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Pandor justifies SA’s selective outrage on terror victims



Dr Naledi Pandor, the minister of the department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco), has “implored” the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) to engage with distinctly anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups, offering to facilitate these discussions “if necessary”.

The request was part of her response on 19 April to the Board expressing its “hurt and dismay” over her department’s “deafening silence” following the murder of Jews in a spate of deadly terror attacks in Israel last month.

Pandor responded to the Board’s letter (sent on 11 April), in which it expressed concern about her department’s lack of condemnation following the attacks on innocent Jewish civilians while being quick to lambast Israel for defending itself against such attacks.

In its letter to her, the Board said Dirco had speedily condemned events that took place at the Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan, when Israeli police were forced to quell violence caused by Palestinian rioters inside the mosque. However, it had said nothing in response to the violence and terror that erupted following the clashes at the mosque.

Lucy Dee, 48, and her daughters, Maia, 20, and Rina, 15, were shot and killed in an ambush by Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank on 7 April. Later that night, Italian tourist Alessandro Parini, 35, was killed when a terrorist rammed a car into people walking on the promenade at the beach in Tel Aviv, injuring several others. During Passover, missiles from neighbouring countries, car rammings, and shots fired by terrorists at innocent civilians marred Jewish holy days and Shabbat.

“In this regard, we cannot but note the alacrity with which Dirco hastened to condemn the events concerning the Al-Aqsa Mosque where seven people were injured. The unmistakable message this has sent is that our government feels no compassion for Jewish victims of terrorism, nor any outrage against those responsible,” the Board said in its letter.

Pandor responded by saying, “I must at the outset state that the South African government condemns all forms of violence committed against civilians, whether in Israel or Palestine.”

However, “It would be unfair for the SAJBD to accuse the South African government of selective outrage and one-sidedness when it comes to the plight of Palestinians living under foreign occupation, who are subjected to the punitive, provocative, and unjust actions of the Israeli occupation forces.

“The gist of the SAJBD’s letter suggests that the situation in Palestine/Israel is one that’s symmetrical, that is, that there’s a conflict between people that have access to similar power – both politically and militarily,” she said. “This is not an accurate description of the violence in the region.”

Israel is “an occupying power”, she said, that uses “systematic power to oppress the people of Palestine”, including the use of force by the Israel Defense Forces and its police. “This violence includes settler violence, supported by the Israeli security forces,” the letter said.

Pandor said there was a growing body of evidence that the form of oppression in Israel was comparable to the crime of apartheid.

“It’s in this context that South Africa condemns acts of violence. We abhor all acts of violence against civilians and our statements do, however, reflect concern about systemic state violence against generally unarmed Palestinians.”

She said she shared the Board’s concern at the escalating levels of violence “much of it arising from increased levels of oppression and violence from the Israeli state”.

She ended her letter by imploring the SAJBD to engage with Israeli stakeholders whom she believed were “working tirelessly to end the occupation”.

SAJBD National Chairperson Professor Karen Milner responded to Pandor by saying that she welcomed the minister’s assurance that the South African government “condemns all forms of violence committed against civilians, whether in Israel or in Palestine”.

However, she said the SAJBD’s letter specifically asked why Dirco, which invariably loses little time in speaking out on behalf of victims of alleged human rights abuses by Israel, had yet to condemn or even express sympathy over the callous murder of a Jewish mother and two daughters, Lucy, Rina, and Maia Dee, in a terrorist attack in Israel.

“These weren’t just theoretical victims but real people with real lives and loved ones. Instead of showing compassion for them, your response is in the main devoted to justifying Dirco’s silence regarding this abhorrent act,” she said.

“We note further that you ‘implore’ the SAJBD to engage with certain Jewish organisations in Israel whose views you are clearly in sympathy with. In this regard, we object strongly to any external party telling us which Jewish voices are ‘acceptable’ to you and which, by implication, aren’t.

“As it happens, the SAJBD, in line with its mandate to act as the representative body of South African Jewry as a whole, has engaged and continues to engage with the full spectrum of Israeli opinion on the issues at hand, including those groups and individuals you mention specifically,” Milner wrote.

“In actuality, it’s something the South African government should seriously be doing itself if it truly wishes to be meaningfully engaged in helping to advance peace in the region.”

Meanwhile, Israel and Gaza terror groups reportedly agreed to a ceasefire early on Wednesday, 3 May, after a daylong flare-up in violence sparked by the death of a prominent Palestinian Islamic Jihad member while on a hunger strike in an Israeli prison.

Gaza terrorists fired dozens of rockets and mortar shells into Israel, most of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defence system. Hamas and Islamic Jihad allegedly fired at least 37 rockets at Israel.

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  1. yitzchak

    May 4, 2023 at 11:52 am

    wherever you see Israel…replace with Russia
    Wherever you see Palestinian insert Ukraine
    Wherever you see SAJBD, insert Russian ambassador/

    Oh Nadia talking about imbalance!

  2. Jessica

    May 5, 2023 at 10:30 am

    Soft-soaping Palestinian terror against Jews by means of fork-tongued propaganda – anywhere, let alone in Israel – comes as naturally as breathing to every single one of the ANC’s top btass.

    This is understandable, for not unlike wokery’s Globalist antisemitism, it is itself a crime mafia with international tentacles.

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