Culture

Hands off Chikane, Hands off South Africa – a warning to the Israeli lobby

hands-off-chikane,-hands-off-south-africa-–-a-warning-to-the-israeli-lobby

The human rights and Palestine solidarity organisation #Africa4Palestine (formerly BDS SA) is warning the Israeli lobby in South Africa to lay off the anti-apartheid icon, Reverend Frank Chikane, and to stop interfering with our support for the Palestinian people.

This past week Reverend Chikane, for his support of Palestine, has been condemned in the pro-Israeli online news website “The Algemeiner” and the “SA Jewish Report” by, among others, the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, the South African Zionist Federation, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and CAMERA.

The Israeli lobby supports young white Jewish South Africans in travelling to Israel to join the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) who oppress the Palestinians masses. We are fed-up with the hypocrisy of the Israeli lobby who, on the one hand, support an army accused of war crimes and then, on the other hand, condemn our anti-apartheid icons who support the Palestinian people.

Many of us have long held the view that the BDS boycott of Israel tactic is actually a soft and very peaceful part of the Palestinian resistance and, in fact, we as South Africans and Africans who support Palestine, should actually be considering how to support the militant resistance on the ground. In the struggle for freedom in South Africa, our hero Oliver Tambo travelled around the world advocating for the isolation of Apartheid South Africa, while, at the same time, he equally advocated for support and openly defended and embraced the armed struggle.

As South Africans and Africans who are supportive of the Palestinians and their right to resist we think it is unjust that there are South Africans going to fight with the IDF who kill Palestinians while mere mention of sanctions against Israel’s Apartheid regime is met with such hatred by the Israeli lobby. We are tired of this anomaly and many of us are increasingly thinking that South Africans and Africans should openly be supporting the armed self defence resistance waged by the Palestinians against Israeli aggression.

The Algemeiner has accused Chikane of decrying a war “on Israel and its supporters” and for “levelling a hostile and incendiary assault on the legitimacy of the Jewish state…”. While the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Warren Goldstein, has twisted Reverend Chikane’s words and has called Chikane “unhinged”.

We as #Africa4Palestine unequivocally support Reverend Chikane who has responded to the malicious attacks against him and has made clear that: “People can disagree with me, but they don’t have a right to distort what I said…What’s troubling for me is that within Israel and in the illegal settlements in the occupied areas, there are discriminatory laws against Arab Israelis and Palestinians which are similar to what we experienced in South Africa. For me it’s apartheid in another name.”

Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein and the Israeli lobby are warned to stop with their attacks on our anti-apartheid icons, our faith leaders, our churches and on our support for Palestine. In the past five years the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa, the Anglican Church, the Methodist Church, the SA Council of Churches and the Council of African Independent Churches with millions of members have all come out clearly in South Africa in support of the Palestinian cause.

Reverend Frank Chikane is the moderator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA), the vice-president of the South African Council of Churches (SACC), the former Director General in the South African Presidency, a former ANC NEC Member, and a close friend of the Palestinian people as well as of #Africa4Palestine – he recently participated in a co-hosted event in Pretoria with speakers from the the UN, SA Department of International Relations and the Embassy Palestine.

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