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Zuma, Mantashe send mixed messages on Israel

  • 5774-Mantashe Gwede
The schizophrenic relationship between SA & Israel was again highlighted last week after President Zuma & a senior government delegation met the Board & Fed & gave them his assurance that SA’s policy remained unchanged. 3 days later ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe made it clear much had. SA has joined the call for cultural, academic & education boycotts, banned travel for all members of government & officials, won’t do business with Capegate, G4Security & Caterpillar, boycott OT goods & develop comprehensive solidarity during a UN Month of Solidarity with Palestine.
by ANT KATZ | Sep 27, 2014
On Friday 19 September 2014 in “Leaders meet Zuma & team on threats to Jews” Jewish Report noted that President Jacob Zuma, three of his cabinet ministers and the DG in the Presidency had met a delegation of Jewish leaders from the Board & Fed the previous evening to discuss the sharp rise in anti-Semitic activity in SA.

These, said the Board, included threats and intimidation against the members of the community and the leadership. Zuma had unequivocally rejected anti-Semitism and all forms of intolerance, said the Board, and emphasised need for harmony between people of different backgrounds and opinions in SA. 

sara - Jack's productsThe President had reiterated that there was no change in the Government’s policy towards Israel on the evening of 18 September.

 

NEC Meeting

The very next day the ANC’s National Executive Committee held a three-day-long summit – from September 19 to 21. The following day a statement was issued and was clearly marked as being authored by Secretary General Gwede Mantashe.

Referring to discussions and decisions relating to international relations issues, Mantashe said in his September 22 statement, ”the NEC took the following decisions:”

Endorsement of the programme of solidarity with Palestine, in particular:

  • Intensification of engagement in multi-lateral institutions.
  • Joining the call for a cultural, academic and education boycott of Israel including travel bans for members and leaders of the ANC, the Alliance, Members of Cabinet, Members of Parliament and Government Officials.
  • Companies that do business in the occupied territory, such as Capegate, G4Security and Caterpillar must not be allowed to business with state.
  • Goods manufactured in the occupied territory should be boycotted.
  • The development of a comprehensive programme of solidarity during the UN Month of Solidarity with Palestine.

Mixed messages – which one is real?

For some time now the emergence of schizophrenic ANC positions on Israel has been emerging.

On the one hand there is the Luthuli House faction, the political arm of the ANC which chooses to take the populist view of Israel-bashing at every turn, making promises the anti-Israel forces, mandating them at congresses but unable to get their colleagues in Government to deliver on them.

And for good reason too. 

Because on the other side are the the ANC members who are in government and seem to be taking the pragmatic view that the relationship, which is this year likely to reach a two-way trade of around $1.5-bil, the fact that over half of the middle east tourist arrivals in SA are from Israel and other growing political and trade ties are here to stay. This camp also believes that SA could have a role to play in assisting in a negotiated two-state settlement.

 

The rancour goes back a long way

3-ANC face-offOn 15 October 2013 in Anti-Semitism causes clash of ANC big-wigs Jewish Report spoke to then-ANC veteran MP Ben Turok who had lodged a complaint with his party against W/Cape chair Marius Fransman for making anti-Semitic comments about the Jewish community.

Then came the twin issues of ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte issuing a statement on behalf of her party, saying, inter alia, that: “As we move towards the month of August and are reminded of the atrocities of Nazi Germany, surely we must ask the people of Israel has the term ‘lest we forget’ lost it meaning?”

This was followed shortly after by the party’s Western Cape social media communications manager, Rene Smit’s posting of a photograph of Hitler with the words "Yes man (Hitler) you were right" and "I could have killed all the Jews but I left some of them to let you know why I was killing them."

Jewish Report’s Ant Katz held an extensive and exclusive interview with Mantashe that resulted in the stories: “ANC Okay with staffer posting Hitler analogies with Jews” published on July 15 in which Mantashe refused to take responsibility for Rene Smit’s Hitler posting. SAJBD national executive director Wendy Kahn was furious about the statement and Mantashe’s refusal to take responsibility or action.

On June 17 2014, Jewish Report published “ANC flatly refuses to remove blinkers” quoting from the same interview that Mantashe explained that “the ANC’s top-six had ‘instructed’ Ms Duarte to immediately take three weeks’ stress leave – as had most senior officials since the election,” he said at the time. Mantashe then promptly said he could not speak on behalf of Duarte.

The interview came in the wake of the very offensive Holocaust remarks made by “MS JESSE DUARTE” which the Board and Fed referred a in a no-holds-barred response as a VENOMOUS & INSULTING STATEMENT likening Israel to Hitler’s Nazis. 

Writing from Jerusalem at the time, SA Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein didn’t mince his words either, demanding that the ANC and Duarte: “PUT UP OR SHUT UP!“ was the headline of the Jewish Report’s story quoting the Chief rabbi to “Retract or debate me!”. Needless to say, neither happened.

 

Business Day

Reporting on a SAPA statement, Business day’s headlines screamed: MANTASHE TELLS ANC OFFICIALS TO BOYCOTT ISRAEL early this week. ANC members and leaders should not travel to Israel as the party is in solidarity with the people of Palestine, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said. "(We are) joining the call for (a) cultural, academic and education boycott of Israel, including travel bans for members and leaders of the ANC, the alliance, members of Cabinet, Members of Parliament and government officials," Mr Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg.

"Companies that do business in the occupied territory, such as Cape Gate, G4Security and Caterpillar, must not be allowed to do business with the state. Goods manufactured in the occupied territory should be boycotted."

The schizophrenic relationship between SA & Israel was again highlighted last week after President Zuma & a senior government delegation met the Board & Fed & gave them his assurance that SA’s policy remained unchanged. 3 days later ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe made it clear much had. SA has joined the call for cultural, academic & education boycotts, banned travel for all members of government & officials, won’t do business with Capegate, G4Security & Caterpillar, boycott OT goods & develop comprehensive solidarity during a UN Month of Solidarity with Palestine.

 

On Friday 19 September 2014 in “Leaders meet Zuma & team on threats to Jews” Jewish Report noted that President Jacob Zuma, three of his cabinet ministers and the DG in the Presidency had met a delegation of Jewish leaders from the Board & Fed the previous evening to discuss the sharp rise in anti-Semitic activity in SA. These, said the Board, included threats and intimidation against the members of the community and the leadership. Zuma had unequivocally rejected anti-Semitism and all forms of intolerance, said the Board, and emphasised need for harmony between people of different backgrounds and opinions in SA.

The President had reiterated that there was no change in the Government’s policy towards Israel on the evening of 18 September.

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