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Israel Urged to Cease All Arms Exchanges with South Africa

Two American Jewish groups are calling on Israel to take its newly adopted sanctions against South Africa one step further by ceasing all military exchanges with the racist government.

American Jewish Congress president Theodore Mann and New York Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) president Lester Pollack have issued separate statements which praise the new Israeli sanctions while noting that they are only a first step towards total disengagement from military trade with South Africa.

The Israeli government decided on March 18 to prohibit any new military contracts with South Africa and to allow existing military contracts to expire. The new sanctions allow Israeli companies to uphold existing military contracts.

“We now urge Israel to go the extra distance–by halting all arms sales under pre-existing agreements as quickly and expeditiously as possible,” the AJCongress statement said.

The statement also expressed disappointment with the findings released by the State Department last Thursday that Israel, France, Italy, Great Britain, West Germany, The Netherlands, and Switzerland all violated the 1977 United Nations arms embargo on South Africa.

The JCRC, like the AJCongress, said it finds “no moral justification for the sale of arms, the transfer of technology or the provision of fuel by any country, so long as Pretoria’s racist policies remain in effect.”

The pressure of sanctions is aimed at convincing the South African government to change its apartheid policies, the JCRC said.

“We share with Israel a concern for the Jewish community of South Africa and welcome Israel’s recent constructive first step in a process that will hopefully lead to full disengagement from any military cooperation with South Africa,” the JCRC statement said.

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