Naledi Pandor’s remarks draw a sharp rebuke from South Africa’s Chief Rabbi.
By David Hellerman, World Israel News
South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor called for the United Nations to label Israel an “apartheid state” on Tuesday, drawing a sharp rebuke from Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein.
“The Palestinian narrative evokes experiences of South Africa’s own history of racial segregation and oppression,” she said in Pretoria where she was meeting with Palestinian diplomats, Al Jazeera reported.
“As oppressed South Africans, we experienced firsthand the effects of racial inequality, discrimination and denial and we cannot stand by while another generation of Palestinians are left behind,” she said.
Pandor called on the UN General Assembly to form a committee to verify whether Israeli policies amount to apartheid.
South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein denounced Pandor’s apartheid accusation on Wednesday.
“It’s based on a completely false understanding of reality,” Goldstein said in comments cited by the Jerusalem Post. “Intellectually, legally and morally, the allegation is a disgrace; it is a complete distortion of the facts.”
He added that Pandor’s comments put the ruling African National Congress party “out of step” with the rest of Africa, noting that “the African Union has recently given Israel observer status in the AU institution, even though the South African government did everything in their power to persuade them not to do that.”
“The views of the ANC government are well known,” said the Chief Rabbi. “I think that firstly, the accusation is offensive to the victims of the real apartheid, because if everything is apartheid, nothing is apartheid.”