its highest decision making body, is by far the most authoritative endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign.” A senior BDS Movement official in an email exchange with Mondoweiss, said “Our partners did an amazing job, and we — collectively, BNC [BDS National Committee] + SA partners — had the right ingredients all at the right time to defeat the lobby, hands down!”  Original post follows.

It sounds as though the South African Government is getting fed up enough with Israel intransigence that it might be getting ready to turn up the heat.

From South Africa’s City Press Newspaper (via BDSSouthAfrica): South Africa turns up the pressure on Israel

But behind the scenes, South Africa is considering lobbying members of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations to take joint action in General Assembly.

[South Africa’s Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim] Ebrahim said this week South Africa was concerned at the inability of the UN Security Council to take meaningful action to move negotiations forward.

He said: “The silence of both these bodies during the recent crisis in Gaza is indicative of the paralysis and the need for a new approach in resolving the situation”.

In the Non-Aligned Movement, South Africa will target Malaysia and Indonesia to help lobby for joint action. China has also recently spoken out against the military action that Israel undertook against the Palestinians in Gaza.

This is exciting news. And what is meaningful action? Possibly the ambassador being sent home:

For the first time now, South Africa is envisaging the possible expulsion of Israeli envoy.

“We might decide further down the line that we have to ask the Israeli ambassador to go”, the senior official said, adding that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction campaign was having an effect on the SA government’s stance. “

“We are under pressure every day from the campaign, and we have to do more than we have ever done before.”

And if behind the scenes, South Africa is considering lobbying members of BRIC, the world’s foremost emerging economies, it indicates that the country is seriously considering the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction campaign’s call for, at a minimum, divestment.

The decision by the South African government to call in the Israeli ambassador to the department of international relations is the first step in the process to take a stronger stance against Israel in the Middle Eastern crisis, a senior South African government official told City Press.

Stronger stance? Cross your fingers. The steady persistence of BDS SouthAfrica is widely admired and appreciated.

South Africa’s City Press Newspaper December 9, 2012
About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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15 Responses

  1. gingershot
    December 20, 2012, 2:01 pm

    I think South Africa taking the lead against Apartheid is a powerful meme

  2. MLE
    December 20, 2012, 3:47 pm


    Sorry, I just wanted to see how it feels yelling that at people.

  3. pabelmont
    December 20, 2012, 3:53 pm

    This news, if true, is as powerful as can be. (Can anyone find the original City Press article?) No country better than South Africa can verify Israel’s apartheid-like behavior or with greater justification object to it. If, as Ira Chernus is saying, Obama is looking to other countries to bring Israel to heel, which better than SA to lead?

    Of course, SA’s Jewish community is not taking all this lying down.

    City Press may be the paper to watch!

  4. Annie Robbins
    December 20, 2012, 4:03 pm

    OMG! it happened already!!!!!! South Africa’s ANC makes support for Israel boycott its official policy


    • lysias
      December 20, 2012, 4:48 pm

      And look at what else they did:

      BDS South Africa also applauded the ANC National Conference for passing a resolution that “abhors the recent Israeli state-sponsored xenophobic attacks and deportation of Africans” and to “request that this matter should be escalated to the African Union.”

  5. mondonut
    December 20, 2012, 4:08 pm

    He said: “The silence of both these bodies during the recent crisis in Gaza Syria is indicative of the paralysis and the need for a new approach in resolving the situation”.


    About time.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 20, 2012, 5:14 pm

      i think south africa has a particular awareness of apartheid not applicable to the situation in syria. and pardon us, but the conflict in syria is not even 2 years old, whereas it’s been decades in palestine.

      and by all means continue to shed your crocodile tears over syria, i’m confident everyone will be convinced of your concern/not. from today, did you notice:


      • sardelapasti
        December 20, 2012, 7:04 pm

        Even more than the Apartheid, it’s karma. The still fresh, foul-smelling memory of Zionist support to South African segregationist colonialism since the start, with Weizmann who seems to have been buddies with Jan Smuts and sent him his unspeakable Litvaks in his hour of need, then later the Zionist entity who militarily, financially etc. supported the RSA to the hilt –with British and US money.
        The ANC and the people remember.

    • justicewillprevail
      December 20, 2012, 5:57 pm

      I think it is rather that the ANC have a particular interest in aligning themselves with, and supporting, a people suffering under an apartheid regime. Their support will be particularly welcome because of that recognition. They could issue a bulletin on Syria, and every other trouble spot in the world, if it pleases you, but it does not have the same historic or ethical relationship which no doubt motivated their statement.

  6. just
    December 20, 2012, 5:57 pm


    Thank you SA and ANC for such a wonderful gift in the name of justice and peace.

  7. iResistDe4iAm
    December 21, 2012, 6:46 am

    From those who should know:

    “The UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” ~ Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa, December 1997

    “They took Israel away from the Arabs after the Arabs lived there for a thousand years. Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.” ~ Hendrik Verwoerd, Prime Minister of South Africa and architect of South Africa’s Apartheid policies, 1961

  8. ebertus
    December 21, 2012, 1:30 pm

    South Africa is on its way to emancipate oneself, will seriously disagree with what is called The German “Staatsräson” and so far shows understanding in this, in their historical and even actual responsibility.

    Despite the fact, that Israeli-Apartheid ist much more different from that in the former South Africa, spreads wider in the topics to adress and is somtimes difficult to understand in the subtile impact when it comes to “crime against humanity”.

  9. yourstruly
    December 22, 2012, 5:04 pm

    south africa’s support for palestinian liberation represents the familiar identification of a previously oppressed people with a present-day counterpart. what’s unusual re: palestine/israel is that, here, some (many) members of a previously oppressed people, jews, upon being presented with the opportunity, they themselves become the oppressors.

    • yourstruly
      December 22, 2012, 5:19 pm

      yet despite their now being the oppressor?

      their insistance that they’re still the ones being oppressed

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