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Did BDS & MRN try to outfox DA?

Article by MRN’s Jassat Monday would appear to be part of a much larger strategy aimed at pushing the ANC government to follow the ANC party line on the Middle East. While the headquarters of the party at Luthuli House would like to be calling the shots, the more pragmatic Cabinet recognises the importance to the SA economy of having closer ties with Israel. They may have caught the DA asleep, but Jassat has awoken a sleeping giant in JZ. “The findings will propel the Zuma administration to review its foreign policy,” wrote Jassat pre-emtively.

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ANT KATZ

Iqbal Jassat, a senior executive at the anti-Israeli Media Review Network https://www.sajr.co.za/images/default-source/People/single/bergman-darren-long.jpg” class=”sfImageWrapper”>Bergman, Darren longThe DA constantly walks a fine line on mid-East politics, counting on many Muslim voters and much Jewish votes and funding. They had famously dropped the ball at the Cape Town Conference in December which left them with egg on their faces ahead of the elections early this year.

Landed in Bergman’s lap

Seasoned Jewish DA politician Darren Bergman (pictured at right), now a DA MP and deputy shadow minister of Sport and Recreation, has found this issue landing on his lap.

And management was called for. Jassat has really thrown a spanner in the works by making statements like: “SA’s increasing interest in Palestine and its woes is beginning to manifest in ways that’s likely to attract more antagonism from Israel and her lobbyists”.

“We at MNR … hope that the quality of their findings will unleash greater momentum within SA to fulfil aspirations and desires of Palestinians to gain freedom, dignity and justice” wrote Jasset. “The mission will in all likelihood draw the ire and fire of a deeply wounded pro-Israel lobby in SA.”

He also wrote that the delegation “must brace themselves for a barrage of attacks from the Israeli lobby corner… Its ugly and undignified, yet synonymous with the type of ‘hasbarah’ Israel expects its army of defenders to undertake”.

Ntuli Mbali.jp

LEFT: Caught in the middle, DA KZN MPL Mbali Ntuli may well have been a pawn in BDS’ game


“MNR aims to “propel the Zuma administration to review its foreign policy on Israel. For instance the skewed approach of so-called ‘even handedness’.”

 

DA’s quick action

 “Our party has a travel policy,” Darren Bergman of the DA  told Jewish Report, “and questions will be asked about whether our travel policy was followed and should the trip have been undertaken.”

While it would appear that the anti-Israel lobby may have outfoxed their more naïve KZN MPL and her provincial chairman, who appears to have signed off on the trip, there are several issues that the DA will need to investigate.

Mbali returns today (Wednesday) and will be meeting the leadership tomorrow – and Bergman has given an undertaking to get back to Jewish Report Online later this week.

The DA is holding several concurrent discussions, says Bergman, but nothing can be finalised until they are able to speak to Mbali. He is adamant that, at this stage there are no judges or juries, just questions which are being asked.

The questions that need asking

One such question must be, now that the DA knows more about the trip, would the party have sanctioned Mbali’s joining the delegation?

Among what the DA needs to be asking itself is:

  • Was the DA Travel Policy followed – and, if so, does their policy need to be interrogated?;
  • If the policy was flouted or ignored, at what point was this error made?;
  • Does the DA Travel Policy include sufficient voracity and do the structures follow it accordingly?; and
  • Even if the trip was correctly sanctioned, it could still result in another investigation into why the party accepted funding from groups it would normally steer clear of.

 

More about politicking than fact-finding?

 

Based on the reading of Jasset’s statement, Bergman says he suspects that the trip may have been more about politicking than a fact-finding mission. “The timing of these types of press releases whenever the government is under pressure over the Israel question.”

He may be correct as Jasset’s article (SEE FULL TEXT BELOW) seems to pre-empt the outcome of the report, inter alia when he writes of his “hope that Pityana and his colleagues will not spare the Zionist regime”.

Ironically, Israel has come up twice in Parliament this week and it seems increasingly likely that the pro-Palestinian lobby may have outmanoeuvred the DA to use Mbali and the party’s names to add credibility to the final report.

SEE: 25 content items relating to Darren Bergman

 


Online Editor’s comment

The article below by Iqbal Jassat appeared on POLITICSWEB on Monday, as well as on his own MRN website – and would appear from the most cursory glance to be part of a much larger strategy aimed at pushing the ANC Government to follow the ANC party line on the Middle East. While the headquarters of the party at Luthuli House would like to be calling the shots, the more pragmatic Cabinet recognises the importance to the SA economy of having closer ties with Israel.

