“The ACDP is shocked and appalled by the recent statement by International Relations and Co-operation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, that the downgrade of the South African Embassy in Israel has been implemented and that the South African ambassador has been permanently withdrawn.
We are on record as having expressed our opposition to the ANC resolution in this regard in the strongest possible terms.
Besides the spiritual implications for millions of South African Christians and Jews, for whom Israel holds deep significance, the decision smacks of double standards. South Africa maintains full diplomatic ties with many countries that have been accused of gross human rights violations (including Iran, Syria and North Korea). South Africa has also indicated its intention to upgrade its diplomatic ties with Morocco, despite its differences with that country regarding the Western Sahara issue. This stands in stark contrast to its approach to Israel.
The decision is also shortsighted as diplomatic ties are necessary to keep lines of communication open between countries, particularly those who may differ starkly with one another. It also renders meaningless any role that South Africa could play in finding lasting peace in the Middle East.
Minister Sisulu has the audacity to prematurely state that 'our liaison office in Tel Aviv will have no political mandate, no trade mandate, and no cooperations mandate'. This at a time when neither Cabinet nor Parliament has discussed or sanctioned the nature and extent of any proposed downgrade. What makes this decision even more irrational, is that many countries, including African and BRICS countries, are improving and expanding their diplomatic and trade relations with Israel.
South Africans have far more to lose than Israel with this short-sighted decision, given what Israel offers the world in research and development in many areas, including in the computer, medical, agricultural, and water purification fields. This decision may also make it far more difficult for South Africans to travel to Israel, particularly the many thousands who travel on pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
The ACDP calls on all South Africans who love Israel and the Jewish people to reject this shortsighted and politically-motivated decision by voting for the ACDP on 8 May, and in so doing expressing their deep displeasure and rejection of this ANC decision. Other parties holding similar views against Israel, including the EFF, should likewise be rejected. This is the one opportunity the South African voter has to hold the ANC government accountable for this shortsighted and reckless decision.”
STATEMENT BY REV. KENNETH MESHOE MP
9 April 2019