SOUTH AFRICAN PARLIAMENT’S INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS SOLIDARITY CONFERENCE

This post is rather lengthy, but relevant and needs to be read if you want to gain more knowledge about the unacceptable developments taking place in South Africa. I want to thank Rodney Mazinter for his permission to post this very important and well researched document. Every supporter of Israel needs to read this document. But, most importantly, you also need to act by lobbying your political representative, write to the media and disseminate the information in your sphere of influence.

6 February 2014 by Rodney Mazinter

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee facilitated the Solidarity Conference, which took place on Febraury 6th. Although the Declaration was not a declaration of the Portfolio Committee, it was a declaration of the participants at the Solidarity conference, which included members of parliament from most political parties. Opening remarks were made by ANC leader of the Western Cape and Deputy Minister of International Cooperation, Marius Fransman, which set a clear tone of demonising Israel. Of great concern to the Jewish Community were the presence of Bongani Masuku, found guilty by the Human Rights Court of anti-semitic hate speech and Fatima Hajaig, who resigned from her position as Deputy Minister of International Cooperation after making anti-semitic statements. Failure by this Conference to invite any official body of the Jewish Community to present a case in defence of Israel, or to be given the right to respond to accusations, is viewed with disdain and not in keeping with the democratic rights enshrined in our Constitution. It reflects the premeditaded agenda of the organizers and its findings are not only untrue, and hurtful to Jews and to many Christians,  but unnecessarily divisive.

This  declaration which has been forwarded from the Conference to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, will now be discussed to evaluate what is relevant to the department (DIRCO), which will then decide whether to make any recommendations in line with the declaration either to Parliament or to the department of International Cooperation.

Here is the list of resolutions followed by my comments:

Resolution

South Africa has a legal obligation under the Rome Statute to set up a special court to deal with war crimes, this needs to be urgently setup. South Africa must expeditiously deal with the “Gaza Docket” and deal with South Africans serving in the Israeli Defense Force.

Response
For South Africa to choose to act only on this matter, is selective targeting and clearly in pursuit of a political agenda. South Africa has chosen to ignore judgments against many war criminals, such as Omar el-Bashir of Sudan and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe

South Africa has a legal obligation under the League of Nations resolution of 24th July 1922 to accept the declaration passed at the San Remo Conference in Italy of April 1920. This charged that the Balfour Declaration be incorporated in the legal documents of the League and that the League fulfill that document’s implementation of a homeland for Jews in Palestine. This resolution was later adopted by the United Nations and it is still in force today never having been abrogated. It is the primary legal document that signals the formation and existence of Israel. There is no other.

There is no credible evidence whatsoever that Israel has ever been involved in war crimes. This spurious accusation has never been successfully tested in any court. However there is strong evidence to show that the Israeli Defence Force is one of the most, if not the most, ethical armies in the world: “Israeli Defence Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare. Israel did so while facing an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population.” (Col Richard Kemp, British forces in Afghanistan.)

Resolution

The 2009 Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) report that found Israeli guilty of Apartheid should be adopted by South Africa’s Parliament and by the South African government. The HSRC report must also be referred to international bodies including the International Parliamentary Union, the International Criminal Court, the United Nations and the African Union.

Response

The apartheid charges leveled against Israel are based on phony or nonexistent sources. Apart from contemporary evidence on the ground in modern Israel, here is some historical perspective:

Ben-Gurion wrote in a letter to his son: “We do not wish and do not need to expel Arabs and take their places. All our aspiration is built on the assumption — proven throughout all our activity in the Land [of Israel] — that there is enough room in the country for ourselves and the Arabs. (Efraim Karsh, Fabricating Israeli History, p. 49-50; ). In a speech on December 13, 1947, Ben-Gurion said: “In our state there will be non-Jews as well — and all of them will be equal citizens; equal in everything without exception; the state will be their state as well.”

No Israeli Arab is barred from serving in the Israeli army, standing for parliament, living and marrying who and where they please, serving in the government and the courts at the highest levels — Druze Arab men are drafted into the army when they turn 18, just like most Israeli Jews (this is by consent of the Druze community). Moreover, a higher percentage of eligible Druze serve in the army than eligible Jews, and 60% of Druze recruits choose to serve in combat units. Men from the Israeli Arab Bedouin community also routinely volunteer for the army, where they have served with special distinction as scouts and trackers.

