South Africa’s ANC calls for more pressure on Israel


Al Akhbar English | July 2, 2012

South Africa’s ruling party has called for an increased boycott of Israeli products and greater support for the Palestinians at its annual conference.

The African National Congress, led by many who struggled against Apartheid until 1994, agreed to “increase” pressure on the Israeli state at the conference last week.

Lindiwe Zulu, a special adviser to South African President Jacob Zuma, said shortly after the conference that the “ANC (will) continue to support Palestine and [has] called for an increased boycott on Israeli products.”

Specific methods for boycotting the proposals have not yet been discussed, but will be decided at another conference in December.

South Africa has long led the campaign against Israel’s oppression of indigenous Palestinians, citing its own experience under colonial rule, which led to a minority white leadership persecuting the majority black native population.

In 2010, over 100 academics pledged support for ending cooperation with the occupation, echoing similar boycotts against Apartheid, while the Department of Trade and Industry recently demanded that products from the occupied West Bank not be labelled “Made in Israel”.

In February the Minister of Arts and Culture said the country was also considering imposing economic and cultural sanctions on Israel as part of the worldwide Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

“We want to step up our support of the Palestinians and are investigating a number of peaceful ways to upgrade this support. We have no problem with supporting the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel,” Paul Mashatile said.

While sympathy with the Palestinian cause is widely felt in South Africa, small groups of right-wing pro-Israeli protesters have taken to the streets in recent weeks to call for the government to abandon its pro-Palestinian stance.

Several hundreds mainly fundamentalist Christians marched to the Department of Trade and Industry in Pretoria last week, demanding the government normalize relations with Israel.

(Al-Akhbar)

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