WATCH: ‘Opposing Israel’s brutal system is not anti-Semitic’ – Malema
The DA, IFP, African Christian Democratic Party and the Freedom Front Plus rejected the EFF's motion to sever ties with Israel.
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema. Picture: Nigel Sibanda
Political parties were at loggerheads in Parliament about whether to close the South African embassy in Israel and boot out the Israeli ambassador to South Africa or not.
This comes after the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) tabled a motion that South Africa cut diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv and close Israel’s embassy.
Parliamentarians will vote next week on the motion.
Watch: Malema debating about South Africa severing ties with Israel
CIC @Julius_S_Malema in Parliament, debating the closure of the Israel Embassy in South Africa and the suspension of all the diplomatic relations with Israel.
-Israel does not see Palestinian children, it hates them the same way the apartheid regime hated black… pic.twitter.com/3SG5E3TWKz— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) November 16, 2023
The National Freedom Party (NFP) Al Jamah-ah and the Good party backed the red berets motion while Democratic Alliance (DA) the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and the Freedom Front Plus (FFP) rejected it.
Severing ties with Israel
Malema said people must reject the idea that because Israel calls itself a Jewish state opposing its “brutal system is anti-Semitic”.
“There is nothing anti-Semitic about opposing injustice particularly apartheid. Zionism does not equal to Jewishness or Judaism. No one must manipulate scriptures in the bible or Torah to promote ethnic cleansing or racism and mass murder of people.
“There are no special human beings with the right to massacre others so that they can benefit from the subsequent stolen land,” Malema said.
Malema said South Africa cannot have relations with a country that “murders” women and children.
“This should tell us that indeed Israel has declared war on children, hospitals, ambulances, journalists and a general campaign to wipe Palestinians off the face of the earth. Palestinians have lived under Israeli military occupation without any basic human rights.
“We must therefore never buy into the lie and the propaganda that this is a religious war. This is not a holy war. It is an evil war by an evil regime that is driving an evil agenda. Israel is a Zionist apartheid regime, seeking to wipe Palestinians off the face of the earth,” Malema said.
Palestinians welcomed Jews
The NFP’s Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam said the Israeli embassy must be closed down.
“The truth of the matter is the land belongs to the Palestinians. When the Jews were thrown out all over the world, the Palestinians showed them love and respects and welcomed them on every occasion.
“The truth is we must shutdown this embassy, we must shut it down immediately, kick out the ambassador. Those that are part and parcel of the atrocities and the IDF, lets charge them and hand them over to the International Criminal Court. Let’s shut it down and break all ties until the barbaric state of Israel is willing to negotiate and enter into a ceasefire,” Shaik Emam said.
SA needs Israel
ACDP leader Kenneth Mashoe was among those who rejected the EFF’s motion.
“South Africa needs Israel much more than Israel needs South Africa. The EFF and the ANC must stop being hypocrites and accept the fact that South Africa has many needs and Israel has the expertise to meet them in areas such as healthcare, innovation, technology, agriculture and economic growth.”
DA MP Emma Powell accused the ANC and EFF of opportunism and using the conflict to sow division and distract from governance failures in South Africa.
“In the face of this brutal war, the political opportunism on display by both the ANC and the EFF is indicative of their inherent moral bankruptcy.”
ANC supports EFF
The ANC said it will support the EFF’s motion in parliament, but wants it amended to allow some form of diplomatic channels with Israel to remain, so that South Africa maintains its ability to talk to both sides and influence the situation.
South Africa recently withdrew all its diplomats from Tel Aviv for consultation over Israel’s assault in Gaza.
Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip has killed more than 11 000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, while more than 2 600 people – including about 1 400 children – are reported missing, potentially trapped, or deceased beneath the rubble, according to the Health Ministry.
The attack by Israel came after Hamas launched a surprise attack on 7 October, which left 1 200 people – mostly civilians – dead, with 239 hostages, according to updated Israeli figures.