21 Dec 2017 

STATEMENT 

A decision was taken late last night at the ANC National Elective Conference to downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel.  This is clearly punitive to one party to the conflict and directly contradicts the central tenants of the ANC’s International Relations policy, and the South African Friends of Israel condemn this decision in the strongest terms. 

The South African government and ANC have always called for all-inclusive negotiation processes in areas of conflict, based on the assumption “that every group has genuine grievances and has the interests of the country at heart”. 

However, we question the motives behind this discriminatory decision that would effectively prevent South Africa from playing any relevant role in bringing about peace or dialogue between Israel and Palestinians. This downgrade will do nothing for the Palestinian cause, and will have a detrimental effect on many South Africans. 

Further more, this is an attempt to damage and alienate the unbreakable bond between South Africans of the Jewish and Christian faith with Israel. Any such attempt will fail. 

For South African citizens this has the real possibility of leading to a loss of a visa free status in travel to Israel, which currently exists. Such an unfortunate decision would then necessitate that South African citizens travel to the nearest Israeli Embassy in Kenya to apply for a visa to enter Israel. A Staggering +- 44 million South Africans profess to be Christian and South African pilgrims account for the highest number of inbound visitors to Israel from the African continent. 

People of faith will stand up and speak against this affront to their religion and beliefs. And we reject any attempt by the ANC to interfere in these religious beliefs, as the eternal word of God is stronger than a transitory ANC resolution. 

We implore all our friends of Israel to take action by signing the petition: http://bit.ly/2kxRitR 

For any further queries, please contact: 

Mark Hyman – Co-Chairman: SAFI

Ben Swartz – Co-Chairman: SAFI

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