Jassat and his MRN pull many of the anti-Israel strings in SA. But he usually likes to be a behind-the-scenes man – and by seemingly jumping the gun and gloating a little too early on Monday, may yet fail in his coup attempt – if that is what he had in mind.

The anti-Israel side managed to outmanoeuvre and use the naiveté of the KZN DA towards their BDS-aligned goals – we will know more about that later in the week – stay tuned.

Jasset’s article, below, may yet prove to be the downfall of what could have proved to be a powerful weapon. Sending a “multiparty” “fact-finding” mission to Israel, Palestine, Gaza to meet with Hamas et al – all paid for by purported neo-Nazis.

But, by pre-empting “the findings” which he says he hopes will “propel the Zuma administration to review its foreign policy on Israel,” he has seemingly overplayed his hand and awoken what appears to be a very angry DA. And by further pre-empting the outcome as one which he writes will be “likely to attract the ire of the Israel lobby”, he has shot himself in the foot.

This story has legs – watch out for the updates! 

 


SA fact-finding mission in Israel raises Palestinian hopes

Jassat IqbalBy Iqbal Jassat – Executive: Media Review Network, Johannesburg

27 October 2014

Iqbal Jassat Executive: Media Review Network, Johannesburg says he hopes Barney Pityana, Vusi Pikoli, Mbali Ntuli and others will not spare the Zionist regime

South Africa’s increasing interest in Palestine and its woes is beginning to manifest in ways that’s likely to attract more antagonism from Israel and her lobbyists.

Currently a number of South Africans are in Israel to gain first-hand insight of conditions faced by Palestinians under Occupation as well as experience the political and humanitarian situation there. 

Delegates include Prof Barney Pityana, Adv Vusi Pikoli, MPL Mbala Ntuli, Adv Adila Hassim, Prof Firoz Cachalia, Dr Christi van der Westhuizen and Brad Brockman.

In a statement issued by the joint organisers of the trip, the Heinrich Boll Foundation Southern Africa [HBF] and Open Shuhada Street [OSS], they undertake that the delegates will meet and interact with both Israeli and Palestinian civil society “working to end the conflict and advance human rights and social justice, as well as political representatives…” Among other activities, the group will visit and observe military court proceedings in the West Bank, visit the Jordan valley to understand the politics of water and its impact on Palestinian farmers. 

As they wrap up their fact-finding mission, we at Media Review Network, are keenly anticipating a thorough and detailed report-back. We hope that the quality of their findings will unleash greater momentum within South Africa to fulfil aspirations and desires of Palestinians to gain freedom, dignity and justice.

We are well aware that the mission will in all likelihood draw the ire and fire of a deeply wounded pro-Israel lobby in South Africa. Their hostile reaction to any critique of Israel’s apartheid policies is by now predictable. It’s a phenomenon closely associated with blind support, which lately has overspilled in hate campaigns as is evident in the insulting treatment meted to Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Cachalia, Pityana and colleagues must brace themselves for a barrage of attacks from the Israeli lobby corner, some of whom have already resorted to demonising via Twitter and Facebook. Its ugly and undignified, yet synonymous with the type of “hasbarah” (propaganda) Israel expects its army of defenders to undertake.

The visit nevertheless raises expectations within South African civil society as to whether the findings will propel the Zuma administration to review its foreign policy on Israel. For instance the skewed approach of so-called  “even-handedness” is an unfair disadvantage to Palestinians as an occupied people as against the unlimited advantage enjoyed by Israel in every sphere of economic, social, cultural, military and political link resulting from full diplomatic relations.

That racist profiling informed by Islamophobia gave the group a taste of Israel’s apartheid as soon as they arrived there, with the detention of Section27’s Advocate Adila Hassim – albeit for three hours of interrogation, raises the hope that Pityana and his colleagues will not spare the Zionist regime.


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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Jon Swerd

    Oct 31, 2014 at 3:10 am

    ‘The Left Wing Cabal are at it again.

    It’s the age old problem of dealing with anti semitism that will never disappear no matter what we do,how obsequious we become or how intelligently we respond.

    We will always be subjected to \” the longest hatred \” and  just be tolerated by the other religions,the supposedly cultured,the atheists,the agnostics,the left,the right,the centre,the watchmakers,the butchers,the bakers and everyone else.

