Lawrence Nowosenetz

Questioning South Africa’s Israel foreign policy

The old saying about those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones seems to be lost on the current government of South Africa. It is rapidly establishing a reputation as a kleptocracy and state supporter of terrorism. This article explores its growing links with unsavoury international groups as well as undemocratic anti- Western states in a common endeavour to weaken and destroy the State of Israel .
Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress promised South Africans “A Better Life for All” when it swept to power in the country’s first democratic election in 1994, marking the end of white minority rule and apartheid. The truth is that after 30 years of ANC government rule, many South Africans are frustrated about persistent poverty and inequality, ongoing violent crime with 27,000 reported murders a year, widespread corruption and lawlessness. Indeed a failing state. For almost thirty years, the South African ANC political party elites have been indulged in an orgy of self interest and greed, a kleptocracy . The wolves in ANC sheep’s clothing must be exposed. They have slowly, but surely, steered the beautiful, once financially stable leader of Africa into a greylisted economy, declining infrastructure and failures of basic services.

Foreign Policy

The Mandela era of foreign policy was based on respect for human rights. The South African government has shifted its foreign policy to be firmly Islamist and authoritarian aligned. The foreign office DIRCO has seemingly had its navigational systems jammed and has wandered into a maze of no return. Support for Hamas has become a common theme in debates leading up to the 29 May general elections and expressions of solidarity with the killers from Gaza, portrayed as heroes, have featured during the ANC campaigns. The leaders have distracted voters from their own dismal failures.

South Africa openly supports and allows Hamas, Hezbollah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Mustafa Barghouti’s passive terror campaign (BDS) and indeed ISIS among others to function within South Africa without fear. The ANC government serves as a base assisting them and in attacking Israel in international conferences and forums.
Foreign policy has been led by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, famously known for making promises he never keeps, stashing cash US Dollars in his living room furniture; his Minister of International Relations, Naledi Pandor, an instigator, inciter and staunch anti-Israel advocate; Abetted by ANC party members such the Dangor brothers Mustapha and Zane, Deputy President Paul Mashatile, and several others .

South Africa’s overt support for anti-Israel initiatives, including its backing of Iran and the IRGC has more than strained relationships with long-standing Western democratic allies and raised extremely serious concerns about its stance on global counter-terrorism efforts.
In defining the future of South African foreign relations it is entirely conceivable that it is heading either towards a complete capitulation of its democratic human rights constitutional values or towards a geo-political head on collision between the East and West where South Africa will possibly be a “useful idiot” state, crushed somewhere in between.

South Africa and Iran

The FBI notes that the Iranian regime presents a threat from many angles: Cyber Foreign intelligence, Terrorism and has countered a diverse set of threats directed by the Iranian regime, including attempted terrorist attacks and kidnappings, espionage and foreign influence operations, cyber-attacks, sanctions evasion, illicit procurement of sensitive technology to support Iran’s military capability and nuclear program and supporting terror organization proxies such as Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and others. The Iranian regime has also embedded agents, front companies, surveillance technology in several countries who assist and support their terror actions and ambitions.

Pandor, denied the characterization of Iran as an authoritarian regime. She was evasively recorded as saying “I don’t know whether they [Iran] are an authoritarian regime.” Herself a Muslim and an outspoken critic of the State of Israel and Zionists, she has relentlessly pursued a deceptive and false genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The South African Iranian cooperative agenda to destroy the state of Israel is a mockery of international justice.

Pandor travelled to Iran to meet with the late President Raisi to discuss the Israel-Hamas war. Less than two months later in December 2023, South Africa had filed the complaint against Israel in the ICJ. In January, despite well-known crippling financial difficulties within the ANC, the party surprisingly announced that its finances had been stabilized. The US authorities have received a letter from Shurat Hadin an Israel based law office requesting an investigation of corruption. The lawyers wrote, “this change of economic fortune coincided with the South African government’s lodging a complaint in the ICJ. This sequence of events strongly suggests that the ANC party’s financial woes were resolved by Iran as a quid pro quo for South Africa’s anti-Israel complaint,” and that the ANC leadership has engaged, “in the corrupt practice of accepting a bribe from Iran in exchange for serving as a diplomatic proxy for Iran against Israel which constitutes a violation of the relevant articles in the Magnitsky Act”. This Act allows the US government to penalize corrupt individuals with visa bans and asset freezing.

Unholy Alliance

The ANC hosted Hamas delegations in 2015, 2018, and during the current war which Hamas launched against Israel in 2023. It gave Leila Khaled a heroes welcome a few years ago. There was even an attempt to name a street in her honour.

South African ANC politicians, specifically those who are either Muslim or support the destruction of the State of Israel, continuously use the term “Zionists” when they mean Jews, a disingenuous euphemism. Pandor, Mandla Mandela and many others blatantly condemn Zionism and define Zionism as “racist” which is a gross denial of the incontrovertible connection of the Jewish people to Israel and a denial of the right of the Jewish people to have its own homeland and state. A right recognised by a 2/3 vote of the UN General Assembly in 1947.