We are told the Jewish state is, by nature, a racist, colonial and oppressive state. We are told Israel should be boycotted, and even destroyed. We are told this by rigid ideologues, who distort facts about the country while ignoring genuine oppression in the Middle East and across the world.

One needs look no further than the name to understand its malignant nature. The canard that Israel is an apartheid state is an assault on the country’s very legitimacy. South Africa’s apartheid regime was rightfully dismantled, and this campaign seeks absurdly to cast Israel — the Middle East’s most progressive state and only liberal democracy — as being guilty of similar policies and equally deserving of being dismantled.

This insult is an affront to moderates who seek to reach peace through compromise and mutual recognition. It opposes equality and tolerance by seeking to do away with the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that Israel, which he described as “one of great outposts of democracy in the world”, has an “incontestable right to exist.” This  push against King’s truth can only impede the dream of peace and justice in the Middle East.

Although activists unashamedly use the public’s revulsion of the word “apartheid,” it is apparent their aim is not to fight genuine oppression, but rather to revile Israel, the Middle East’s only liberal democracy and the only country among its neighbors designated as “free” by Freedom House, a non-partisan group that monitors the status of political, human and civil rights around the world. In short, Israel is being singled out for unfair, discriminatory treatment.

This is not the stuff of conciliation; it will give comfort only to people of extremist convictions on all sides, and tragically so since the signs of moderation among belligerents do exist, but are not exploited. An assortment of respected commentators have commented on the matter.

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.:
Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel, and never mind saying it, as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality.

South African human rights activist Rhoda Kadalie:
The equivalence simply isn’t true. Israel is not an apartheid state. …Whereas apartheid was established through a series of oppressive laws that governed which park benches we could sit on, where we could go to school, which areas we were allowed to live in, and even whom we could marry, Israel was founded upon a liberal and inclusive Declaration of Independence. Israeli schools, universities and hospitals make no distinction between Jews and Arabs. An Arab citizen who brings a case before an Israeli court will have that case decided on the basis of merit, not ethnicity. This was never the case for blacks under apartheid.

South African apartheid opponent and editor Benjamin Pogrund: Apartheid is…an epithet of abuse for Israel. Israel is accused by some of being ‘the new apartheid’ state. But it isn’t true. Anyone who knows what apartheid was, and who knows Israel today, is aware of that. Use of the apartheid label is at best ignorant and naïve and at worst cynical and manipulative. …

 Bedouin Muslim Israeli Diplomat Ishmael Khalidi:
…Both as the vice consul for Israel in San Francisco, and as a Bedouin and the highest-ranking Muslim representing Israel in the United States. I served in the Israeli border police, and later earned a master’s degree in political science from Tel Aviv University before joining the Israel Foreign Ministry. I am a proud Israeli – along with many other non-Jewish Israelis such as Druze, Bahai, Bedouin, Christians and Muslims, who live in one of the most culturally diversified societies and the only true democracy in the Middle East. By any yardstick you choose – educational opportunity, economic development, women and gay’s rights, freedom of speech and assembly, legislative representation – Israel’s minorities fare far better than any other country in the Middle East.

Palestinian journalist Ray Hanania:
Rejectionist and extremist Palestinians and their Arab allies have launched “apartheid week” to attack Israel. Although they are a minority they have built up a mirage of public support by exploiting the unanswered anger of the majority in the Arab world. The word apartheid does not apply accurately to the Palestinian-Israel conflict. …

Sudanese human rights activist and former child slave Simon Deng:
The State of Israel is not an apartheid state. I know because I write this from Jerusalem where I have seen Arab mothers peacefully strolling with their families protected by the state from terrorist bullets and stones. I know Arabs go to Israeli schools, and get the best medical care in the world. I know they vote and have elected representatives to the Israeli Parliament. None of this was true for blacks under Apartheid. I also know countries that do deserve the apartheid label: My country, Sudan, is on the top of the list, but so are Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. I see black Jews walking down the street here in Jerusalem. Black like me, free and proud. …Today, black children are enslaved in Sudan, the last place in the continent of Africa where humans are owned by other humans – I was part of the movement to stop slavery in Mauritania. Slaughter and genocide and slavery are lashing Africans right now. Where are you for Sudan? You are busy attacking the Jewish state. Why?

Professor Robert Wistrich
The reality is that South African apartheid never had anything in common with Israeli democratic structures, with the ethos of Israeli society, or with its fundamental values.

