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B’nai B’rith Discloses That Arab. Black African States Maintain Extensive Trade with South Africa

August 31, 1976
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Third World countries, while excoriating Israel for its relations with South Africa, are themselves maintaining extensive–but often circumspect–trade with the apartheid-practicing state, the B’nai B’rith International Council said yesterday.

Virtually every Black African country, along with Arab and Communist nations, has commercial relations with South Africa, a B’nai B’rith report, released at the Council’s annual meeting here, disclosed.

The report, prepared by Dr. Harris Schoenberg, B’nai B’rith’s deputy director for United Nations Affairs, noted that South Africa’s largest trading partner, after Great Britain, is the African continent where some two dozen Black states trade with South Africa directly or disguise the relationship through intermediaries or purchasing agents.

Several Black states, after importing partly finished products from South Africa, finish, label and sell them in African markets without any South African identity, the report said.


It said the current Arab propaganda drive charging Israel with racism and citing South African Prime Minister John Vorster’s recent visit to that country as evidence of a "Tel Aviv-Pretoria axis," hypocritically ignores their own growing commerce with Africa, that of a generally pro-Arab France which has become South Africa’s principal arms supplier, or Vorster’s state visits to the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Liberia and Zambia.

Saudi Arabia, which had openly supplied South Africa with one-fourth of its imported oil before the 1973 embargo made South Africa’s energy sup plies a classified matter, the Persian Gulf sheikhdoms and Jordan are among prominent trading partners with South Africa, the report said. It pointed to large purchases of South African food, pre-fabricated materials and gold by Saudi Arabia.

The report said that Kuwait’s royal house, as owner of a London-based conglomerate with 59 subsidiaries in South Africa and Rhodesia, earned profits in Black Africa and used them to subsidize projects in the white-ruled southern states.


Mozambique, one of the most militant opponents of South Africa, aids the South African economy by sending some 100.000 miners to work in the state’s gold mines. In return, Mozambique receives an annual South African subsidy of some $120 million–more than the country receives from either the United Nations or the Soviet Union.

South African exports to other countries have been growing at an annual rate of almost 40 percent and many Black African states seek loans and credits from the Vorster government, the report said.

Schoenberg cited a 1975 UN economic report as "typical of the selective Third World and Communist concern over apartheid." The report charged the United States and other Western countries by trading with South Africa, of supporting the brutal and ruthless plunder, and exploitation of human and natural resources," but it failed to mention the Third World and Communist trade.

In an address to the Council this afternoon, Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Chaim Herzog, warned that Yugoslavia and Cuba are going to lead the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish offensive at the upcoming General Assembly. (See full story P. 3.)

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