The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) vehemently opposes the Presidency’s statements about Israel. The use of the term ‘genocide’ in reference to Israel’s actions is blatantly false and wilfully misleading. Genocide is the deliberate and systematic targeting and destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group. There is only one party in this conflict, namely Hamas, which openly states its willingness to commit, and attempts to carry out, acts of genocide, and has reaffirmed its intention to repeat its 7 October atrocities again and again.

Israel’s military actions, operating under international law, are aimed at preventing Hamas from carrying out these genocidal intentions, whilst doing everything it can to minimise the loss of innocent Palestinian civilians that Hamas shamefully uses as human shields. Hamas is a proscribed terrorist organisation which has shown a wilful intent to murder innocent civilians, a fact evident in their repeated attacks on Israeli population centres and ongoing rocket assaults.

The SAZF refutes the term ‘apartheid’, which dilutes the meaning of apartheid that black South Africans suffered under. Israel is a multicultural democracy, the only one in the Middle East, and it extends full rights to all its citizens, regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity.

We look forward to seeing the Israeli Ambassador return to South Africa, and urge the South African government to commit to a constructive role in resolving the current crisis. South Africa’s actions and rhetoric threaten our country’s economic and political interests, including economic assistance under the United States’ African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).