There is apartheid in the Middle East, but it will not be found in Israel.
The apartheid accusations are merely a pretext in the hands of activists who are bound and determined to be anti-Israel, regardless of the facts.  The activists who accuse Israel of apartheid and similar charges therefore deserve absolutely no credibility whatsoever.

Resolution
South Africa has a legal obligation and must stop all financial transactions with Israeli settlement companies as well as banks and companies involved in the Israeli settlements. This would be in line with developments in Europe and other countries.

Response
EU-Israel Relations
It will go a long way in finding peace in the Middle East if South Africa were to follow the example of Europe in its trade with Israel. (Figures in Euros)

29.7 billion: Total bilateral trade in goods (2012) 17 billion: EU exports to Israel (2012) 12.7 billion: EU imports from Israel (2012)

4.3 billion: Trade balance in goods in EU’s favour (2012)

1.16 billion: Israeli military-related sales to EU members (2012) 35% of Israeli imports come from the EU (Israel’s leading import partner) 27% of Israeli exports go to the EU (Israel’s second-leading export partner, after the US)
7.9 billion: Total bilateral trade in services (2012)

1.3 billion: Trade balance in service sector in EU’s favour 4.44 billion : UK-Israel trade (£3.75 billion) (2012, up 34% from 2011) 5.3 billion: Germany-Israel trade (2012)
2.3 billion: France-Israel trade (2011) Average annual growth rate in EU-Israel trade (2008-12): 4.9%: EU exports 3.0%: EU imports
Top EU-to-Israel exports: Machinery, transport equipment (38%); manufactured goods

(21%); chemicals (17%)
Top Israel-to-EU imports: Chemicals (37%); machinery, transport equipment (19%); manufactured goods (17%)
356: Israeli participants in European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) since 2000 (34% of all programmes)
289: Israeli participants in European Research Council projects: (11% of all projects) 1,406: Israeli participants in the EU Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.

Resolution
On the global arena South Africa must lobby for the financial and other support of the Palestinians for socio economic development after the end of the illegal Israeli occupation.

Response
The Palestinians are already receiving significant financial and developmental support from Israel. In the interests of peace this should be encouraged, not destroyed.

Last July sixty Gaza farmers attended an agricultural seminar in northern Israel.  They completed workshops on cultivation methods, planting schedules, soil preparation, irrigation, fertilisers and pesticides.

When the December storm struck, Israel intervened by rushing in 1.2 million litres of diesel into Gaza to restart its power station.  And when the snow trapped a Palestinian Authority ambulance carrying a very sick woman, Israeli soldiers from the Kfir Brigade were there to help it back on the road.

The PA shuns normalization of relations with Israel, but the 20,000 Palestinian Arabs working for Israelis in Judea and Samaria (25 percent more than in 2012) illustrate that the reality is quite different.  In August there was a report about the hundreds of Israeli and Palestinian Arabs who have become business partners and colleagues in joint start-ups, including the use of eco-friendly methods to harvest salt from the Dead Sea, and construction of a pipeline to produce millions of cubic meters of drinking water for the region, hydroelectric power and replenish the critically dwindling Dead Sea.

Work by Israel for the PA includes support for a new industrial park near Bethlehem (so much for the “apartheid wall”!).  Further construction projects, like that of Israeli water treatment company Mapal Green Energy, are recycling domestic sewage and water for Palestinian Arab villages.

In September, five Arab schools in East Jerusalem decided to switch from the Palestinian to Israeli curriculum so that their students could study for the Israeli bagrut (matriculation exam).  Then as Muslims celebrated the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, approximately one million Palestinian Arabs received permits to enter Israel as tourists—200,000 more than the previous year.

Far from “stealing” Palestinian water, Israel is a major facilitator in providing clean, fresh water to the West Bank. Israel obtains roughly 50 percent of its water from the Sea of Galilee and the Coastal Aquifer, both of which are entirely within Israel’s pre-1967 lines. Another 30 percent comes from the Western and Northeastern Aquifers of the Mountain Aquifer system. Most of the stored water is under pre-1967 Israel, making it easily accessible only in Israel. 20 percent comes from aquifers along the Green Line and the Palestinians benefit from this supply too.

The charge that Palestinian usage has declined since 1967 is a vast inversion of reality. In fact, in the period from 1967 to 1995 West Bank Palestinians increased their domestic water use by 640%. By way of comparison, in the same 28 year period Israeli domestic usage increased by just 142% (Statistical Abstract of Israel 1996, V47).

