Last week, South Africa joined the growing list of world nations in boycotting Israeli goods produced inside illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The West Bank along with Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem was occupied by Jewish army in 1967 with the help of military aid provided by the United States.
South Africa’s decision, which hawkish Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman has labeled as ‘anti-Semitic and racist’ – was followed by Denmark government within days. Britain and Sweden has long banned import of goods marked as ‘Made in Israel’ but produced by Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Irish foreign minister Eamon Gilmore whose country will take over the rotating presidency of the European Union in January 2013 – has also announced to push for an EU wide boycott of products from Jewish settlements in the West Bank if Israel does not quickly change its settlements policy in Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.
South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister Dr. Rob Davies, a Jew himself, has rejected Lieberman’s claim of “racism”. He said that Pretoria government’s boycott decision is based on the fact that South African have the right to know that the Israeli goods they’re buying were not produced in Israel but Palestinian territories it occupied in 1967.
“I was asked by an Israeli television station yesterday whether I was an anti-Semite. I was accused of being a left-leaning Jew,” Davies said. “It has given rise to all sorts of labels, which I reject with utter contempt.”
Last month, Netanyahu fearing further international isolation – struck down a proposal by Knesset member, Miri Regev, to annex all Jewish settlements in the West Bank to resolve the boycott problem.
Former director general of Israel foreign ministry, Alon Liel believes that boycott of goods produced by West Bank’s Jewish settlers would not hurt much the Zionist entity economically as it represents a very small portion of Israeli exports. However, he believes South African boycott has a significant political clout – as it reminds the world of the Apartheid South Africa.
“Because of South Africa’s history of apartheid, it attracts attention regarding the legality of the settlements and fixes attention on the ‘A’ word. That is very meaningful because Israel has a soft belly here,” says Liel.
I bet South Africa’s Muslim ambassador in Tel Aviv, Ismail Coovadia, must be enjoying Israeli radical Jew FM calling his fellow Jewish South African minister “a racist”.
Since the Islamic Republic’s support for the African National Congress (ANC) during the apartheid era, Iran’s relations with South Africa have been strong. The bond is reinforced by South Africa’s dependence on Iranian crude oil, which makes up a quarter of its imports. Amid efforts by the United States to wean South Africa off Iranian oil, Tehran has moved decisively to shore up relations, announcing it will invest billions into South Africa’s beleaguered power-generation sector. South Africa, as a prominent member of NAM – supports Iran’s nuclear program.