As the anti-Israel and pro-Palestine lobby gets stronger in South Africa and abroad, the Friends of Israel group in South Africa has called for the reinstatement of a Democratic Alliance councillor facing disciplinary action from her party for pro-Israel statements.
The group also asked people to sign a petition to urge the South African government not to break its ties with the Jewish state.
Dr Mpho Phalatse, member of the mayoral committee for health and social development in the City of Joburg metro, is facing possible disciplinary action from her party after she told a Friends of Israel conference at the weekend that she and the City of Joburg were friends of Israel.
Her statement is said to have embarrassed the DA, which favours a two-state solution to the Palestinian issue.
She was subsequently suspended by her boss, mayor of Joburg Herman Mashaba. Her case has been taken up by the provincial DA office.
Party provincial leader John Moodey has referred the matter to the party’s federal legal commission for an investigation and a subsequent decision.
Yesterday, the Friends of Israel group called for Phalatse to be reinstated immediately.
The group’s Gauteng provincial chairperson, Ben Swartz, said they were appalled and devastated at the chain of events which had led to Phalatse’s suspension.
He said: “It is a sad day when elected officials in South Africa are not free to attend events of their choosing and express their personal religious or political views.
“This is indicative of the environment in which Israel is being demonised to a degree that bears no relationship to reality.”
Anti-Israel bigotry did not only threaten the rights of the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of South Africans who were passionate supporters of the Jewish state, it also posed a serious threat to democracy in this country, Swartz added.
“Dr Mpho Phalatse has become the latest target of this totalitarian strategy,” he said.