Senior members of South Africa’s ruling party have endorsed a boycott campaign against Israel, with former South African deputy president Baleka Mbete calling Tel Aviv ‘far worse than apartheid South Africa’.
During an international conference hosted on Sunday by the African National Congress (ANC), which controls two thirds of the National Assembly, delegates endorsed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
“On the occasion of the third ANC International Solidarity Conference, we call on the ANC to support the Palestinian people in their fight for freedom, justice and equality…,” BDS said in its statement.
Responding to an objection from a German delegate, who said Tel Aviv cannot be compared to South Africa during the apartheid era, Mbete, who is also ANC chairperson, said Israel was actually “far worse than Apartheid South Africa,” according to a press release published by the BDS.
“Ms Mbete received a resounding round of applause from delegates for articulating this position,” the release added.
The conference also included in its declaration a demand for the release of all Palestinian political prisoners.
About 1,000 delegates from South Africa and across the globe, mostly former anti-apartheid activists, trade union representatives, religious leaders and various other progressive and left-wing groups attended the ANC’s third International Solidarity Conference.