The government of South Africa is taking a path that will end in violence against Jews, MK Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beyteinu) warned Sunday.
Lieberman, who heads the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, responded on Facebook to recent statements from South Africa’s Foreign Minister, Maite Nkaona-Mashabane.
“The things that South Africa’s Foreign Minister said over the weekend about how ministers in the South African government won’t visit Israel anymore out of solidarity with the Palestinians are a mix of hypocrisy and classic anti-Semitism,” Lieberman accused.
Nkaona-Mashabane termed Palestinian Authority terrorists in Israeli jails “political prisoners” and said South Africa’s ministers are “losing sleep” over plans to build new homes for Jews in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. She further announced that, despite the two countries having diplomatic ties, South Africa’s ministers do not visit Israel.
At the same time, Nkaona-Mashabane praised Iran for its “respect for human rights.”
Lieberman accused her of hypocrisy. “The same government that just one year ago, its police indiscriminately shot and killed 34 miners because they ‘dared’ to strike, and afterward the government even wanted to bring the miners who survived to trial using a law from the days of Apartheid, the same government that does not get involved, and is not concerned by, what happens with its neighbors – not the murder of journalists in Mali, or the terrorist attacks in Kenya – is concerned by what is happening to the Palestinians thousands of kilometers away,” he wrote.
“The government of South Africa is creating an atmosphere of anti-Israeli sentiment and anti-Semitism that will make a pogrom against Jews in the country just a matter of time,” he accused.
Lieberman called on all Jews in South Africa “to make aliyah [immigrate] to Israel immediately, without delay, before it is too late.”
South Africa has historically taken the position of declaring all land east of the 1949 armistice line - which it terms the "1948 borders" - to be part of "Palestine" and not Israel. This includes historically Jewish communities, eastern Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
In September, a protest in South Africa against an Israeli musician turned anti-Semitism as protesters began to chant "kill the Jews."
Protest organizers later defended the chant, saying it was not meant literally and that "the whole idea of anti-Semitism is blown out of proportion."