The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim.

Johannesburg - The Young Communist League (YCL) condemned the SA Zionist Federation (SAZF) on Wednesday for saying deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim had embarrassed the ANC.

“We condemn the attempts... to isolate the deputy minister from the organisation he represents,” YCL spokesman Khaya Xaba said in a statement.

“The repeated personal attacks on the deputy minister cause us to wonder why he is singled out for unwarranted criticism.”

The SAZF criticised Ebrahim on Monday for a previous African National Congress statement he released, criticising Israel's role in the recent Gaza conflict.

Xaba said the views of Ebrahim, who issued the statement in his role as ANC international relations head, could not be separated from the party's view on the Gaza conflict.

He said the SAZF did not condemn the recent construction of Israeli settlements, or the country's alleged “racist utterances and policies” towards African refugees.

“It is the SAZF and not the ANC who should be embarrassed by their silence on racism and prejudice,” he said.

“We will continue to call for the immediate temporary suspension of diplomatic relations between South Africa and Israel until Israel halts all expansions into the West Bank.”

The SAZF said on Monday Ebrahim's statement “adopted an incendiary language typical of activist organisations or fringe radical groups”.

“That a senior official of the South African government would express himself in such blatantly insulting, unfair and unconstructive manner is an embarrassment to the ANC, the rest of the government and the South African people,” it said in a statement.

ANC international relations manager Ribbon Mosholi said on Monday that Ebrahim had not insulted anyone in the statement. He merely “stated the facts”.

“The statement is self-explanatory and is not an embarrassment to the ANC,” she said.

“Palestine is an occupied country, and we support both sides with secure borders. If Israel changes the borders every five minutes, while encroaching on Palestinian land, this is against all international laws.”

Ebrahim said in the statement on November 21 the Israeli Defence Force’s bombardment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip was “barbaric”.

“The collective punishment of the citizens of Gaza is an outrage bordering on fascist aggression. Women and men of all ages and children are being mercilessly murdered in this war of attrition,” he said.

“We call on both sides to exercise restraint, as we all know that violence begets violence... The ANC remains convinced that a lasting solution can only be arrived at through peaceful negotiations.”