December 29, 2012

ANC backs BDS at last

More good news.  According to the Jewish Chronicle, the African National Congress, South Africa's ruling party, has officially adopted a boycott of Israel as policy.  You'd think this was only natural given the ANC's struggle against settler colonialism and apartheid in its own country but you'd be wrong.

Back in 2004 Ehud Olmert visited South Africa to sign a trade agreement between the State of Israel and South Africa.  I reported it at the time but the links have all expired:
The new South Africa has signed a trade agreement with the last (hopefully) of the apartheid states. According to Reuters, Israel's Ehud Olmert hailed a "new" era of South Africa ties. All very strange when you consider that Israel had ties with South Africa through the whole of the apartheid era. What is new here is that the ANC seems to have lost its political memory.
I had to do a bit of a search for the old info and I came up with this from Fin24.com, a South African mostly business and financial news site:
South Africa's improved relationship with Israel took a concrete dimension this week with the conclusion of a trade agreement and the first official visit by a leading politician from the Jewish state in over a decade.
The then South African deputy foreign minister even jumped through a few hoops to defend the then government's position:
In Pretoria, deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad stressed in a meeting with pro-Palestinian groups on the eve of Olmert's arrival, was trying to be impartial by engaging both Tel Aviv and Palestinian groups.
So I don't know what's become of the agreement but here's the JC on the situation now:

South Africa’s ruling party announced that the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement will now form part of its official policy.
The African National Congress (ANC) endorsed the campaign in response to a call from pro-Palestinian activists, including BDS South Africa.
The resolution read: “The ANC is unequivocal in its support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination, and unapologetic in its view that the Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed in the conflict with Israel.”
Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, from BDS South Africa, said the move was “the most authoritative endorsement of the BDS against Israel campaign.”

 Let's hope it's not just lip service but you never know.....

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