Similarly, in other endeavours Israel has gone out of its way to make the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank equivalent to that enjoyed by Palestinians and Jews living in Israel. Business Parks, agricultural training, business, medical and health cooperation are well established and can be witnessed by anyone who cares to inform him or herself. This is documented and attested to by many independent sources. There is no doubt that whenever and wherever Israeli know-how and expertise is allowed to find its natural, neighbourly interaction, Palestinian lives are immeasurably improved.

Resolution

The South African government must support Palestinian students, as a concrete act of solidarity, similar to how India, Cuba and other countries supported South Africa during the 1980s.

Response
The call to boycott Israeli universities which have a long established programme of accepting Palestinian students is part of the larger, and more destructive, boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign, and is based on its supporters’ desire, not merely to chastise Israel economically and culturally, but to weaken the Jewish state’s moral standing and work, not towards rectifying a number of political faults, but eventually dismantling Israel completely.  By joining in this world-wide campaign of the demonisation and delegitimisation of Israel, the conference resolution is facilitating the weakening of a sovereign state, while at the same time violating fundamental precepts of academic freedom.

Resolution
Entrance into South Africa for Palestinians must be made easier.

Response
The SAZF has no problem with any foreign national, who has legitimate business in visiting South Africa or is coming on holiday, and complying with the visa and entry requirements pertaining to all such visitors, being given access to the country. Specifically excluded in terms of the law are convicted criminals and those engaged in terrorist activities.

Resolution
The Palestinian health system must be supported beyond people capacity. Infrastructure in Gaza, West Bank and refugee camps must be supported.

Response
Israel has never shirked in its own perceived responsibilities as good neighbours to all the surrounding Arab countries and territories, most specifically in the area of health and health training. Last May, doctors at Schneider’s children hospital transplanted a kidney into a 10-year-old Palestinian Arab boy. The kidney came from 3-year-old Israeli Noam Naor who died in a tragic fall and his parents decided to donate his organs to save the life of others. In the same month, Hadassah doctors performed an operation to deliver the conjoined (“Siamese”) twins of a Palestinian Arab mother. The babies weighed 4.9 pounds and shared a heart.

The Israeli charity Save A Child’s Heart (SACH) performs more life-saving surgery on Palestinian Arab infants than from any other part of the world.  In August, of the 22 children at SACH’s base in Holon, seven were from the Palestinian Authority. SACH works with the Christian organisation, Shevet Achim, which provides transport for Gaza children requiring heart surgery to Israeli hospitals.

In July, IDF paramedics and Magen David Adom joined together with the PA police and the PA Red Crescent to save a Palestinian Arab who was hit by a car when riding his donkey near Nablus.  MDA transported him to an Israeli hospital for further treatment.  And coming right up-to-date, in December an IDF emergency medical team rescued a 10-year old Palestinian boy whose head was cut open following a car accident and airlifted him to hospital.  The team also treated the boy’s mother, who suffered from shock after the accident. 

In 2013, truck drivers from Israel made 64,783 deliveries of food, medicines, finished goods and building materials (some 1.3 million tons) into Gaza.  Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was photographed feeding orphans in Gaza with boycotted Israeli yoghurts. 

Resolution

Conference supports the Robben Island Declaration for the freedom of
Marwan Barghouti and all Palestinian Political prisoners.

 Response

Marwan Barghouti is not by any definition a political prisoner, but a convicted murderer found guilty of causing the deaths of civilians and non-combatants by a Supreme Court judge after a case governed by due legal process.

Resolution

Conference supports the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) issued by the majority of Palestinians. Complete military, financial and political sanctions must be applied against Israel until it complies with all applicable UN resolutions and international law and ends its occupation.

Response
Mr Omar Barghouti is the co-founder of the BDS movement. Much of his press statements given to the general media can be shown to be demonstrably false.

His statement that one of the purposes of BDS is ending the occupation is contradicted by an on-the-record statement by him that BDS will not end if or when the occupation is ended.

In the interests of accuracy and context, Mr. Barghouti is aware that his statement that the system of discrimination Palestinians are living under is similar to the crime of apartheid is not accurate. Labelling Israel an apartheid state is the most potent weapon in the armoury of BDS promoters, irrespective of the truthfulness of the allegation. In an interview with Electronic Intifada on May 31, 2009, Mr. Barghouti acknowledged ” We don’t have to prove that Israel is identical to apartheid South Africa in order to justify the label apartheid.”

