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By Kyle Zeeman

Digital News Editor

WATCH: ‘Calling Israel an apartheid state delegitimises what black people went through’- Gayton McKenzie

Patriotic Alliance leader takes aim at Israel's critics, just hours after ANC shows its solidarity for Palestine.

Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie has weighed in on the ongoing conflict in Gaza, saying claims that Israel is an apartheid state delegitimises the struggles of black people before 1994.

Hamas launched a large-scale attack against Israel last Saturday, with Israel retaliating. Over the last week of fighting, at least 1 900 Gazans, including more than 600 children, have been killed in bloody violence.

Speaking at a South African Zionist Federation’s gathering in solidarity with Israel on Sunday, McKenzie said the Middle Eastern conflict could not be compared to apartheid.

“I want to say to every Jewish person here: I grew up in apartheid. I can tell you Israel is not an apartheid state. Calling Israel an apartheid state is delegitimising what we went through as black people and as a people.”

McKenzie said he was invited to Israel, where he said the situation was different to those under apartheid in South Africa.

“No one told me which toilet or bathroom to use in Israel. I didn’t see different bathrooms for different people in Israel.”

ALSO READ: WATCH: ANC NEC wear black in solidarity with Palestine, evacuations in discussion

Gayton urged the SA government to “turn back” from its stance on the conflict because “there is always repentance”.

Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) Alvin Botes told 702 earlier this week government regretted the loss of lives in the conflict, but questioned “why the Oslo Accords, the UN Security Council resolutions, and more than 300 resolutions on the plight of Palestine, have been completely ignored and subordinate to the interests of the Israeli state”.

McKenzie’s comment came hours after the ANC showed its solidarity for Palestine, with party members wearing black and waving mini Palestinian flags ahead of a NEC meeting in Boksburg, Gauteng.

Ramaphosa: ANC stands with Palestine

Ahead of the meeting, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the ANC had always stood with Palestine.

ALSO READ: Hamas chief accuses Israel of war crimes in Gaza

“As a people and organisation that has struggled against an oppressive system of apartheid, we pledge solidarity with the Palestinians, and as the ANC always pledged our solidarity with them.

“We have always insisted the only solution for the problems in the Middle East is a two-state solution based on the 1960 borders.”

He added government was discussing plans to evacuate South Africans caught up in the conflict.

Presidential betrayal

It drew criticism from the South African Jewish Board of Deputies national chair Karen Milner, who accused Ramaphosa of betraying SA’s Jewish community. She added the NEC’s stance was “deliberately rubbing salt in gaping wounds” on their sabbath.

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