Sectors of the Jewish community have criticised International Relations Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim for reportedly discouraging South Africans from visiting Israel.
“Such a stance is grossly discriminatory, counter-productive, and wholly inconsistent with how South Africa normally conducts its international relations, and contradicts its official policy of having full diplomatic ties with Israel,” the SA Zionist Federation, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, and the Office of the Chief Rabbi said in a joint statement on Tuesday.
“The result of such a policy is that South Africa... will be seen to be supporting those who wish to promote a complete boycott of Israel and to that end, seek to shut down any initiatives aimed at meaningful dialogue.”
Ebrahim told SABC radio that he was not barring individuals from travelling to Israel, but merely “discouraging” them.
He said it was up to each individual or organisation to decide whether to go there or not.
His comment was made at a news briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday morning.
“Mr Ebrahim's statements are indicative of a highly discriminatory and disproportionate obsession with the Jewish state,” the joint statement said.
Spokesman for the international relations department Clayson Monyela declined to comment on the matter. - Sapa