The African National Congress’ proposal to end dual citizenship has been condemned by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the South African Zionist Federation, saying the proposal was meant to prevent the Jewish population from identifying with Israel.
Charisse Zeifert, the spokeswoman of the SAJBD, said the head of African National Congress’ national executive committee on international relations, Obed Bapela, has undermined the very core of South Africa’s democracy by proposing an end to dual citizenship, which is a law, in order to prevent South African Jews from having a relationship with Israel. She went on to say, “This unfortunate political grandstanding by Bapela is motivated by his own narrow understanding of the Middle East conflict, which is based on religious fundamentalism and the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) lobby within the ANC.” Zeifert added that Bapela was further intensifying divisions within the society, in a nation which fights against xenophobia and racism on daily basis.
The SAJBD’s spokeswoman continued to say, “While mentioning Jews today, it will be other minorities tomorrow. The implications of this change will affect every sector of society. However, the law is to be enacted simply to target one minority group, and this is unjust,”
Furthermore, she pointed out that the Jewish business will be negatively affected by Bapela’s ideas, which are akin to anti-Semitism and said that Bapela’s attempts to isolate those who disagree with his views are inappropriate. Zeifert strongly said that the South African Jewish community will not be intimidated by Bapela’s threats and have sought a meeting with President Jacob Zuma and will request further meetings to clarify Bapela’s statement.
Recently, Bapela said that the African National Congress was reviewing South Africa’s dual-citizenship policy in a bid to stop South African citizens from taking up arms for the Jewish state. He went on to say that the issue, which had already been discussed at the ANC’s July lekgotla, which was held at the St. Georges Hotel in Pretoria, would come up again at its general council next month.