13 June 2018

South Africa: SA Friends of Israel 'Devastated' By Suspension of Joburg Councillor

Photo: allafrica.com
Left: Flag of South Africa. Right: Flag of Israel.

The South African Friends of Israel say they are "appalled" and "devastated" after Health MMC Dr Mpho Phalatse was suspended for declaring that the City of Johannesburg was a friend of Israel.

Ben Swartz, co-chairperson of the organisation, said Phalatse had become a "target of hysterical condemnation" for expressing her support for Israel.

On Tuesday, Mayor Herman Mashaba announced Phalatse's suspension, stating that: "The MMC's remarks didn't adequately address the complexity and sensitivity of the issue. They caused confusion."

Swartz said it was a sad day when elected officials were not able to attend events of their choosing, after Phalatse said she had been at the event in her personal capacity.

"This is indicative of the environment in which Israel is being demonised, to a degree that bears no relationship to reality," Swartz said.

"Anti-Israel bigotry does not merely threaten the rights of the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of South Africans who are passionate supporters of Israel. It also poses a serious threat to democracy in our country.

"Dr Mpho Phalatse has become the latest target of this totalitarian strategy," he said.

Swartz said the South African Friends of Israel called on South Africans to condemn Mashaba's decision to suspend Phalatse, and for her to be reinstated immediately.

"She is not deserving of this treatment, as she is [a] huge asset to the governance of this city," he said.

Phalatse was suspended after other councillors, including some from the EFF, called for her to be fired.

Councillor Sipho Sithole described Phalatse's comments as disheartening and called for her to be "wiped out of council".

"Any African subscribed to Zionism must hang his head in shame," said Sithole.

On Tuesday, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) slammed Mashaba's decision. They called Phalatse's suspension a "totalitarian strategy" to silence those with dissenting views. This was despite her allegedly clarifying that she was "commenting in her personal capacity".

"These are just the most recent instances of attempts to silence South Africans who challenge the anti-Israel narrative. It is all part of an environment in which Israel is being demonised to a degree that bears no relationship to reality," spokesperson Charisse Zeifert said in a statement.

Source: News24

South Africa

Olympic Champion Caster Semenya to Challenge Gender Ruling

Lawyers for Caster Semenya have confirmed that the Olympic 800m champion will challenge a female classification rule… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 News24Wire. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.