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ANC, MJC to hold protest against Israel




They say the march – in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza – will aim to express “growing anger from our members and communities against the increased violence of the Israeli regime and the clamping down on the March of Return”.

The protesters will demand “decisive action to be taken by our government, starting with the implementation of the downgrade of the South African Embassy in Israel”, said ANC provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs at a media briefing on Wednesday.

Leaders of the MJC, as well as of the ANC Youth League and BDS, also called on the people of the Western Cape to join the protest. Maulana Abdul-Khaliq Allie of the MJC said that the organisation supports the BDS campaign and that, just like South Africans are dealing with land expropriation, so are Palestinians. “This is land that we own,” he said.

In response to this statement, SA Zionist Federation chairman Ben Swartz asked rhetorically: “When the MJC says: ‘This is land that we own’, who is it speaking for? Is this a religious war? Is the MJC Palestinian?”

Reverend Edwin Arrison, chairperson of the NC4P, told the media about “South Africa Park”, where the South African flag flies in Israel. This, thanks to donations made to the Jewish National Fund by many South African Jews in order to build trees there. Arrison called the park “completely unacceptable, as it looks like South Africa supports the destruction of Palestinian villages”.

Muhammad Desai, national co-ordinator of BDS South Africa, compared Israel’s defence of its Gaza border to the Sharpeville massacre, saying it should be isolated from the international community.

Muhammad Khalid Sayed, chairman of the ANC Youth League in the Western Cape, said: “The media usually protect the ‘Zionist lobby’.” He added that this march was not “merely to drum up support for the ANC ahead of elections, but to hold Israel to account”.

Sayed promised to bring Cape Town to a standstill, and said he would also demand that South Africans serving in Israel’s Defence Forces be criminalised.

In answering a question from the SA Jewish Report about whether the ANC still supports a two-state solution, Jacobs said the party supported a negotiated settlement that could lead to one state. For its part, the MJC declared that it only supported a one-state solution, calling a two-state solution “Bantustan ideology”.

Swartz commented: “What is most concerning for South Africa and South African Jewry is how the ANC is no longer calling for a two-state solution. A one-state solution is, in simple terms, calling for the destruction of the State of Israel. The ANC needs to stop and evaluate the path it is being blindly led down.

“If this is the position it wants to take, it has quantifying implications for everyone. It is a radical position that not even Arab countries are taking. Does the ANC want to align itself with Iran and Hamas? It is going over the edge and is no longer in touch with the situation on the ground.”

At the press briefing, Terry Crawford-Browne of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign demanded that the government go beyond a downgrade of South Africa’s embassy in Israel, calling for severing ties completely with the Jewish state. Other members of the media asked for clarification on what the downgrade meant.

The organisers assured the Jewish community that the march will be peaceful, that it will take place with permission and that there won’t be any vandalism or threats to safety.

They said that this march “is not against Jewish people but against Zionism”, and called on “our Jewish compatriots who love freedom and democracy to join the march”.

Said Swartz: “The fantasy that Jews and the land of Israel can be separated is exactly that. No matter how often that lie is repeated, it will never become a reality, and the absolute overwhelming majority of Jews will always stand by, and remain connected to, Israel.”

Joshua Hovsha, director of the Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies, said the board “supports all people’s right to protest and to freedom of speech”.

“However,” he added, “we are concerned about the Western Cape ANC’s motivation behind the march, especially in the context of recent anti-Semitic remarks made in provincial government and past patterns of anti-Semitism in the ANC Western Cape, such as when Tony Ehrenreich called for ‘an eye for an eye’ against the Jewish community.

“We welcome open dialogue with the ANC and MJC, but our invitations have been ignored to date. We aim to make the Western Cape a place for no hate, where political parties and various faiths engage and understanding is promoted. Our focus should be working together to make our province a better place,” said Hovsha.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Sheryl

    Apr 19, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    ‘This is so crazy! Whatever happened to the good old days in S.A where this would be ever happen!’

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