    The response should be to continually try to educate these bigots and dogmatists and if all else fails go on Aliyah circumstances permitting.’

  2. Choni

    Oct 31, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    ‘Jon Swerd. At last I have an ally.’

  3. Adam Levy

    Nov 5, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    ‘Choni

    choni – we eagerly awaiting your making good on your threat to emigrate. please do everyone a favour and GO. NOW.’

  4. nat cheiman

    Nov 6, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    ‘Jassat and his cronies are more predictable than Goebels and his pals during the nazi era. The muslim cabal prey on ignorance and guilt from the apartheid era. A debate would knock them out of the ring and prove that muslims \”work\” the propaganda machine.
    \nIslam is not a peaceful religion and anyone that keeps pace with world events, knows that muslims in general do not contribute to world peace. How can they when EVERY MUSLIM country on earth is at war with Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus and atheists.
    \nWhen they themselves are bombed and killed they call it \”disproportionate\”. Australia is the only country in the world who have told Muslims \”if you don’t like it here, you can leave\”. And taken away their passports when a risk of terrorism is suspected. OZ has virtually no risk anymore because the Aussies call it as they see it. NO DIPLOMACY AT ALL. This is what the world needs. Send the trouble makers back to their sewrage holes like Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Jassat says that the Pro Israeli lobby is wounded. He is deluded indeed
    \nIt is BDS and Muslims that are wounded. Israel has so many new companies and enterprises that it is challenging Asia an China. The Islamic countries have nothing. Not even their own sewage works.
    \nObviously, Jassat sees what he wants to see through his rose tinted glasses (which he probably got from a jewish optician. Seriously, I am so tired of \”unclever\” people who steal oxygen on this planet.   ‘

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“Let my people in” – chief rabbi takes on travel ban

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South Africa’s chief rabbi, Dr Warren Goldstein, has taken on the Israeli government over its sudden blanket travel ban in light of the new variant discovered by South African scientists.

He has been interviewed in Hebrew across multiple national radio stations, TV stations, print media, and online media in Israel.

In a plea to Israeli leaders, he said that shutting the door on world Jewry was a mistake for a number of reasons.

Many South African Jews were turned back in transit between 25 and 26 November, and others are desperately trying to get there because of important family commitments. But the chief rabbi emphasises that “Israel is home to all Jews, especially in times of crisis, and a total closure signals a separation between Israeli and diaspora Jews. The new variant doesn’t distinguish between Jews who have Israeli citizenship and other Jews.”

To him, there are two issues at stake. “The first is the relationship between Israel and the South African Jewish community. Our relationship with Israel is very much part of our value system, and we are a very Zionist community. This is expressed in many different ways, for example, our aliyah numbers, which proportionately are really strong. It’s also expressed in the high percentage of our community who have visited Israel, the fact that so many of our youth study in Israel, and especially in how so many of us have family in Israel. The connection goes very deep.”

To be blocked from entering Israel is therefore “a real blow to the South African Jewish community – spiritually and emotionally”. This latest blanket ban comes after almost two years of very intermittent access to Israel, and the new extreme levels of restriction were a tipping point for him.

“I felt I needed to make my voice heard in Israeli society. This is why I went to the Hebrew media, so that this plea would be heard by society and decision makers. I wanted to send a message on behalf of our whole community.”

He says he has seen the pain of these restrictions reflected in many ways. For example, specific incidents, like a father not being able to attend his son’s Barmitzvah, and a general sense of loss and distance.

The other reason he has spoken out is “for the sake of Israel itself, and for all Jews. Is Israel an ordinary state, or a Jewish state?” he asks rhetorically. “This is a direct plea to the Israeli government and goes to the heart of Israel’s identity. Israel is the only Jewish state, and we are deeply connected to it. In light of that unbreakable bond, if the state says some Jews can’t enter, it’s drawing a divide between the state of Israel and communities across the diaspora. That partnership between diaspora Jewry and the state of Israel is crucial, and if you break that bond, it will hurt Israel and world Jewry.”

He isn’t asking Israel to jeopardise the health of its citizens. Rather, he’s asking that the same criteria be applied to Israeli citizens returning to Israel and Jews needing to visit. Israeli citizens who want to return are allowed to do so if they are fully vaccinated, do a PCR test, and go into quarantine.

