Former Israeli Prime Minister, ARIEL SHARON: 1928 – 2014
We honour the memory of Ariel Sharon, former Prime Minister of the State of Israel, brave and courageous soldier, brilliant leader and true son of Israel, who passed away on Saturday 11th January 2014 after a long struggle.
Many Israelis felt they’d said goodbye to Ariel Sharon when he slipped into a coma eight years ago.
But the end of that long and agonising period for his family when he lay suspended between life and death has prompted an outpouring of grief and reflection.
Sharon was a part of the generation that created the state of Israel and even Israelis who didn’t much care for his politics recognised his stature.
SAZF Condemns Dep. Minister Ebrahim
3 December 2012
On November 21, 2012, the ANC issued a press release on the recent escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The statement, while recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself, placed the blame for the unrest solely on Israel. With particularly strong words it condemned the “barbarity of the Israeli Defense Force’s bombardment of the Palestinians” and stated that “the collective punishment of the citizens of Gaza is an outrage bordering on fascist aggression.” It also claimed that “Women and men of all ages and children are being mercilessly murdered in this war of attrition.”
The statement was unambiguously one-sided. It did not mention neither the hundreds of rockets that Hamas and other Palestinian groups had fired on Israel over the months that preceded Israel’s reaction nor the casualties caused by them. It identified Israeli occupation as a cause for the violence, ignoring the fact that Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2006. And it gave the impression that Israel was deliberately targeting civilians, an undeniable mischaracterization of the truth.
Moreover, the statement adopted an incendiary language typical of activist organizations or fringe radical groups. It was therefore particularly disturbing to notice that the statement was signed by Ebrahim Ebrahim in his official capacity of Deputy Foreign Minister on behalf of the ANC. That a senior official of the South African government would express himself in such blatantly insulting, unfair and unconstructive manners is an embarrassment to the ANC, the rest of the government and the South African people.
The episode should not surprise anyone who has followed Mr. Ebrahim’s virulent anti-Israel rhetoric and actions over the last few years. Just last August Mr. Ebrahim was at the center of a media polemic when he stated that he wanted to discourage South African from traveling to Israel because “Israel is an occupier country which is oppressing Palestine.” He similarly stated that he wanted a “scaling down” of economic ties with Israel.
These positions are condemnable on many levels. First, they unfairly single out Israel, displaying Mr. Ebrahim’s apparent obsession with the Jewish state. Mr. Ebrahim has never called for South African citizens not to visit other zones that are internationally considered occupied, such as Northern Cyprus, Western Sahara, Tibet and Kashmir, to name but a few. Moreover, Mr. Ebrahim has consistently adopted a very conciliatory tone towards regimes in other Middle Eastern countries that, just by a sheer numerical count, have marred themselves with human rights violations that make the alleged crimes Mr. Ebrahim ascribes to Israel pale in comparison. Mr. Ebrahim’s position on Syria (see July 19, 2012 statement), for example, neither specifically condemns the atrocities perpetrated by the Assad regime nor calls for any measure against it, despite the more than 40,000 civilian deaths caused by the regime’s actions.
Moreover, Mr. Ebrahim’s statements put South Africa in an odd position on the international scene. Such fiery rhetoric is not conventionally used on the global policymaking arena, particularly by a country that has a long history of conflict resolution. The universally admired South African approach to negotiation, which is enshrined in the ANC’s DNA, calls for building bridges and maintaining a fair dialogue. Mr. Ebrahim’s rhetoric and calls for provocative actions do the exact opposite and hardly contribute to the ANC’s goal of playing a constructive role in the creation of a Palestinian state within a negotiated two-state solution.
Equally troubling about Mr. Ebrahim is his approach towards the South African Jewish community. Since 1994 the ANC-led government has engaged and interacted with South African Jewry at all levels. Mr. Ebrahim, however, has broken this tradition and consistently refused to meet with South African Jewish organizations. He also broke off an engagement to debate a community representative hosted by the Mail & Guardian.
The ANC and the South African government have long supported the creation of a Palestinian state. They also have a right to criticize the actions of the state of Israel and they have often exercised this right in the past. But the biased and emotional rhetoric and actions of Mr. Ebrahim cross the line. They alienate the South African Jewish community and foment tensions with other communities. Moreover, they embarrass the ANC, the South African government and whole South African population. In the lead-up to Mangaung, it is imperative that personal agendas and fiery rhetoric do not inform official ANC policy.
For more information please contact Avrom Krengel, Chairman: 082 600 6465 or Chaya Singer, Deputy Director : 076 987 2516
The SA Zionist Federation
Author : Ibrahim Ibrahim
ANC Statement on Gaza Strip
21 November 2012
The African National Congress (ANC) joins the peace-loving and progressive humanity in condemning with strongest terms the barbarity of the Israeli Defence Force’s bombardment of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The murder of Hamas Military Chief, Ahmad Jabari, and the collective punishment of the citizens of Gaza is an outrage bordering on fascist aggression. Women and men of all ages and children are being mercilessly murdered in this war of attrition.
The international community, especially the developed world, should seize this moment to do everything in its power to end this senseless killings. We call on both sides to exercise restraint, as we all know that violence begets violence.
While the ANC accepts that the state of Israel has the right to secure borders, pushing their borders further and further into Palestinian territory through its Bantustanation policy and then resorting to disproportionate aggression is totally unacceptable. It is a recipe for the escalation of hostilities and unnecessary loss of life and limb.
ANC calls on the West to impress upon Israel that peace in the Middle East Region depends on their behaviour and attitude towards international law. We urge Israel to stop the bombing immediately and resume negotiations with the Palestine government.
The ANC remains convinced that a lasting solution can only be arrived at through peaceful negotiations.
Deputy Foreign Minister
African National Congress
54 Sauer Street
Ribbon Mosholi – 082 977 0709
SA Reserve Bank director Stephen Goodson – antisemitic slanders
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) is deeply shocked over recent revelations regarding the grossly antisemitic and racially inflammatory views that, as reported in the Mail & Guardian of 13 April, have been propagated by SA Reserve Bank director Stephen Goodson. Amongst other classic antisemitic slanders, Goodson has alleged that the mass murder of European Jewry during the Holocaust never happened but rather was invented by Jews in order to extort money from Germany after World War II and that Jews exercise a pernicious control over the global media.
The SAJBD welcomes the fact that the South African Reserve Bank has since distanced itself from the noxious views expressed by Goodson. It further notes that in terms of the latest regulations, this individual’s tenure as a director ends in July and that the Reserve Bank did not intend to extend his candidacy for another term. It is regrettable that someone responsible not just for holding but for actively publicising views of so deeply offensive a nature held office within one of South Africa’s most important public institutions. However, we are relieved that in light of the changes to the regulations, it was unlikely that someone so obviously unsuitable would be appointed again by the Reserve Bank.
SAJBD National Chairman Mary Kluk comments, “Today is Yom Hashoah, the Day of Remembrance in which Jewish people throughout South Africa and all over the world are gathering to mourn the victims of the Holocaust and to commit themselves anew to fighting the deadly evils of racial prejudice that had made those great crimes possible”, In a country like ours, which stands for tolerance and understanding and which utterly repudiates racial prejudice on any kind, there is no place for the kind of repellent views held by Stephen Goodson and others like him”.
ISSUED BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN JEWISH BOARD OF DEPUTIES
CONTACT: MR DAVID SAKS: 011 645 2536/072 294 4056: EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
P O Box 87557