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March in S. Africa to protest West Bank product relabeling

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PRETORIA, South Africa (JTA) — South Africa’s African Christian Democratic Party is planning a march to protest a proposal to ban products from the West Bank to be labeled as originating from Israel.

Marches will be held Thursday in Pretoria and Friday at the parliament gates in Cape Town.

Party leader the Rev. Kenneth Meshoe, who initiated the marches, told JTA that the relabeling proposal issued by Trade Minister Rob Davies is flawed and an anti-Israel lobbying group had pushed for the measure.

”The proposal refers to ‘Occupied Palestinian Territories,’ but this is not a state," Meshoe said. "The consumer act demands that such a notice will include the name of the state to which it refers. There is no recognized country here, so the notice cannot be applied."

Meshoe also said the notice was promoted on the basis of unproven allegations made by the pro-Palestinian Open Shuhada Street organization.

"This group is also calling for a boycott of Israel. We are calling on our government not to act in the name of the agenda of this group," he said.

Meshoe added that the relabeling is clearly anti-Israel and called on the minister to withdraw or cancel his proposal.

The African Christian party chose to march this week in front of the Trade Ministry in Pretoria rather than submit an objection to the proposal because, Meshoe explained, a march in the street has proven to be much more effective in sending out the message.

”It’s a sort of submission which the government cannot ignore," Meshoe said.

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