“If you combine these three strict requirements, the Israeli authorities have deemed that the risk becomes negligible. If they are good enough for Israeli citizens, any Jew in the world should be allowed to enter on the same basis.”

Goldstein is speaking up now in particular because “vaccines have completely transformed the risk profile. We can see this in the current wave in South Africa.” He has written about it before, but not as extensively as now. “I’ve learnt that one needs to use multiple platforms and address Israeli society directly.”

He says the message has found “tremendous resonance with journalists. I haven’t spoken to one Israeli interviewer who wasn’t sympathetic. They have challenged me, and I have clarified that I’m not asking for more than what’s granted to Israeli citizens. There has been a lot of support and interest.”

He says the incident in which South African Jews were forced away from Israel on Friday 26 November and made to fly on Shabbat was “an absolute disgrace and totally unacceptable for any state, but for a Jewish state, was unthinkable and beyond the pale. This is especially considering the circumstances of two of these Jews going to comfort the Kay family, whose son gave his life for the state of Israel. At the very least, the Israeli government must apologise for this conduct and promise its citizens and Jews around the world that such a thing will never happen again.”

Finally, he says “vaccination is everything. It’s a blessing. Thank G-d for it. Take it with both hands: it is a big mitzvah to protect yourself and others.”

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World mourns Eli Kay, son of SA Jewry

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At the beginning of November, the Kay family celebrated the happiest of simchas in Israel – the wedding of Avi and Devorah Kay’s eldest son. Three weeks later, they again gathered in the Jewish homeland, but this time for the darkest of tragedies: the funeral of the Kays’ second eldest son, Eliyahu (Eli), who was murdered by a Hamas terrorist in Jerusalem on Sunday, 21 November 2021.

A South African oleh who was building a beautiful life in Israel, 25-year-old Kay was shot dead by a Palestinian gunman in Old City, near the Kotel. Four others were hurt. Horrific images of blood being washed from the Jerusalem stones were seen online after the attack.

The Jewish world is now mourning the senseless loss of a soul who embodied the best of the South African Jewish community and its commitment to Judaism and Israel. Indeed, that deep love of his faith, history, and identity was what brought Kay to the Kotel on Sunday. He was living his purpose but was killed for being a Jew.

An ardent Zionist, he made aliyah from South Africa without his family in 2016. His parents and siblings later joined him, with his parents leaving South Africa last December amidst tough COVID-19 restrictions. They settled in Modi’in. Avi’s parents, Cliffy and Jessie, remain in Johannesburg, while Devorah’s parents Rabbi Shlomo and Rebbetzin Lynndy Levin of South Hampstead Synagogue, live in London. The tragedy of grandparents burying a grandchild is unfathomable.

The family are pillars of the Johannesburg Jewish community, and played a vital role in building Torah Academy over generations. Both parents, as well as their four children, were alumni of the school. In its statement, the school pointed out that Kay was killed while holding his tefillin and a Likutei Sichos [The ‘Collected Talks’ containing the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe] – devoted until the very end to his Judaism.

He accomplished much in his short life. After arriving in Israel, he studied at a Chabad yeshiva in Kiryat Gat in the south of Israel, and then enlisted in the army. “He was a squad commander in the paratroopers, which is a big deal for a lone soldier in my view,” says Ron Feingold, who served with him. “He volunteered for the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] and then excelled enough to lead people in it. I will never forget our conversations about the duty that we felt to our people.”

After completing his military service, he volunteered at the Nirim kibbutz for a year in the Eshkol region of Israel. Writing on Facebook, Shira Silkoff recalled meeting him when she arrived on kibbutz.

“The first time I met you [Eli], you were walking in one direction and I was walking the other. I was shy, unsure of how to go about meeting people who already all seemed to be friends. But we spoke for a few minutes, on that kibbutz path, with you holding a tub of slowly melting ice cream. Because that was you. You had time for everyone. No news report can capture your spirit. Your smile. Your passion for life, your ability to hold deep conversations at absurd hours, and absurd conversations at any hour. None of the news reports can capture your enthusiasm, your determination to achieve everything you set out to do.”

Kay then began working at the Kotel as a guide at the Western Wall Plaza. Some reported that he was murdered on his way to pray, others that it was on his way to work. But for Kay, these tasks were intricately connected. At the end of the day, he was there because he loved Israel and the Jewish people. According to The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, Kay “warmly greet[ed] everyone he met, doing his sacred work”.

