WASHINGTON (Jul. 1)
Trade between Israel and South Africa, an issue frequently raised by the enemies of both, is a negligible proportion of each country’s overall foreign trade. Moreover, it is conducted openly where as many countries which officially boycott South Africa, trade with it clandestinely.
Those points were made by Abe Hoppenstein, Consul General at the South African Embassy in Washington and a south African Jewish community leader, in a recent address at the Northern Virginia Jewish Community Center in Arlington.
Israel-South African trade represents only one-half of one percent of each country’s total trade or the equivalent of one cent in two dollars, Hoppenstein said. By any measurement, trade with South Africa by the U.S., Western Europe and Third World countries for exceeds Israel’s.
“The enemies of both countries were constantly endeavoring to bedevil” Israeli-South African trade, he said. “Not only Britain, France, West Germany and the U.S. trade with South Africa but many Third World nations do so as well. The only difference is that Israel trades with South Africa by day and the Third World nations trade with us by night, “he added.
Hoppenstein noted “the great atmosphere of change in the world today,” particularly in southern Africa with the Portuguese departing from Angola and Mozambique and the establishment of Zimbabwe. He explained that “the policies of the South African government regarding the non-white population have been constantly changing and being liberalized.”
He noted also that “Jews tend to be liberal, by South African standards, and continue to do much to ameliorate the condition of the under-privileged there.” South Africa’s Jewish community is “a model community for its organization, discipline, generosity to local and overseas causes and its deep attachment to and spiritual bonds with Israel,” Hoppenstein said. It makes “its mark on every facet of public life, commerce and industry, science and medicine, culture, art and music, sport and entertainment.”