By Hassan Isilow
PRETORIA, South Africa
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party urged the government on Thursday to cut all its ties with Israel.
The party made the call on the 100th year anniversary of the Balfour Declaration in which Britain signaled its support for “a homeland for the Jewish people” in Palestine.
“We are saying to South Africa, remove our embassy in Israel and then remove this one [Israeli Embassy] from South African soil,” EFF leader Julius Malema told hundreds of his supporters during a protest outside the Israeli Embassy.
Malema, leader of South Africa’s second-largest opposition party, also urged supporters to boycott Israeli goods.
“If we boycott everything Israel, then they will see the need to go in genuine negotiations with Palestinian authorities, so that they resolve to come with one-state solution,” he told supporters dressed in the party’s red t-shirts and berets.
He said he was aware there are international resolutions supporting the two-state solution, but insisted his party supports a one-state solution where Palestinians and the Jewish communities can live under one democratic nation.
Malema said the two opposing groups in the Middle East should borrow an example from South Africa where blacks and white Africans live peacefully despite decades of oppressive apartheid system.
“We are saying to the Palestinians and to the Israelis if South Africans can do it, you too can do it,” he said.
Some of the protesters waving Palestinian flags were heard chanting “Down with apartheid” and “Forward with the spirit of Yasser Arafat forward”.
Malema said his party is not an organization of only South Africans but a global movement which represents all oppressed masses of people across the world.
He reminded South Africans that the suffering and pain of Palestinians is the same as what they went through during apartheid.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white, as long as you’re fighting colonialism, imperialism and you know that U.S.A. is an enemy of the people, then you’re a friend of EFF,” he said, amidst cheers from the crowd.
He said the U.S. backs Israel which was why the Middle Eastern country refuses to genuinely negotiate peace with Palestine.
“We need to say to the Embassy of Israel, we are not friends with people who derive pleasure out of pain of other people,” he said.