Israel-Africa Summit called-off following boycott threats

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The human rights and Palestine solidarity organisation, BDS South Africa, welcomes the calling-off of the Africa-Israel Summit which was meant to take place in Togo next month. The decision comes following several boycott threats. 

This is welcomed as good news by human rights organisations and the global BDS movement which has called for the isolation of Israel over its human rights abuses and violations of international law. Palestinian Ambassador to South Africa, Hashem Dajani, has also welcomed the decision adding that: “The State of Palestine welcomes the position adopted by South Africa and other African states to shun this propaganda exercise by Israel.”

Last month it was reported that several countries, including South Africa, were planning to boycott the summit. South African Ambassador Sean Benfeldt explained that South Africa will not take part because the summit was viewed as a step by Israel to normalize relations between Africa and an “occupation state.” 

In addition, the head of International Relations for South Africa’s governing ANC party, Minister Edna Molewa, is quoted as saying on the issue: “We cannot turn a blind eye on Israeli efforts to galvanise support from Africa and elsewhere, with a view to undermine the Palestinian cause.” 

BDS South Africa welcomes this decision and commends South Africa and other African states who were to boycott the summit. However, our governments must continue to resist all Israeli attempts to influence, corrupt or weaken our solidarity with the Palestinians – including attempts, in contradiction to our policies, by some within our own Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO). The Palestinians were a people that supported us during the darkest days of Apartheid, while Israel, we painfully remember, was supplying arms to the Apartheid government.