South African ruling party conference supports Israel boycott

PRETORIA, South Africa (JTA) — An international conference convened by South Africa’s ruling party declared its support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign targeting Israel.

Several anti-Israeli declarations were made in Pretoria this week during the 3rd International Solidarity Conference, organized by the African National Congress.

More than 1,000 delegates, from South Africa and around the world, participated in the ANC conference held Oct. 25 to Oct. 29 at the Tshwane city hall in Pretoria, which commemorates the anti-apartheid struggle.

During the debate, a German delegate opposed to the proposal endorsing a boycott of Israel said that Israel cannot be compared to the apartheid regime. According to the South African daily Business Day, the ANC’s chairperson and South Africa’s former deputy president, Baleka Mbete, accused Israel of being ‘’worse than apartheid South Africa.’’

The ‘’Tshwane declaration’’ concluding the conference calls upon the delegates to condemn the "continuous occupation of Palestinian territories by the Israeli government’’ and reiterates its support for a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with eastern Jerusalem as its capital, and including full membership at the United Nations. The declaration also expresses support for the ‘’boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign.’’

Parallel to the conference, another ANC event took place on Oct. 24 commemorating anti-apartheid leader Oliver Tambo and titled ‘’advancing the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.’’

The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement co-hosting the meeting published a message supporting the Palestinian struggle, which was delivered at the event by the head of the ANC’s international relations subcommittee and South Africa’s deputy international relations minister, Ebrahim Ebrahim.

The message calls upon all South Africans "to support the programs and campaigns of Palestinian civil society in their pursuit of justice, freedom and equality."

Ebrahim has called in the past on South African citizens not to visit Israel.

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