For the Sake of Zion, We Will Not Be Silent (Isaiah 62:1)
We, the undersigned individuals and members of South African civil society, churches and business organisations, call on the South African government to take steps to re-establish friendly relations and mutually beneficial partnerships with the State of Israel.
We, adherents of the South African Constitution, demand that our constitutional rights to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion be protected. We reject our government’s encroachment on our religious beliefs, expression and values through its partisan position on the Holy Land of Israel.
We, proud South Africans, call on our government to cease its prejudiced stance against Israel, and demand that it affirms Israel’s inalienable right to exist in peace as the world’s only Jewish State.
We urge our government to avoid hostile and counter-productive actions that include the removal of the South African ambassador in Israel, and to desist from futile attempts to strip Israel of its accreditation to the African Union.
Israel has consistently shown itself to be a valuable partner for sustainable development in its relations with other nations. As South Africans, we have the right to access and benefit from what this relationship can offer to our country and people. We will not stand by as our government denies us, and our fellow African people, the ability to do so.
Eretz Yisrael – the Land of Israel – is the ancestral and indigenous homeland of the Jewish people. The return en masse of Jewry throughout the world to re-establish their state there after centuries of exile and statelessness, is the legitimate and legal expression of the Jewish people’s struggle for national self-determination.
This struggle for national self-determination includes Israel’s right to live in freedom and security, and includes her right to defend herself and all her people from all forms of aggression.
As South Africans, we categorically reject the appropriation of the suffering of black people under colonisation and apartheid by the enemies of Israel as a tool to delegitimise the Jewish state.
We further call on our government to desist from dishonouring the legacy of our people’s noble struggle against apartheid by equating it to the extremism of such Jew-hating organisations, such as the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and all entities that call for the eradication of the State of Israel and its Jewish population. Rather, the South African government must unequivocally distance itself from those who deny the right of the people of Israel to independent existence in their own country, and who seek to delegitimise and isolate the State of Israel at every opportunity, with a view of bringing about its eventual destruction.
The majority of South Africans support the right to self-determination of both the Israeli and the Palestinian people, and are opposed to extremists who seek to deny either people that right.
Nelson Mandela, our first democratically elected president, encapsulated this support when he said, “We recognise the legitimacy of Palestinian nationalism just as we recognise the legitimacy of Zionism as a Jewish nationalism. We insist on the right of the state of Israel to exist within secure borders but with equal vigour support the Palestinian right to national self-determination”.
Israel’s enemies contradict the stated policy of our government, which is to support a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead, we call on the government to explicitly stand on the side of those who seek normalisation between the Palestinians and Israelis.
We believe that South Africa has a moral obligation to support a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to distance itself from those who seek to undermine this process.
We, the undersigned, therefore call on the South African government:
- To recognise the will of the majority of South Africans who support the right of Israel to exist within safe and secure borders, and be free of the dangers and threats of those that seek to destroy her.
- To protect our constitutional rights to freedom of religion, belief and opinion, which are deeply rooted in the Holy Land of Israel.
- To affirm the right of the people of Israel to live in peace in their Biblical and historical homeland, as recognised by international law.
- To base its foreign policy toward Israel on the just aspirations of the South African people for sustainable development. We believe that this will provide solutions to many of South Africans problems, including our water and electricity challenges, through mutually beneficial partnerships with Israeli and Jewish organisations.
- To uphold the right of the State of Israel to exist within secure borders with the same vigour that they support the Palestinian right to national self-determination.
- To return the South African Ambassador to Israel and encourage engagement between our two countries and people.
- To desist from efforts aimed at removing Israel from the African Union.
- To end support for those engaged in anti-normalisation measures and instead make use of our unique South African history of negotiations and grassroots engagement to inspire the breaking down of barriers between the region’s peoples.
Add your name to the Declaration:
South African Friends of Israel
The Tshwane-Jerusalem Declaration is a proud initiative of South African Friends of Israel.