South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) will consider a proposal to sever relations with the State of Israel at its upcoming conference in mid-December.
The ANC will debate South Africa’s ties with Israel even as the organization is reeling from revelations of massive corruption that have split the party, and that threaten to derail plans to elect a successor to President Jacob Zuma.
A recent analysis published in the Business Day, South Africa’s leading national English-language daily, warned that severing ties with Israel could jeopardize South Africa’s relationship with the United States, particularly the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, which allows South African manufacturers privileged access to American markets.
The Trump administration is keen on achieving a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians and has frowned on actions taken to isolate either side during negotiations.
South African relations with Israel were fraught during the height of the apartheid era, when Israel voted against apartheid at the United Nations in the 1960s. A decade later, the two countries, isolated within the African and Middle Eastern blocs, forged a secret military relationship.
Israel joined international sanctions against South Africa in 1987, and worked to build ties to the ANC in the post-apartheid era. But in 2001, after the South African city of Durban hosted the disastrous UN World Conference Against Racism, which descended into outright antisemitism, South Africa came under increasing pressure from anti-Israel activists to break relations with the Jewish state.
South Africans are not generally anti-israel, but hostility to Israel is virtually a requirement among South Africa’s media and political elite.
On Wednesday, the anniversary of the UN vote to partition Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state, thereby paving the way for Israeli independence, the South African Mail & Guardian published an op-ed by a member of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, which targets Israeli civilians for murder and kidnapping.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.