Hearing the news was one of the most difficult moments for members of the South African Jewish community. “I was broken, gutted,” says Rabbi Levi Avtzon, who taught Kay when he was a teen. “Eli was quite a character: he was feisty and demanded a lot of himself and others. He didn’t have time for nonsense. He was a great guitar player and a natural leader. He was a searcher, looking for the truth. And when he saw the truth, he would go all the way in following it.”

Avtzon says these values came from the incredible upbringing he received from his parents. He describes Avi as “a gentle soul” and “an incredible financial advisor”, who continues to do this work in South Africa even though he now lives in Israel. “Until they left for Israel, Devorah was the life and soul of Torah Academy Girls High – loved by everyone and really dynamic.” The family’s door was always open. For example, they graciously hosted Avtzon’s parents when they visited him after he first moved to South Africa as his flat was too small.

Contemplating what Kay’s future would have looked like had his life not been stolen so senselessly, Avtzon says, “No matter what he would have done, he would have done it well. We need to take pride that this is the kind of mensch that our community raises.”

Kay’s cousin, Eli Landes, wrote on Facebook how he remembered “dancing with you [Eli], laughing with you, learning to play ‘mouth trumpet’ with you, studying with you, making up fake British sentences with you, talking about life with you. In life, you defended us. Guarded us. And now, I have no doubt you stand at G-d’s right hand, continuing to fight for us and protect us.”

Kay’s fiancé, Jen Schiff, said, “I felt it was important to share how much Eli loved this country, and how he came here by himself, and fought for this country. He always treated everyone with love and respect. And I know that when this happened, he didn’t feel alone.”

The outpouring of grief and support came from the very top of Israeli society as well as from around the globe. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Affairs Minister Yair Lapid and other Israeli leaders expressed condolences. Minister of diaspora affairs, Nachman Shai, personally wrote to the South African Jewish community, saying, “My heart breaks with yours. [Eli] was a son of both of our communities … Eli represented the best of the Zionist spirit nurtured in Johannesburg.”

Shai represented the Israeli government at the funeral, which took place at Har Menuchot cemetery in Jerusalem. Thousands of people from all walks of life attended in person, and almost 2 600 people (mostly from South Africa) watched on YouTube. There, Shai described him as “the paratrooper, the yeshiva student, warrior … the best of the best”.

Kay “would have been a great husband and father”, said an emotional Rabbi Motti Hadar, the principal of Torah Academy Boys High School, contemplating the brightest of futures cut short. “That is the hugest tragedy. And while his time came too soon, I think there is almost no other way he would have chosen to go than literally sacrificing his life for what he believed in, which was Israel, his Judaism, and living life to the fullest.”

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Miss SA future uncertain as Israel hatred boils

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It’s touch and go whether Miss South Africa will get on a plane to Israel to compete in the Miss Universe pageant next month, after a week of high drama in which the South African government bizarrely withdrew its support for the young university graduate.

The government had the anti-Israel lobby licking its lips at the prospect of her dreams being crushed. This lobby was determined that Lalela Mswane would never compete on an international stage in the coastal town of Eilat.

There are many who want her to go to Israel and represent her country, learn, engage, and prosper and there are those – a bunch of Israel haters – who are pulling out every stop to prevent it.

So far, the 24-year-old KwaZulu-Natal beauty has stood her ground. She is due to meet about 70 of her counterparts from all over the world – including the Arab world – in the Holy Land in a few weeks’ time.

Just how long she, the private Miss South Africa Organisation, and its chief executive, Stephanie Weil, can withstand the heat created by the small but predatory anti-Israel lobby is anyone’s guess.

At the time of going to press the odds were stacked against them in a fast moving developing story that has everyone guessing.

“It’s a rollercoaster ride,” said one insider.

Behind the scenes, a myriad of supporters have rallied around the young beauty queen, desperate to help her as critics stop at nothing to prevent her from representing her country at the Olympic Games of beauty pageants.

“It’s precarious, complicated,” offered another.

There has been more time and space allocated to this issue in the media than FW de Klerk’s death and his funeral arrangements, hung local councils, and coalition talks. Never mind the country’s dire electricity crisis, abysmal unemployment rate, water cuts, and critical crime levels. Social media has been lit with those fiercely in favour and those vehemently against Mswane attending the pageant.

