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South African Leaders Explain Reasons for Criticizing Israel

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Leaders of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies issued a statement here today explaining the Jewish community’s reasons for criticizing Israel’s United Nations delegation which recently voted at the UN General Assembly for censure of a speech delivered there by South Africa’s Foreign Minister Eric Louw. The Board’s stand, critical of Israel’s UN vote, was set forth in a resolution at the Board’s meeting attended by a capacity membership.

Today’s statement, issued by Namie Phillips, president of the Board, and Arthur Suzman, chairman of the public relations committee, declared that South African Jewry has no reason for expressing any views regarding Israel’s policy “which is exclusively Israel’s business.” Pointing out that “there was no departure” on behalf of the Deputies regarding this principle, the statement continued:

“In this case, the censure vote at the United Nations was tantamount to stifling the right of free speech at the UN. The South African Foreign Minister had the right to express his Government’s views, whether these were acceptable to his audience or not. As Jewish citizens of South Africa, who have special ties with Israel, it was felt that the Board should draw Israel’s attention to that aspect.”

The censure of Foreign Minister Louw, for which Israel voted at the UN, together with 66 other UN member states, had dealt with an address made by this country’s Cabinet member dealing with Apartheid.

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