A crime for SA Jews to serve in IDF: Cosatu
While a British MP recently made strong calls for all British Jews currently serving in the Israeli DefenCe Force (IDF) to be recalled, in South Africa the situation is very different. While civil societies have condemning South African Jews who serve in the IDF, not much is being done to enforce this law that prohibits South Africans from taking part in any mercenary activities abroad. But the biggest problem, said South African Trade Union (COSATU), International Secretary, Omgabongani Masuku, is with Jewish South African’s who hold duel citizenship with Israel.
“We do know that there are South African Jews who go abroad to Israel and serve in the IDF and participate in all its activities, particularly in occupied Palestine, and we have time and time again condemned that,” Masuku said, quoting SA law which states that any person participating in foreign mercenary activities are committing a crime against South Africa.
However, he said that they have been trying to mobilize the “activation of this law, so that those transgressing may be subjected to judicial processes.” He condemned the government for allowing South Africans to be involved in what he called “missionaries of Apartheid”. “Israel is spreading and defending Apartheid and we say that South African families who contribute to this must be targeted.”
According to Masuku, the lines become blurred when Israeli law states that any Jew from across the globe is an automatic citizen of Israel, and many hold dual citizenship to both South Africa as well as Israel. “Any South African Jew can go to Israel, that’s not the crime. The crime is what they do when they are in Israel. If they hold a South African citizenship, SA law governs them. In fact, this is the case regardless of whether they are Xhosa, Tswana or Zulu. Just because they are Jews, does not mean that they are exempt from this law. This is why we say that if they are in possession of South African citizenship, then participating in Israeli Apartheid is a crime.”
Cosatu wants to take action one step further and not only investigate South African Jews for Israel’s most recent attack on Gaza, but has called for an investigation into all Israeli initiated attacks. “Whether it be Palestine or Lebanon, Israel has blood on its hands.” Masuku said that Cosatu has not formally discussed their calls with the government, however, they do plan to raise the issue in the up coming foreign policy meeting. VOC Aisha Mouneimne
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