Israel: Jerusalem accuses South Africa of boycotting Israel

Major News in <The Jerusalem Post>: Jerusalem accuses South Africa of boycotting Israel

Ambassador to South Africa Dov Segev-Steinberg will ask Pretoria for  clarifications regarding what is viewed in Jerusalem as nothing less than a  South African call for a boycott of Israel, diplomatic sources said on  Monday.

The sources said a call by South Africa’s Deputy Foreign Minister  Ebrahim Ismael Ebrahim on Sunday to his countrymen to refrain from visiting  Israel “let the cat out of the bag,” and demonstrated the hollowness of South  African government protestations that it was against boycotts, and that the  recent move to label items from the settlements was just trying to “promote  transparency.”

“The truth is coming out,” Foreign Ministry spokesman  Jonathan Rosenzweig said.

“This is a public call for a  boycott.”

Ebrahim told the City Press newspaper he was “discouraging” South Africans from visiting Israel.

“Israel is an occupier country which  is oppressing Palestine, so it is not proper for South Africans to associate  with Israel,” he said. “We discourage people from going there except if it has  to do with the peace process.”

The weekly paper said a planned trip to  Israel by KwaZulu-Natal mayors and officials last week was called off because of  pressure from the country’s pro-Palestine lobby.

Ebrahim’s comments came  three months after South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry issued a  memorandum stating that products from the settlements must not be labeled as  Israeli products.

The South Africa Israel Public Affairs Committee issued  a statement following Ebrahim’s comments, saying he has increasingly “allowed  his personal agenda to drive South Africa’s policy towards Israel to the  detriment of South Africa and its economic well-being and international  relations.”

“Of course it is perfectly acceptable for the South African  government to allow visits to all Arab/Muslim countries in spite of their  appalling human rights records and real application of Apartheid policies,” the  statement said. “South Africa’s ‘balanced’ approach to Libya and Syria has been  noted in their lack of statements on what has [been] and is transpiring in these  countries.”

The statement added that with corruption running rampant in  South Africa, the government’s “increasing actions against Israel are all red  herrings and classic attempts to sidetrack voters, fool the world” and retain  its aura of “moral authority” amid “rapidly declining momentum.”

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