In a twisted bid to prevent its Jewish citizens from joining the Israel Defense Forces, South Africa’s ruling ANC party is considering banning dual citizenship, even though this would also hurt millions of immigrants from Africa and Asia.
South Africa’s anti-Israel government is considering banning dual citizenship in order to prevent its Jewish citizens from serving in the IDF. The general council of the African National Congress (ANC), the ruling party in South Africa, will meet next month to discuss the issue. A ban would affect not just Jewish South Africans, but millions of other citizens as well, primarily of African or Asian origin.
Obed Bapela, head of ANC’s National Executive Committee on International Relations, was quoted in the Sunday Times as saying that the initiative was aimed at preventing South African Jews from serving in the IDF. The ANC is also interested in disrupting private sector ties to Israel. More generally, Bapela questioned whether there is “a place in the world” for the model of dual citizenship.
The ANC is notable for its extreme anti-Israel sentiments. Bapela called for an investigation of students who visited Israel with the South Africa Israel Forum, accusing Israel of “offering free trips and holidays to embarrass the ANC.” He added, “We have a clear position that supports Palestinian freedom. No leader of the ANC in a private capacity or for the party will visit Israel. It will be putting the ANC in disrepute.”
During Operation Protective Edge in 2014, the ANC’s social media manager posted an image of Adolf Hitler with the embedded text, “I could have killed all the Jews, but I left some of them to let you know why I was killing them,” adding below, “Yes man, you were right.”
There are approximately 70,000 Jews living in South Africa, making it the largest Jewish community on the African continent. As in many other countries, anti-Israel activism in South Africa is often used as a cover for anti-Semitism. At an anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) demonstration in March, protesters were filmed calling to kill the Jews. In February, the student government at Durban University of Technology called for the expulsion of all Jewish students, especially those who support Israel. Last October, the chair of the Congress of South African Students deposited a pig’s head in what he believed was the kosher meat section at a Woolworths branch in Cape Town, for which he received the accolades of BDS South Africa.