ANC president and deputy president of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa has been urged not to implement the recent ANC policy conference resolution to downgrade the SA embassy in Israel or to allow the ANC to be used by haters of Israel to create the impression that South Africans hate Israel.
Making the call to Ramaphosa in an open letter, ACDP president Rev Kenneth Meshoe says downgrading the embassy would deny SA — especially the poorest of the poor — from benefitting from world-leading Israeli technology and innovation, disqualify SA from playing a mediating role between Israel and the Palestinians, and negatively impact hundreds of thousands of SA Christians who visit the Holy Land.
He also asks Ramaphosa whether the ANC supports the Hamas and PLO agendas to promote hatred of Jews and “to one day drive all Jews and Israeli’s into the sea”. In other pointed questions he asks whether the ANC has taken any resolutions on repressive African regimes, assisting South Sudan with its massive famine crisis or “on how to stop the notorious Arab slave trade that has dehumanised black men and raped African women for decades”.
“Why single out Israel for punishment in support of her enemies’ false accusations when there are so many glaring human rights abuses on the African continent?,” he asks.
The full open letter reads:
Dear Hon Ramaphosa,
Firstly, I would like to congratulate you on your election as the President of the African National Congress.
Secondly, I would like to thank God for ensuring that your Policy Conference was reasonably peaceful as many people prayed for peace to prevail. You will remember that I also called for Members of Parliament to pray for the ANC conference, and for peace in general when we were giving farewell speeches in Parliament on November 30 2017.
Thirdly, I want to register my utter disappointment at the ANC conference resolution to downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel. The fact is that downgrading the SA Embassy will not serve the broader interest of our people here at home, but only the narrow political interests of hateful Hamas and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO); organisations that continue to dream about annihilating Israel from the face of the earth.
Honourable Deputy President, I cannot understand why, when many African countries are now warming up to and improving their relations with Israel, while new embassies and diplomatic offices are being opened, the ANC does the opposite by resolving to downgrade our embassy in Tel Aviv, and thus sour relations with Israel, a democratic country that has so much to offer to South Africa!
Our country has many challenges in areas where Israel has specialised technology, yet we do not ask for their assistance for the benefit of our people, particularly the poorest of the poor. Israel is a world leader in innovation and technology that can benefit South Africa.
The ANC should take advantage of this fact and not allow itself to be pressured by the PLO and Hamas (which, as you are likely aware, is widely regarded as a terrorist organisation) to refuse Israeli technology that can effectively address our challenges in the areas of drought, water and sanitation, agriculture, health and security.
The ANC should have prioritised addressing these challenges rather than aligning their foreign policy on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict with Hamas and the PLO that is still hoping to one day drive all Jews and Israelis into the sea.
Are you aware, Honourable Deputy President, that maps of the area given to Palestinian school children do not show the existence of the Jewish State of Israel?
Are you aware that innocent Palestinian children are fed hatred for Israel and the Jews on a daily basis, and are also taught how to stab and kill a Jew?
Does the ANC support such a wicked agenda?
Have you ever challenged the Palestinians about the anti-Semitism and poison they feed children in their schools daily?
Honourable Deputy President, I want to appeal to you as the President of the ANC not to implement the unfortunate resolution to downgrade the SA Embassy in Israel because that would disqualify South Africa from playing any mediatory role in any future peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians. To be a credible mediator, one has to be seen to be neutral in any conflict. The haters of Israel should not be allowed to use the ANC to make South Africa look like we are haters of Israel.
South Africa is known and respected worldwide for her ability to mediate and reconcile, and not to hate and support haters whose language and intention is to kill those with whom they disagree.
Are you aware, Honourable Deputy President, that Hamas and the PLO openly hope to one day drive all Jews and Israelis into the sea?
The ANC should please not be seen to be departing from the admired and respected South African position of being good mediators.
Sir, downgrading the SA Embassy will never improve the lives of Palestinians, but it will impact negatively on South African tour groups who take pilgrims to Israel a few times a year. It will impact negatively on hundreds of thousands of Christians who will be required to apply for visas to visit the Holy Land.
If the ANC goes ahead and implements their unwise and ill-considered resolution, millions of Christians like myself will view such a move as a direct attack on their right to have regular pilgrimages to Israel with whom we have spiritual and historical ties.
Deputy President, I now want to ask you a few pertinent questions: has the ANC taken any resolution on Africa’s repressive regimes or not? Has the ANC taken any resolution on how to assist South Sudan that has one of the worst famines in the world? Has the ANC taken any resolution on how to stop the notorious Arab slave trade that has dehumanised Black men and raped African women for decades? There are daily reports about civilians being killed in the DRC and women being raped on a daily basis, yet no resolutions are taken against the corrupt and repressive Kabila regime.
Why single out Israel for punishment in support of her enemies’ false accusations when there are so many glaring human rights abuses on the African continent? My advice to the ANC is not to join the army of haters of Israel who use every opportunity they get to bash and accuse Israel of human rights abuses, while ignoring human rights abuses in their own countries, and countries such as Libya, Syria, Somalia and Iran.
I appeal to you again, Honourable Deputy President, not to downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel. As mentioned above, the downgrade will neither be in the interests of South Africans, nor of the Palestinians that the ANC is allegedly trying to help.
Please put the plight of all South Africans who need the benefits of Israeli technology first, before taking a radical position that will only delight enemies of Israel that are neither qualified nor equipped to help our poor and suffering people.
Hon Rev K Meshoe MP