Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

South Africa May Downgrade Ties With Israel Over Palestinian Issue

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party is calling for the downgrading of the country’s embassy in Israel to signal displeasure with the occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The move would “send a strong message about Israel’s continued illegal occupation of Palestine and the continued human rights abuses against the peoples of Palestine,” read a statement from a party committee that approved new positions on international relations.

The government would have to adopt the committee’s resolutions. But that is possible, considering that the ANC, which led the country out of apartheid, controls the levers of the country’s government.

National elections are expected in 2019 and the ANC may see the anti-Israel push as a popular move.

Arthur Lenk, Israel’s ambassador in South Africa, criticized the move as unproductive. “Any decision to downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel would only hurt South Africans and would have absolutely no impact on Israel or the Palestinians,” he said, in comments to the Times of Israel.

The move comes as Israel has made progress in strengthening ties with Africa, including some Muslim West African states that once shunned it.

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at [email protected] or on Twitter @DanielJSolomon

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.