The South African Jewish Federation says the ANC needs to stop and evaluate the path it is being “blindly led down”, writes Idris Amien.
Cape Town city centre will come to standstill next Tuesday (May 15) when thousands of people – some bearing coffins – will mark Nakba Day with a march to Parliament Buildings to protest and demand that “decisive action to be taken by our government against the brutal Israeli regime”.
Nakba Day is sadly marked to commemorate the period in May 1948 when the Zionist regime forcibly evicted and displaced thousands of Palestinian families and created the State of Israel. Four hundred villages were destroyed. More than two thirds of Palestinians became refugees.
In the backdrop of Israel’s ongoing killing and wounding scores of innocent protesters during the #GreatReturnMarch protests at the Gaza fence recently, this year’s Nakba Day is expected to be intensely loud, both in South Africa and around the world.
Placard demonstrations for #GreatReturnMarch, will also be held in other towns and cities including Durban and Johannesburg.
Palestine activists say what has infuriated people even more – and added salt to their wounds – was when US President Donald Trump gleefully decided to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem to mark Israel’s “70 years of independence” next week.
In Cape Town, the march will be held under the banner of the National Coalition For Palestine (NC4P) comprising many activists organization such as the South African Jews for a Free Palestine, BDS South Africa, the Muslim Judicial Council(MJC), the Palestine Solidarity Alliance , African Council of Churches, the Council of African Independent Churches and Kairos Southern Africa.
Ordinary people will march bearing coffins to signify the brutality of Israel’s killing machine.
Faiez Jacobs, the ANC’s provincial Secretary General, said protesters will demand that “decisive action to be taken by our government, starting with the implementation of the downgrade of the South African Embassy in Israel.”
But, Terry Crawford-Browne of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign went even further and demanded that the government go beyond a downgrade of South Africa’s embassy in Israel – It should sever ties completely with the Jewish state.
Leaders of the MJC, as well as of the ANC Youth League and BDS, urged all freedom-loving citizens of the Western Cape to join the protest.
Muhammad Desai, national co-ordinator of BDS South Africa, compared Israel’s defence of its Gaza border to the Sharpeville massacre, saying it should be isolated from the international community.
Muhammad Khalid Sayed, chairman of the ANC Youth League in the Western Cape, said: “The media usually protect the “Zionist lobby”, adding that this march was not “merely to drum up support for the ANC ahead of elections, but to hold Israel to account”.
Sayed said he would also demand that South Africans serving in Israel’s Defence Forces be criminalised.
Maulana Abdul-Khaliq Allie of the MJC said that the organisation supports the BDS campaign and that, just like South Africans are dealing with land expropriation, so are Palestinians. “This is land that we own,” he said.
Commenting in the Jewish Report, SA Zionist Federation chairman Ben Swartz asked rhetorically: “When the MJC says: ‘This is land that we own’, who is it speaking for? Is this a religious war? Is the MJC Palestinian?”
He went on to comment: “What is most concerning for South Africa and South African Jewry is how the ANC is no longer calling for a two-state solution. A one-state solution is, in simple terms, calling for the destruction of the State of Israel. The ANC needs to stop and evaluate the path it is being blindly led down.
“If this is the position it wants to take, it has quantifying implications for everyone. It is a radical position that not even Arab countries are taking. Does the ANC want to align itself with Iran and Hamas? It is going over the edge and is no longer in touch with the situation on the ground.