The Media Review Network cautiously welcomes the statements made by Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, that South Africa is to forge ahead with implementing the resolution adopted at the ruling party’s Elective Conference in December calling upon the country to downgrade its embassy in Israel to a mere Liaison Office.

Speaking in Parliament, Pandor said, “the majority party has agreed, that government must cut diplomatic ties with Israel, given the absence of genuine initiatives by Israel to secure lasting peace and a viable two-state solution that includes full freedom and democracy for the Palestinian people”.

The ANC have always been outspoken advocates of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination from the clutches of apartheid Israel and pro-Palestinian organisation have applauded such overt support.

However, the obstacle has always been translating such rhetorical support at the party level into meaningful action at the level of national government such as downgrading South Africa’s embassy in Tel Aviv and cutting off diplomatic ties with the world’s last remaining apartheid outpost.

Pro-Israeli lobby groups such as the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the South African Zionist Federation have been fighting the possible embassy downgrade by attempting to take advantage of the drought affecting Cape Town.

It has endeavoured to sell its supposed desalination technology to the Western Cape Government whilst depriving indigenous Palestinians of the same technology and access to sufficient clean water – redolent of the tactics practiced by the apartheid government in South Africa.

The Media Review Network calls upon the South African government to resist such opportunistic attempts and to ensure that this time it is serious about implementing the resolution of the ruling ANC.

Pandor’s call for isolating apartheid Israel must not once more again be relegated to the realm of populist rhetoric.

Issued by Dr. Ahmed Haroon Jazbhay

Executive Member: Media Review Network

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Ahmed Jazbhay

Ahmed Jazbhay is a lecturer in Political Science at UNISA, and is also a researcher at Media Review Network.He focuses on the decolonisation of knowledge and post-colonial struggles. Ahmed holds a PhD from the University of Johannesburg.