There was alarm among South African Jews last week after the country’s International Relations Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, told reporters of a government policy not to engage with Israel at ministerial level until progress had been made in the peace process and in addressing Palestinians’ grievances.
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies said in a statement that Ms Nkoana-Mashabane’s “misguided” remarks contradicted assurances given to the Jewish leadership that the government would engage with both sides of the conflict.
“They are inconsistent with South African foreign policy in general, which is not to boycott other governments but rather to continually engage with them.”
South Africa would “contribute nothing to the process by applying discriminatory punitive measures against Israel alone.”
The Board slammed as “alarmist and inflammatory” MK Avigdor Lieberman’s suggestion that the comments might lead to pogroms in South Africa.