South African opposition leader blasted over Israel visit

South Africa’s ruling party accuses opposition party of being controlled by "Apartheid Israel" after its leader visits Israel.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

South African opposition leader Mmusi Maimane
South African opposition leader Mmusi Maimane

South Africa’s opposition leader visited Israel this week, raising the ire of the ruling the ruling African National Congress (ANC), whose leader Mmusi Maimane recently called on South Africans to refrain from visiting the Jewish state.

Maimane, who heads the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) visited Israel this week, where he met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog, according to South Africa’s News 24 website.

A spokesman for Maimane said he had also requested to meet with Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas. However, the meeting with Abbas was cancelled because of a "scheduling issue" and Maimane instead met with other PA officials, the spokesman told News 24.

News of Maimane’s visit angered the ANC, which accused DA of endorsing the Israeli government instead of condemning its alleged “violations of international law.”

"The allegations that the Democratic Alliance is funded and controlled by Apartheid Israel sympathizers seem to be true," the ANC said in a statement on Thursday, according to News 24.

It accused the opposition party of never standing in solidarity with the Palestinians, and failing to challenge the Israeli government on what it says are human rights violations.

The ruling party further labelled Maiman’s visit a "junket and propaganda trip".

"We, unlike the DA, call out Israel for its racism against African refugees, we condemn Israel's Apartheid policies and its violations of international law, including building of illegal settlements and the inhumane Gaza siege," the ANC said, according to News 24.

It said the DA had placed itself on the wrong side of history by choosing the side of the oppressors and not the oppressed, and by failing to condemn Israel's "apartheid policies" and violations of international law. This included the building of “illegal settlements” and the "inhumane Gaza siege", the ANC charged.

Just this past week, South African President and ANC leader Jacob Zuma urged South Africans not to visit Israel in order to show solidarity with “the people of Palestine”.

The government in South Africa has frequently accused Israel of applying a policy of “apartheid” towards Palestinian Arabs. One such example was when the ANC party proposed new rules regarding dual citizenship meant to stop South African citizens from joining the IDF.

In another example, the county’s Foreign Minister slammed Israel's plans to build new homes in Jerusalem, saying she was “losing sleep” over the size of “Palestine”.

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.)