On Sunday 9 March 2014, on the eve of Israel Apartheid Week, hundreds of leaders of South African civil society gathered in Johannesburg in support of Israel. Groups from throughout South Africa and the rest of the continent of Africa rallied to Israel’s support. The leaders of Civil society represented more than 20 million South Africans gathered in a unanimous voice in support of Israel, during the onslaught of Israel Hate Week, as many have dubbed the IAW propaganda week.
The gathering was addressed by leaders of some of the largest church groups in South Africa and was attended by all major South African political parties. Delegates signed a declaration in support of Israel and re-affirming that there was absolutely no comparison between Israel and the old South African Apartheid regime.
We the undersigned, as representatives from civil society organisations, political parties, religious institutions, schools, and student groups from all corners of South Africa hereby declare our support for Israel, for the right of the Jewish people to live in freedom and security in their Biblical and historical homeland and for Peace in the Holy Land.
We believe that South Africa has a moral obligation to support a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to distance itself from those who seek to undermine that process.
The majority of South Africans support the right to self-determination of both the Israeli and the Palestinian people and are opposed to extremists who seek to deny either people that right. Nelson Mandela, speaking as ANC leader, encapsulated this when he said, “We recognize the legitimacy of Palestinian nationalism just as we recognise the legitimacy of the Zionism as a Jewish nationalism. We insist on the right of the state of Israel to exist within secure borders but with equal vigor support the Palestinian right to national self-determination”.
In particular we note that the aims and ideology of the BDS movement diametrically contradicts the vision for a peaceful resolution to this difficult conflict. Instead, its supporters explicitly deny the right of the Jewish people to an independent existence in their own country, and seek to delegitimise and isolate the State of Israel at every opportunity with a view to bringing about the State of Israel’s eventual destruction.
The aims and strategies of BDS contradict the stated policy of the South African government, which is to support a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. It is regrettable that the ANC has endorsed the destructive agenda of the BDS movement by expressing support for its flagship campaign, “Israel Apartheid Week”. We call on the ANC to reconsider this decision and instead explicitly distance itself from the BDS movement and its ignoble aims.
We, the undersigned, therefore call on the South African Government:
•To affirm the right of the Jewish people to live in their biblical and historical homeland, as recognized by international law.
•To recognize the will of the majority of South Africans who support the right of Israel to exist in safe and secure borders, free of the dangers and threats of those that seek to destroy Israel.
•To distance themselves from and condemn (in no uncertain terms) those organisations that seek to destroy Israel.
•To strive to be even-handed in its policies regarding the Middle East, taking equally into account the legitimate aspirations, hopes and fears of both peoples.
•To assist in the search for peace in the region and enhance the opportunities for dialogue.
•To end any support for the BDS campaign and its events, such as IAW.
•To ensure the recognition of Zionism as Jewish nationalism just as they recognise the legitimacy of Palestinian nationalism.
•To insist on the right of the State of Israel to exist within secure borders with the same vigor that they support the Palestinian right to national self-determination.
•To remember its legacy as a democratic, non-violent organisation, and to use this to help foster peace, understanding and reconciliation in the Middle-East and throughout the world.
Signatories to the Declaration:
African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP)
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)
Democratic Alliance (DA)
African National Congress (ANC)
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem
Christian Friends of Israel
Defend Empower Invest and Support Israel (DEISI)
Beth El Christian Association
Image of G-d Church International
The Christian Coalition
New Tabernacle Church
Missionary Centre Church of G-d
Africa House of Prayer
Africa Israel Institute
Africa Revival Conference
Apostolic Prayer and World Ministries
G-d’s Wisdom Miracle Church International
Gospel of Christ to the Nations
SAPMC House of Prayer
The Word of Christ International Ministries
Yahwe Shamma Assembly
Impact for Christ Ministries
Bridges for Peace
Congo for peace without borders
Hebraic Roots Teaching Institute
Cape to Cairo Israel Mission
South African Friends of Israel
Africa Israel Initiative
South African Union of Progressive Judaism
Jewish Pioneers Memorial museum
East London Chevra Kadisha
SA Jewish Ex Service League
The United Jewish Campaign
South African Union of Progressive Judaism
Kwazulu-Natal Zionist Council
Israel centre – Cape Town
Yad Aharon & Michael Tzedokah Food Fund
Port Elizabeth Hebrew Congregation and the South African Zionist Federation Eastern Cape
Sunny Road Shul
Southern African Rabbinical Association
Association of Holocaust Survivors in Johannesburg
West Street Shul
Rainbow Gospel Mission
The Rebirth of Africa House
Institute for Christian Leadership Development
Likud South Africa
Betar South Africa
South Africa Zionist Federation Cape Council
South African Zionist Federation
Africa Bless Israel
Christians for Peace in Africa
Ambassador of Israel to South Africa
Mizrachi South Africa
Glory to Glory Ministries
Woman of Wealth
Kingdom Chamber of Commerce Africa
The South African Board of Deputies
Jewish National FundThe Bible House Project
Vuka Africa Foundation
Builders of Zion
International Christian Chamber of Commerce
World Zionist Organisation
Women International Zionist Organisation
A Night to Honour Israel
Three Cord Family Ministries
Pastors Ministers Prayers Network
South Africa Jewish Board of Deputies
Magen David Adom in South Africa
South African Union of Jewish Students
Jesus Redeemer Apostolic Church
Maccabi South Africa
Turn 2 God
Forever Jerusalem Tours
First Foundation Ministries
Hephizibah Beulah Ministries
South African Prayer Movement for Change
Israel United Appeal
Ebenezer Operation Exodus
Stand With Us
See Israel 4 Yourself
Standing At Cape Town Parlaiment
House of Prayer for All Nations
Justified by Faith Ministries