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Pandor threat claim – another blood libel, says Israel



Israel has responded to claims by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Dr Naledi Pandor that the country is out to get her because of the stand she has taken against it, describing it as just “more blood libel”.

Speaking on the sidelines of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address on 8 February, Pandor claimed that she feared that Israel could compromise her safety and that of her family.

“I felt that [it would] be better if we had extra security,” she stated. “But what I’m more concerned about is my family, because in some of the social media messages, my children are mentioned and so on, but this is par for the course.

“The Israeli agents, the intelligence services, [this] is how they behave, and they seek to intimidate you, so we must not be intimidated. There is a cause that is under way.”

On 12 February, Independent Online reported that Pandor claimed that she had received “death threats from suspected Israeli agents”, but didn’t elaborate further.

This was just one of many times that Pandor has made such allegations since South Africa took Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in December. However, the spokesperson of the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs, Lior Haiat, told the SA Jewish Report, “These are baseless false accusations and another blood libel by the foreign minister of South Africa, which serves as the legal arm of the terrorist organisation Hamas.

“South Africa is trying to limit Israel’s right to defend itself and its citizens, and promote the interests of Hamas and Iran in the Middle East and Africa,” he said. “The South African government’s support for terrorism and its activities against Israel on the bilateral level and in international organisations are a stain that won’t be erased.”

South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) National Chairperson Rowan Polovin said, “One of the ANC’s [African National Congress’s] objectives of the ICJ affair, besides protecting Hamas and delegitimising Israel’s right to self-defence, was to deflect attention from the ANC’s overwhelming domestic failures.

“Although the ICJ case won the ANC some support amongst a vocal group of Israel-haters and antisemites in the country, it has made no impact on the ruling party’s polling in the upcoming elections.

“Indeed, the much-coveted practice of scapegoating Israel in domestic South African politics has never led to election gains for any party,” he said. “The ANC is now worried about poor polling projections in the upcoming elections. Ramaphosa and others in the ANC have resorted to classic antisemitic propaganda to claim that the Jewish state, and by association Jews who support it, is working towards ‘regime change’ because the ANC’s actions at the ICJ have created ‘powerful enemies’.

“This is a continuation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which claimed a Jewish plan for global domination; the Nazi accusation of Jews of being behind both capitalist and communist plots to control the world; the Soviet claim of ‘rootless cosmopolitans’ – a euphemism for Jews – who inculcate internationalist sympathies against them; Middle Eastern politics claiming that the Zionists ‘manipulate governments’ and ‘instigate regime change’; and modern conspiracy theories of Zionist financial control of the ‘New World Order’ in secretive global governance schemes,” Polovin said. “The ANC’s anti-democratic and antisemitic tactics should be widely condemned.

“The SAZF strongly encourages all members of the South African Jewish community, regardless of where they are in the world, to register to vote, as this is an important way to work for change in our foreign policy.”

On X, columnist and commentator Ivo Vegter said that Pandor’s claims were “just grandstanding, to vilify Israel. Why would Israel come after her or her family, when there’s nothing to be gained and widespread support to be lost?”

Pandor’s spokesperson, Lunga Ngqengelele, said he couldn’t comment on the matter as it would be “tantamount to defying the whole purpose of the security”.

Meanwhile, Pandor, who is 70, announced that she wouldn’t be making herself available for public office after South Africa’s national elections.

At an ANC event in Cape Town in support of ANC Member of the Provincial Legislature Khalid Sayed, who is the party’s premier candidate in the Western Cape, Pandor said she “wouldn’t hold public office”. Ngqengelele said only that she had already addressed her retirement at a press conference on 31 January, in which she said that she “didn’t know what the seventh administration plans were” for her party.

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