When he said that Israel is not interested in a two-state solution, he omitted to add that it is he who has stated to selected audiences that he doesn’t subscribe to the two state solution and that his concept of two states is a Palestinian state next to a Palestinian state.

He also omitted to inform us about his views concerning the PA. This is how he described the PA in May 2009 in The Electronic Intifada “In the West Bank you have a largely quisling [traitor] government.”

Mr. Barghouti’s allegations that there are 30 laws in Israel that discriminate against Palestinians and that ninety-three percent of Israel is not accessible to Non-Jews are baseless.

In an interview at Imperial College, London, Prof Norman Finkelstein, by no means a friend of Israel, stated, ““BDS is nothing more than a cult. I’m not going to tolerate what I think is silliness, childish and just leftist posturing. It is legally correct to recognise that Israel is a state. The problem with these solidarity movements is that they are a mirror image of the so-called Palestinian Authority, whose means will never achieve their goal, which is the destruction of Israel. There is nothing in International Law that caters for one state. Step out of your little cult, your little ghetto, and you enter the real world. I’m not going to lie, you don’t want to enforce the law, you want to destroy Israel. That you focus on Israel’s minorities and not the plight of the 10-million other minorities throughout the Middle East and elsewhere is an indication of what hypocrites you are. Israel has a case and I am tired after so many years having to consider and answer these lies.”

Resolution

All South African political parties must clearly communicate their stance on the plight of the Palestinian people and make it timeously known in the build-up to 2014 elections.

Response
The SAZF will do whatever it takes to bring to the attention of parliamentarians and the general public the true situation in the Middle East. It stands ready to engage with all interested parties in this matter. As the stated purpose of your proposed resolution is to encourage a just, peaceful and lasting solution to the current negotiations I trust you will agree that this result is unlikely if demands are made on Israel only while asking for no contribution at all from the Palestinians. For example one cannot expect the Palestinian people to seek accommodation with Israel while they continue to be exposed to egregious demonisation and incitement to hate Israel.

Very sadly, the PA leadership as well as Hamas are still promoting hatred with haunting echoes of Nazi ideology and Jews being repeatedly DEHUMANIZED in words and cartoons as monkeys, pigs, donkeys, rats, worms, scorpions, spiders and octopuses.

A virulently anti-Semitic TV series (“Khaybar”) is currently being filmed in Egypt and Morocco that will inevitably incite hundreds of millions including Palestinians, with disastrous effects on the peace efforts.

Unfortunately, even PA President Mahmoud Abbas contributes to this atmosphere of hate by glorifying terrorists. In recent months his PA named several schools and a scout group after terrorist mastermind Dalal Mughrabi who led a group of terrorists that carried out a terror attack in 1978 in which 37 civilians were killed. Hardly a confidence building measure.

On January 4, in another confidence destroying measure he praised by name dozens of “martyrs” in a speech on PA TV (translated by MEMRI). Included were arch-terrorists Ahmad Yassin and Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rantissi, both of whom were responsible for terror attacks that killed hundreds.

The PA president added praise for tens of thousands of “martyrs’ including the Grand Mufti of Palestine, Hajj Muhammad Amin Al-Husseini, who is noted for having actively collaborated with Hitler during World War II.

I suggest with great respect that a few minutes watching the video link below may assist you in evaluating a path towards providing sincere Palestinians who desire nothing more than to live with dignity in peace and security, but who cannot help being influenced by having been subjected to this type of indoctrination over many years. Support for these resolutions is support for what you will see here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=etDb5tXPawc

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2 Responses to SOUTH AFRICAN PARLIAMENT’S INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS SOLIDARITY CONFERENCE

  1. Jill Timoney says:

    Thank you Willie and thank you Rodney Mazinter for stating the truth clearly. Has this response also been presented to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee? And to the press?

  2. Thank you for the correct response to the utter stupidity of South African pro Palestinian politicians. We really know how to make fools of ourselves. The Rev I doubt is a Rev he is either a moslem or a fake. I have bumped heads with him before and he has no ability to answer reasonable questions about the Bible and He has never been to Israel as far as we can read. Unfortunately this country has had more than a 100 years of anti- Semitic behavior and I am afraid that we are about to feel the full wrath of the God of the Bible because of Genesis 12 v 1-3

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