Liberman Blasts S. Africa After Israel Denies Visa

South African Communist Party describes Israel as "apartheid regime", evoking harsh response from FM Liberman.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman
Ben Kelmer/Flash 90

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman slammed South Africa on Friday, after the country’s communist party labeled Israel an “apartheid state”.

The South African Communist Party’s (SACP) statement came after Israel refused to grant an entry visa to the party’s Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzmande, to visit Palestinian Authority-controlled territories.

In response, the SACP issued a strong statement condemning “the apartheid Israeli regime’s” decision not to grant the visa.

“The reason given for refusal to grant Nzimande the visa is that he ‘had criticized the Israeli government’. As the SACP we will not allow any foreign government to decide for us what to think, say and do. All South Africans should take their cue and defend our inalienable right to freedom of speech and international solidarity with the oppressed people in any part of the world,” the party said.

“The SACP will further intensify its campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it has vacated Occupied Palestinian Territories and the people of Palestine have their own state based on June 1967 borders in terms of international law, with East Jerusalem as the capital,” said the party’s statement.

Liberman later responded to the SACP’s statement and said that the party’s “blatant attack” on Israel was hypocritical.

“Only a few days ago there was a violent racist attack in Johannesburg against foreign immigrants which, in addition to the destruction of property, also included deaths and numerous injuries. As part of those riots, South African police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at immigrants from neighboring African countries. Everyone still remembers the mass killings carried out by the South African police at the Platinum Mine three years ago,” said Liberman.

“These and other incidents prove time and time again that South Africa remains a country where there are serious problems of racism and violence. Therefore, it is better for the government of South Africa and the Communist Party to stop preaching and attacking Israel, which is a glorious democracy which deals exceptionally, while maintaining human rights and international codes of conduct, with threats and terrorist groups,” he continued.

“In this sense, it is no wonder that the members of Communist Party of South Africa prefer the Palestinians over Israel, a kind of like attracts like,” concluded Liberman.

Anti-Israel sentiments have been prevalent for years in South Africa, which has frequently been critical of Israel and has claimed that it is applying a policy of “apartheid” towards Palestinian Arabs. In one incident, the former South African ambassador to Israel rejected a symbolic gift from the Israeli government, planting trees in his honor in a national park named after South Africa.

He explained that Israeli policies which, he claims, discriminate against Arabs appeared to be reminiscent of his experiences under South Africa's apartheid system.

South Africa's Foreign Minister has in the past slammed Israel's plans to build new homes in Jerusalem, saying she was “losing sleep” over the size of “Palestine”.

South Africa has also imposed rules requiring that goods imported from Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem display special labels.

President Jacob Zuma’s party has in the past compared Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza to the actions of the Nazis during World War II, evoking outrage from Jewish groups in the country.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)