Political analyst Ralph Mathekga says the show of support for Israel from local political parties is concerning. A number of political parties and organisations took to the streets of Johannesburg at the weekend to show their support for Israel’s military incursion in Gaza in a protest organised by the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF).
Representatives of the Democratic Alliance (DA), African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the Congress of People (COPE) all publicly stood together to show outright support for Israel in the conflict with Palestine.
Speaking to VOC Breakfast Beat on Tuesday, Mathekga said the ACDP’s support for Israel comes at no surprise.
“When you take a closer look at the ideology of the ACDP, you will find that it has for as long as it has been in existence, supported the State of Israel.”
ACDP president Kenneth Meshoe told attendees at the Johannesburg rally that Israel has the same right to existence as other democratic states. He said the party did not believe the media reports on Israel, as it knew “the truth”.
The Al Jama-ah party was the first to respond to the rally, saying it was extremely disappointed that certain South African political parties supported Israel.
“All South Africans should work to free Palestinian and for these parties to justify the atrocities is a block on all South Africans,” says Al Jama-ah president Ganief Hendricks.
He added that this defence of Israel’s aggressive policies against the Palestinians went against the ideals of freedom embodied by former president Nelson Mandela.
Mathekga agreed that the reason for this sympathy for Israel was senseless. He added that even the United States, who has always considered itself an ally to Israel has expressed its reservations on the way in which it has carried out a “collective punishment” on Palestine.
In addition a number of noteworthy Jews and Israelis have come forward expressing their concern and condemnation toward Israel’s offensive on Gaza. Yet, Mathekga said, it is still surprising to see South African parties, from a country that is known for its progressiveness, taking such kind of an extreme Zionist position.
“This says much about SA politics. There is this assumption that most of the black dominated political parties are bound to be progressive having lived under oppression, but here is a party lead by Reverend Kenneth Meshoe. Being extreme is not progressive at all when it comes to taking a position on Islam,” Mathekga said.
Internationally, South Africa has always been respected on its moral stand points, based on its experience in the struggle against Apartheid.
“I think this is just political posturing from the ACDP’s position. If you look within SA, within the broader progressive movement, there is just no space for the stance the ACDP has taken on the Israeli aggression on Palestine,” Mathekga further stated.
Mathekga was of the view that the United States and its White House was currently being held ransom by Israeli lobby groups within the US.
“The Israeli lobby groups are strong in the US and extremely powerful in influencing congress. The reason why Israel continues to kill Palestinian is due to the fact that they are aware of the split between Western powers in their stand point on the conflict. Israel is very much aware of the lobby groups in the US and its efforts to silence any individuals in Congress from uttering words of condemnation.” VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)