Update: South Africa turns up the pressure on Israel

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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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