It appears from thousands of social-media posts that many more are in favour of her fulfilling her dreams and wish her well than not.

The drama started with a statement issued on Sunday, 15 November, by the department of sports, art, and culture announcing that it would no longer support the pageant because of Miss SA organiser’s “intransigence and disregard” of advice against sending Miss SA to Israel, which it said would have a negative impact on her reputation and future.

The ministry, headed by Nathi Mthethwa, has come under fire for its lack of compassion for struggling artists during COVID-19 and the minister’s general ineffectiveness together with his department’s mismanagement of funds.

The African National Congress (ANC) made its views clear by backing and welcoming the government’s decision to withdraw support for Mswane.

The Democratic Alliance’s deputy shadow minister of sports, art, and culture, Veronica van Dyk, told the SA Jewish Report, “Miss SA is a private company, and as such must deal with the government as it sees fit. We don’t intend to be drawn into a fight between the two. A beauty pageant should never be politicised, and this is exactly what the ANC is trying to achieve. We should be weary not to fall into their trap.”

Department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) spokesperson, Clayson Monyela, said this week that in spite of all of the anti-Israel rhetoric, South Africa had “no intention of suspending any diplomatic relationships with Israel”.

He told The Citizen, and later repeated to the SA Jewish Report that Mthethwa’s announcement reflected the government’s stance on the matter falling under his portfolio, “but didn’t indicate any intentions of cutting ties with Israel”.

“We have diplomatic relations with both Israel and Palestine. What has happened with Miss South Africa cannot be anywhere close to cutting diplomatic ties. We can’t do that because if we do that, it means we can’t engage with Israel so are excluding ourselves from being part of the solution to the conflict, because if you cut ties with a country, it doesn’t have to engage with you,” said Monyela.

However Miss SA’s future hangs in the balance, as negotiations behind the scenes continue ad nauseam.

Zev Krengel, the national vice-president of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, lambasted the anti-Israel lobby for its bullying and intimidatory tactics, and said Miss SA was being used as a political scapegoat.

“Miss SA is a young woman, she is an easy target,” he said.

South Africa, he said, participated in various team sports, namely baseball, tennis, and soccer, against Israel, and where was the outrage?

Speculation has it that the signing of the Abraham Accords could eventually lead to Israel co-hosting the 2030 FIFA World Cup with its Arab neighbours.

“Do you see South Africa pulling Bafana Bafana out? No, this is pure bullying of a young woman, it’s outrageous,” he said.

He said he was bitterly disappointed in the government for withdrawing its support of Miss SA saying it was “on the wrong side of history, and while the rest of the world opens up and benefits from relations with Israel, including several Arab nations, South Africa is determined to remain on the sidelines of progress”.

People from all over have weighed in on the controversy.

The former Israeli ambassador to South Africa, Arthur Lenk, tweeted, “Wait, wait! Governments offer no support for this non-governmental contest. And the SA government made no decision whatsoever. A single ministry stated a viewpoint. Where is the story here other than the hateful noise the anti-Israel lobby is peddling?”

Author Khaya Dlanga took to Instagram saying that the government had “crossed the line” by withdrawing its support for Mswane, and had thrown her under the bus.

“They have put a young woman in an impossible position,” he said. “This government hasn’t imposed sanctions against Israel or travel restrictions. Instead, it’s grandstanding on the shoulders of a young girl. Why throw her under the bus when it hasn’t made meaningful commitments? Let her go.”

The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) said it was “appalled” that the government was “self-sabotaging” the country’s hopes and chances of participating and shining in Miss Universe just because it happened to take place in Israel.

“Our country is simply signalling its isolationism and irrelevance on the world stage,” it said.

The government had been silent on serious human-rights abuses occurring in many other countries where South Africa participates in sports and contests but “self-righteously reserves its opprobrium for the world’s only Jewish state”, the SAZF said.

“If our country were interested in bringing peace to the Middle East or carrying any moral weight in playing a mediatory role between Israel and the Palestinians, we have now ensured that our one-sidedness and unilateralism will prevent us from doing so,” the organisation said.

Meanwhile, the Miss South Africa Organisation broke its social-media silence this week with an Instagram post about Miss SA 2020, Shudufhadzo Musida’s, participation at Miss World in Puerto Rico on 16 December.

While Miss SA seemingly had the world at her feet just weeks ago, it remains to be seen if she will participate in Miss Universe.

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