Lobby group South African Jews for a Free Palestine (SAJFP) has applauded the move by the governing ANC to downgrade South Africa’s embassy in Tel Aviv, although the decision has been slammed by the Israeli embassy in Pretoria, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the South African Zionist Federation.
A resolution adopted by the African National Congress at its 54th Conference the party unanimously resolved that the government should downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to a liaison office “in order to give our practical expression of support to the oppressed people of Palestine”.
“This move by the ANC actively applies pressure on Israel’s government to end its violations of international law. As members of the Jewish community we believe that this is one of the most practical things that South Africa can do to contribute towards a just peace in Palestine-Israel,” SAJFP said in a a statement.
Earlier this year a group of Jewish Israelis wrote to the ANC supporting the call for a downgrade of diplomatic relations and the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) boycott of Israel.
They said an international campaign, similar to the boycott against South Africa’s apartheid government, was essential.
Jewish activists in many countries and in Israel itself have committed themselves to the non-violent BDS movement.
“We South Africans, in our diversity, are united in our solidarity with the Palestinians, our opposition to Israeli Apartheid and our quest for justice,” SAJFP said.
While supporters of BDS compare the movement with the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, critics reject the charge that Israel is an apartheid state.
– African News Agency (ANA)