S. African unions urge Israel boycott

Call Israel "apartheid state," demand recall of S. Africa's ambassador from TA.

July 11, 2006 22:53
2 minute read.
durban anti-israel 2001 88

durban anti-israel 88. (photo credit: )


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


South Africa's largest trade union umbrella organization, which has nearly two million members in fields as varied as healthcare, agriculture, engineering, mining and the arts, has called on its government to end diplomatic ties with Israel. Calling Israel an "apartheid state," the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) demanded the recall of South Africa's ambassador from Tel Aviv, a boycott of Israeli products, and general sanctions against the Jewish state, in protest over Israeli policies in Gaza and the West Bank. A trade boycott could have serious implications for South Africa, since Israel is the top destination for the country's exports. Israel's exports to South Africa totaled $239.9 million in 2004. South Africa's ambassador in Israel, Maj. Fumanekile (Fumie) Gqiba, is currently out of the country and was unreachable for comment. However, the embassy's charg d'affaires, Sarel Kruger, said his government had no plans to sever diplomatic ties with Israel. "The status quo remains the same, and there is no action being taken at the moment to change it." Whether or not COSATU's suggestions are taken seriously by government leaders, the organization's statements are being viewed with dismay by the local Jewish community. David Saks, the acting national director of South Africa's Board of Deputies, the Jewish community's governing body, said that his organization "views COSATU's statement with extreme concern. We believe it displays extreme double standards, ignoring altogether or playing down the countless acts of provocation from the Palestinian side, while one-sidedly depicting Israel as a militarist bully. The statement is provocative and unfair." In addition, Saks strenuously objected to COSATU's use of the term "apartheid" in describing Israel, saying that the label is a "gross distortion of the historical fact and baseless slander against the Jewish state." Israel's ambassador to South Africa, Ilan Baruch, said, "All our past attempts to open up a dialogue with COSATU showed us that they have no genuine interest in a dialogue with the embassy or with Israeli trade unions." COSATU's own membership has expressed surprise over the organization's statement. Dr. T.K. Letlape, the head of the South African Medical Association (SAMA), one of COSATU's affiliates, said he had not known about the organization's statement regarding Israel and that "no issues regarding Israel have been brought to our attention." Letlape said that he and SAMA have "a healthy working relationship with our Israeli colleagues" and that "government decisions should be guided by even-handedness." He added, however, that any personal opinions that he or his colleagues had would have to be subject to the decisions of COSATU, which he called a "democracy." South African deputy foreign minister Aziz Pahad was unavailable for comment as of press time, and calls to COSATU leadership were not returned.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

December 14, 2018
U.N. adopts breakthrough convention to address world migration crisis