Since the African National Congress (ANC) assumed power in South Africa in 1994, the country has been an outspoken critic of the Israeli government’s policies towards Palestine. The ANC-led South African government displays a hypocritical stance when it comes to addressing human rights abuses and oppression worldwide. This article explores the alleged double standards of the ANC government, analyzing its approach to Israel while seemingly neglecting to address real abuses occurring elsewhere.
The ANC’s criticism of Israel’s treatment towards Palestinians primarily revolves around issues of land rights, settlement expansion, and alleged human rights violations. The government, often following public opinion, has been vocal in its condemnation of Israel’s policies in the so called “occupied territories”. South Africa’s history of apartheid is commonly invoked to draw parallels between the two situations and support the ANC’s stance. Drawing parallels between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and apartheid undermines the historic struggles faced by South Africans in their fight against institutionalized racism. This false equivalence diminishes the gravity of the apartheid regime and trivializes the ongoing efforts to address inequalities rooted in South Africa’s history.
However, the ANC-led South African government’s selective criticism is evident when it comes to addressing human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The oppressive regime led by President Robert Mugabe, which lasted for nearly four decades, faced little condemnation from the ANC government. Zimbabwe’s human rights record, characterized by political repression, violence, land seizures, and economic mismanagement, did not receive the same public scrutiny as Israel.
Aside from Zimbabwe, the ANC-led South African government has failed to address human rights abuses elsewhere in the world. While vocal against Israel, it has shown limited criticism towards countries like China, Russia, or Saudi Arabia, which have faced accusations of their own human rights violations.
The ANC government’s stance towards China, one of South Africa’s largest trading partners, exemplifies this inconsistency. Despite China’s widely documented human rights violations, particularly in Tibet and Xinjiang, the ANC government has largely remained quiet, focusing instead on economic and diplomatic relations. This attitude raises questions about the party’s prioritization of economic interests over human rights concerns.
Similarly, the ANC government’s relative silence over Russia’s alleged civil liberties violations and involvement in conflicts such as Ukraine and Syria indicates inconsistencies in defending human rights. South Africa’s relations with Russia, especially in defense cooperation and energy deals, have seemingly influenced its stance on these matters.
Moreover, the ANC government’s lack of substantial action and unequivocal condemnation of the repressive policies in countries like Saudi Arabia, where human rights activists are imprisoned, raises further concerns. This inconsistency undermines the government’s credibility and suggests that its condemnation of Israel may be driven by political motives rather than a genuine commitment to human rights.
The ANC-led South African government’s hypocrisy in when and where it chooses to condemn human rights abuses and oppression is evident. While vocally criticizing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, it has turned a blind eye to real severe abuses in Zimbabwe and elsewhere. By selecting its targets, the government diminishes its moral authority and questions its credibility as a defender of human rights. Consistency and a genuine commitment to human rights should guide a nation’s actions, rather than political interests and a selectively vocal approach.