It is worth mentioning that Nkosi Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela, is now married into an Islamic family and he himself has converted to Islam. Mandla Mandela has made it public that he will not run for the ANC in the upcoming parliament in South Africa’s 29 May election. He has instead chosen to support terrorism by accepting a role on the Executive Committee of the League of Parliamentarians for Al Quds and Palestine, an extremist organization led by the Yemen Member of Parliament and President Hamid bin Abdullah Al-Ahmer. He is also a representative of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mandla Mandela has not only betrayed his grandfather, his legacy and all that he stood for, but South Africa and South Africans. Where Nelson Mandela “was a decent man who strove to be scrupulously fair to both sides, even though his inclination was very much towards the Palestinian side,” said David Saks, the associate director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies. “He was deeply supportive of the Palestinian struggle for independence, but never deviated from his view that this could only be attained through all parties recognizing Israel’s legitimate right to exist within secure borders.” The apple has fallen far from the tree. His unholy alliance with terror is one that will undoubtedly not only hurt him but will embarrass his grandfather’s good name and harm so many South Africans who would have chosen the peaceful route of Nelson Mandela- not the path of terror, rape, and murder that Mandla Mandela has chosen to support.

Naledi Pandor, Cyril Ramaphosa and several other ANC leaders of the South African government have influenced the thinking of the masses, not only in South Africa but globally, by endorsing the Hamas slogan; “From the river to the sea” This chant is a clear call for a single state on the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. Hamas claims for Islam all the land spanning Israel, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank, essentially destroying the Jewish state. This is solidified in the Hamas charter.

In February 2024, in front of television cameras and thousands of supporters at the Athlone Stadium in Cape Town, at the start of a friendly match between the Palestine national football team and a local invitational side, three South African government ministers and the President joined in the controversial antisemitic Palestinian rallying cry, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!”; and “Free Free Palestine!”- an inciting and obvious call for Israelis to be ejected from their homeland. In the week prior to the elections they have again in public meetings made similar calls. It remains to be seen whether the recent resolution of the US House of Representatives condemning the slogan as anti-Semitic will affect US relations with South Africa.

Pandor defended South Africa’s engagement with anti- West countries, emphasizing the importance of dialogue and diplomacy. She expressed concerns about women’s rights in Iran but asserted that cutting off communication with any nation would be counterproductive. “If we stopped talking to everybody because we define them in a particular way, I think the models we have adopted would not have any meaning,” she stated.

Pandor, often criticizes the United States openly, specifically for potentially undermining sovereign independence and honest policy as far as South Africa – US relations are concerned. She warned the US against politicizing diplomatic disputes and urged for resolution through governmental channels, yet she fails to address Israel in a constructive and diplomatic manner. South Africa has thrown Israel under the bus.

Yet Pandor and South Africa defends Iran, allows a wanted Sudanese convicted war criminal to enter South Africa and prevent his arrest, invites the sanctioned Russian President to South Africa, only later cancels the invitation and closes embassies and threatens to arrest Jews who are South African citizens who serve in the Israel Defence Force. There are many South Africans serving in the English army but they have not been threatened with prosecution. The law against service in a foreign army should be consistent.

Pandor avoids the concerning questions posed at her about the rapes, murders, and savagery that Hamas carried out on 7 October 2023, calling it resistance, and claiming that the Hamas are freedom fighters. Suicide bombings, kidnapping, beheadings, mutilations and murders by ramming innocent pedestrians with vehicles have never happened in South Africa. Yet Israel has had them aplenty. Security concerns have dictated Israel’s precautions and responses, certainly not an ideology of Apartheid racism or oppression of Palestinians.

On the day of Hamas’s killing spree, October 7, 2023, South Africa’s foreign ministry said, “The new conflagration has arisen from the continued illegal occupation of Palestine land, continued settlement expansion, desecration of the Al Aqsa Mosque and Christian holy sites, and ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people.” This message is well heeded and very clear. It is a declaration that the ANC led South African government is without any doubt a State that justifies the violation of every norm of international law of warfare and international humanitarian law by Hamas . The ANC never resorted to such acts of barbarism in its struggle against Apartheid but apparently condones such atrocities now.

One must ask if the constant Hamas presence in South Africa since 2015 and notably at the pro Palestinian anti-Apartheid conference in Sandton, Johannesburg in May 2024, is a ripe recruiting ground for the Hamas terror agenda . South African Intelligence agencies as far back as the mid 1980’s noted that Hamas had a presence in South Africa and that it was collecting money and recruits for the struggle against Israel. A can of worms yet to be exposed is the funding of terror and terror supporting organizations taking place in South Africa today.

About the Author
Born in Pretoria Lawrence Nowosenetz obtained his BA at University of the Witwatersrand and LLB at the University of South Africa. He has been admitted as an Attorney in South Africa and as an advocate in South Africa. He practiced at the Pretoria and Johannesburg Bar and worked as a human rights and labour lawyer at the Legal Resources Centre a public interest law firm. Lawrence was Awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and completed professional internship in the USA. He was a a labour arbitrator and mediator, part time Senior Commissioner at the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) as well as a panelist at Tokiso Dispute Settlement. He was a member of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and Pretoria Chairman. He has also served as an Acting Judge of the Hight Court, South Africa. He now lives in Tel Aviv.