16 August 2012
The Congress of South African Trade Unions fully supports the position of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of discouraging relations with Israel. DIRCO`s position must be viewed in the context of the South African government`s continued support for the oppressed people of Palestine as well as policy that the ANC conference recently reaffirmed at Midrand.
South Africa should not be dictated by an Israeli lobby whose interests lie not with South Africa but with an Israeli regime, which continues to violate international law through its illegal occupation of Palestine. We strongly commend the KwaZulu Natal municipal office holders who have cancelled their planned trip to Israel.
The kind of visits to Israel that government has discouraged are not tourist visits but ones that are deliberately orchestrated to forge relations with an apartheid regime, that is increasingly isolated from the international stage, as it should be, largely due to the growing and successful Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Therefore the South African government`s position should come as no surprise.
As a post-apartheid country, we must not be scared to name apartheid when we see it, and to call on Israel to end its illegal occupation of Palestine. The SAJBD must not hypocritically entice business relations with Israel when it remains silent on other issues.
For example, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, has failed to utter a single word on the state-endorsed racism and xenophobia toward our African brothers and sisters by Israel. And, most recently, when Israel blocked a high-level meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement within Palestine, the SAJBD did not say a word. This is utter hypocrisy.
COSATU reaffirms its solidarity with the people of Palestine and its support for their demands for national sovereignty and human rights.
Bongani Masuku (International Relations Secretary)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Streets
P.O. Box 1019
Tel: +27 11 339-4911 or 010 219-1337
Mobile: +27 79 499 6419