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Keffiyeh-clad Pandor pins colours to the mast



Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor this week called on the world to join South Africa in its fight against Israel “until victory is won” to demonstrate its solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) was aghast at her vitriol.

“The reality is that by her obsessive, factually distorted, and morally bankrupt vendetta against Israel, minister Pandor has shown herself to be a thorough-going bigot,” the Board said in response to Pandor’s speech this week at the Palestinian Heads of Mission in Africa Conference at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria on Tuesday, 26 July.

“Her unstatesmanlike diatribes simply parrot the line followed by those implacably opposed to the very existence of the Israeli state without even the slightest attempt to consider the Israeli perspective. It’s quite evident that Pandor has no interest whatsoever in learning about the true nature of Israel,” it said.

Bedecked in a Palestinian keffiyeh, the minister expressed South Africa’s unwavering support for the Palestinian people. During several intervals, she became uncharacteristically impassioned, veering off her measured Dirco-issued speech to go full tilt anti-Israel.

Pandor admitted to the Pro-Palestinian audience that her emphasis on a two-state solution was a way to avoid being labelled antisemitic.

The SAJBD called Pandor’s speech “yet another propaganda tirade against Israel”. It said she had “shown her true colours” when she “scoffingly dismissed” Jewish concerns about antisemitism during her address.

“In the course of her speech, Pandor flippantly remarked that she was mentioning the two-state solution because if she didn’t, many people would seek to paint her as antisemitic. By this, she not only implied that Jews level baseless charges of antisemitism in response to negative views about Israel, but that Jewish concerns about calls for the world’s only Jewish state to be eliminated need not be taken seriously,” said the Board.

Pandor insisted that other countries “take up the struggle” with South Africa, because there was a need to “see greater activism from civil society all over the world”.

“We need to have daily pickets at embassies of Israel throughout the world to make sure the cause, the unjust experience of the people of Palestine is made known,” she told her audience of dignitaries and media.

“It’s only by seeing the participation of a large body of organisations in a very visible campaign that we’ll ensure that this matter remains on a global stage until victory is won.”

Minister Pandor spoke about the “shifting sands in the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East”, which she said presented new challenges.

“We don’t know the impact this will have on the struggles of the Palestinian people and those we considered allies in your struggle. While some might be wavering in their commitment to the Palestinian cause, South Africa will remain steadfast in our support of your just quest for freedom, justice, and independence,” she said.

Pandor strenuously objected to the African Union (AU) Commission’s decision to grant Israel observer status at the AU last year, saying it was “shocking” and “inexplicable”. “We must not rest to ensure this decision is reversed,” she said.

The Board said that rather than Pandor visiting the country herself and engaging with people on the ground, she chose to obtain her information from “self-evidently biased, ideologically compromised sources” whose sole objective was to portray that country as a “caricature of evil”.

“Dirco doesn’t even have an ambassador or a political consular in the country to provide factual information,” said the Board.

“Pandor has stubborn disregard for anything that might contradict her view of the Palestinians as being no more than blameless, suffering victims of the conflict,” said SAJBD National Director Wendy Kahn. This is in spite of the Palestinian leadership’s long and depressing track record of rejecting far-reaching Israeli peace overtures, instilling grossly false and defamatory views about Jewish people and their history at all levels of their society, and glorifying violence as a means to ultimately destroy Israel rather than co-existing in peace alongside it.

“Pandor pours scorn on the notion that she’s antisemitic, but her record of unbridled hostility towards the Jewish State and contemptuous dismissal of legitimate Jewish concerns regarding the realities of insurgent antisemitism tell a different story. If something looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then presumably, it’s a duck. The quacking of our minister of international relations and cooperation has become so deafening as to remove any reasonable doubts on that score.”

The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) said it was outraged at Pandor’s “blatantly biased” speech that placed South Africa “at odds with the United States, the free world, and the African Union”.

“It’s interesting how she has appinted herself an arbiter of what constitutes antisemitism over groups dealing with this issue on a regular basis,” said SAZF National Chairperson Rowan Polovin.

“Minister Pandor, garbed in a keffiyeh usually worn by activists who call for the destruction of Israel, used her international platform to divert and deflect from South Africa’s numerous domestic and international failures.”

“Dirco’s stance will only be to the disadvantage of South Africans. It isolates our country from the rest of the world, and does nothing to promote peace and dialogue. Our foreign policy should seek to affirm our position as a major country in Africa and involve us in the peace process and the growth of the global economy. Aligning our foreign policy with rogue actors is destructive,” said Polovin.

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  1. Hessel Meilech

    Jul 28, 2022 at 1:23 pm

    There is a wind of change blowing the ANC out of government.
    The Abrahamic accords shows the wind of change blowing into recognition of Israel
    47 African countries are aided by Israel. How many are aided by RSA?

  2. yitzchak

    Jul 29, 2022 at 7:32 am

    Naledi NADIA Pandor (nee Mathews) is a convert to Islam, and married to a moslem.
    (Nadia: Arabic given name)
    As Jews we have no chance knowing who advises her… Previously Jesse Duarte( nee Dangor) and all the other moslems(virulently anti Israel and antisemitic)close to international affairs in RSA.

    She would like to liken the Palestinian struggle to the Algerian struggle against French colonialism.
    and also an embarrasing retraction over Ukraine.
    If the Ukrainians were black the reaction would have been quite different

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