We are shocked by DA's dishonesty – BDS SA

Organisation says claims that Maimane met with PA official is untrue and an attempt to mislead people

BDS South Africa welcomes statement by Embassy of Palestine

16 January 2017

The human rights and Palestine solidarity organization BDS South Africa welcomes the clarification by the Embassy of the State of Palestine that DA leader Mmusi Maimane's claim of officials meetings with authorized PA representatives is inaccurate (click here for Statement by the Embassy of the State of Palestine to South Africa, or find attached).

We are shocked at the dishonesty and attempt to mislead our people with the claim to have officially met senior PA officials and to have planned this "all along”. In reality it would seem that the Palestinians were an after thought and a desperate attempt to cover-up a pro-Israeli propaganda junket trip.

South Africans hold a strong view of human rights and the majority are fully aware that Palestinains are suffering under occupation, apartheid, land grabs and ongoing oppression by the the Israeli regime including its illegal settlement construction. The decision to go on a propaganda trip to Israel and shake the hands of a right-wing war criminal like Netanyahu is being interpreted as an irreversible confession of being beholden to the Israeli lobby. 

The DA must admit where it stands, instead of pretending to be neutral while holding the hands of the oppressor - quite literally. The DA is spinning claims here in South Africa while telling another story to Israeli media. The Jerusalem Post has reported that: “the visit is part of efforts by both Israel and pro-Israel supporters in South Africa to develop positive relations with key figures in the country, whose current leader, Jacob Zuma, 'has taken stridently anti-Israel positions.’"

After a day of meeting with Israeli politicians, the DA Deputy Shadow Minister for Labour, Michael Bagraim, who was also part of the DA delegation reported that: “Today was superb…[we] met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and had a great discussion…all round extremely functional..our delegation is completely overwhelmed.”

In addition to Mmusi Maimane and Michael Bagraim the DA delegation to Israel also consisted of Chief Whip John Steenhuisen as well as the DA spokesperson on trade and industry, Geordin Hill-Lewis. This was no personal visit but an official DA propaganda trip to Israel, with meetings facilitated by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 The Embassy of the State of Palestine is quite correct in saying that: "In fact, it is offensive that one would travel to the occupied Palestinian territories as a guest of the occupier and on a trip facilitated by the occupier."

 Finally, BDS South Africa calls on our Government to take strong action against the Israeli Embassy and Government that issued a public statement attacking and insulting our people. The interfering and meddling with local politics by a foreign representative, the Israeli ambassador and embassy, is an unheard of provocation.

Issued by Kwara Kekana on behalf of BDS South Africa, 16 January 2017