SAZF Appalled by SA Government’s Stance and Calls on Miss SA to Participate in Miss Universe

The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) is appalled that the South African government is self-sabotaging our country’s hopes and chances of participating and shining in an international event just because it happens to take place in Israel. Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa may think that South Africa is making a grand moral statement because the ruling party has been misled by a perversion of facts about Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy, but in fact, our country is simply signalling its isolationism and irrelevance on the world stage. The government has been silent on actual and serious human rights abuses occurring in many other countries where we participate in sports and contests, but self-righteously reserves its opprobrium for the world’s only Jewish State.

While the rest of the world opens up, moves forward, and positively benefits from relations with Israel, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco and other Arab countries, South Africa is seemingly determined to spite itself and remain on the sidelines of progress. If our country were interested in bringing peace to the Middle East, or to carry any moral weight in playing a mediatory role between Israel and the Palestinians, we have now ensured that our one-sidedness and unilateralism will prevent us from doing so. We will miss out on the remarkable changes happening where countries are moving closer to Israel and harnessing the life-changing benefits of water, electricity and hope that this partnership brings people on the ground in Africa and the Middle East. So many nations are now building bridges with Israel alongside recognition of her inalienable right to exist and for the universal right of Jews to live as freely as any other nation or people in the Middle East. 

Peace can only be achieved where there is a partner for peace. Many nations in Africa and the Middle East are sending a message to the Palestinian leadership that they need to put down their hate, weapons and desire to destroy Israel, and rather focus on dreaming for a future where they live side-by-side with her. It is outrageous that the South African government fails to call on the Palestinian leadership to improve its human rights practices on the Palestinian people, encourage freedom of speech, religion and belief as well as the equal rights and treatment of women in the Palestinian territories. Instead, our government cowardly targets Israel, a liberal and democratic beacon by any international standard, where women and Arabs are freer than any other in the entire Middle East and participate in every level of society, alongside LGBT+ groupings and other minorities.  The South African government has said nothing about human rights abuses in countries like Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup, in which Bafana Bafana aims to participate, nor numerous other totalitarian states with whom our government has cosy relations. The government’s hypocrisy would be laughable if it were not so tragic to the millions of people in South Africa who hope for a future and a better and properly representative government to take us there. 

This is why it is imperative that Miss South Africa must be bigger than our government and its petty politics. We call on Miss South Africa to remain firm and steadfast, and bravely to represent South Africa on the world stage and show the world the best of what our country has to offer. Let Miss South Africa be a crowning example of someone who promotes peace, engagement and dialogue. Let her go to Israel, witness the beauty of Israel’s democracy, multiculturalism and co-existence between peoples, and bring that example back for our government and beloved country to follow. 

Rowan Polovin
National Chairman
South African Zionist Federation