S. Africa's ruling party re-ups call for Israel boycott after 'Black Coffee' show

Local Jewish groups slammed the ANC for its comments.

Anti-Israel demonstrators at the World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa, in 2001; Muslim anti-Zionism is picking up from where Christian antisemitism left off. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Anti-Israel demonstrators at the World Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa, in 2001; Muslim anti-Zionism is picking up from where Christian antisemitism left off.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Several days after his show in Tel Aviv, DJ Black Coffee continues to face backlash and censure from his fellow South Africans. And on Tuesday, the African National Congress, South Africa's ruling party, criticized the musician and reiterated its call for a cultural boycott of Israel.
"The cultural aspect of the boycott is critical in advancing the cause to ensure that we isolate what is clearly an apartheid government of Israel," read the Tuesday statement, issued by Lindiwe Zulu, chairwoman of the International Relations Committee on behalf of ANC.
"It is therefore with deep concern that the African National Congress has learnt of the recent visit to Israel of Mr Nkosinathi Maphumulo, popularly known as Black Coffee, and we wish to open engagements on this issue broadly with the creative sector, with view of ensuring that South Africa continues to play a critical role in helping to resolve the crisis of the Palestinian occupation...The South African artistic community, having themselves experienced discrimination and oppression, must therefore continue to pledge solidarity with others who are oppressed."
In response to the ANC statement, Black Coffee - and many of his fans - wondered why the government is allowed to do business with Israel but he isn't.
"Why is it business as usual for all but the artists shouldn't work" the DJ wrote on Twitter. "I'm disgusted by Apartheid or any form of brutality towards any person but give me a voice too. Don't decide for me while while you continue your relations."
Both the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the South African Friends of Israel NGO issued statements on Wednesday in support of Black Coffee and slamming the ANC.
"The South African Jewish Board of Deputies deplores the divisive statement of ANC international relations subcommittee," it said in a statement. "Imposing a boycott against Israel over and above every other country in the world is itself immoral and inconsistent with how South Africa normally conducts its foreign policy." The group added that it "gives its full support to Black Coffee, Nkosinathi Maphumulo, who is one of our most talented artists and has worked incredibly hard to work to be where he is. He has every right under our democratic dispensation to travel where he likes."
The South African Friends of Israel said they "condemn such statements, which does absolutely nothing for the Palestinian people, but rather defames and violates the rights of South Africans."
Black Coffee performed in Tel Aviv on Saturday night for thousands of fans - his third show in the country. When he posted a video from the concert on Twitter, he immediately faced outrange and anger.
On Monday, the DJ tweeted that he is working as an entertainer and not making political statements.
“Like everyone else I have rights and free will,” he wrote. “And no, Black Coffee is not a political party... I work as an entertainer to feed my Family. To sum it up... I’ll take a bullet for my Family.”