Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

South African Politician Suspended For Saying City Is ‘Friend Of Israel’

(JTA) — The mayor of Johannesburg said that a City Council member was suspended for declaring that the city was a friend of Israel.

Mayor Herman Mashaba in announcing Mpho Phalatse’s suspension on Tuesday said her “remarks didn’t adequately address the complexity and sensitivity of the issue. They caused confusion,” News24 reported.

Phalatse made the remarks during a pro-Israel event organized by local Jews.

“I would like to declare that I am a friend of Israel and the city of Johannesburg is a friend of Israel. Shalom,” she said.

Phalatse was suspended after other councilors called for her firing.

The African National Congress, South Africa’s ruling political party, last month compared Israel’s actions on the Gaza border to Nazi Germany’s actions against the Jews. Israeli troops have killed dozens of Palestinians there in riots organized by Hamas. Demonstrators have hurled dozens of firebombs at the troops amid attempts to breach Israel’s security fence.

South Africa announced following the clashes that its ambassador will leave Israel “until further notice.”

Separately, an online petition urging the South African government “to cease efforts to sever ties with the State of Israel and to reinstate” its ambassador to Israel has received 27,000 signatures since its posting online this week.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected]

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

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.