Several South African organizations that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement are calling on their government to expel the Israeli ambassador to South Africa and plan to march on the country’s Israeli embassy if the government fails to heed their call.
In a joint statement, several representatives of pro-BDS groups-including the South Africa Communist Party; Boycott, Divestment and Sanction South Africa; and trade union groups- slammed the Israeli government for denying an entry visa to South African Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande, who was scheduled to visit Birzeit University in the West Bank last week.
According to a senior official in Jerusalem, the minister’s visa was turned down because he planned to directly travel to the West Bank, rather than visiting Israel, and also due to his radically anti-Israel views.
“It is wrong for the Israeli government to try and suggest that Dr. Nzimande is acting on his personal whims when supporting the freedom of the Palestinian people,” the pro-BDS groups stated, South Africa’s Mail and Guardian newspaper reported.
The groups said that if the South African government does not expel Israeli envoy Arthur Lenk within 10 days, “our progressive organizations will take it upon ourselves to be at the Israeli Embassy on the 15th of May to expel the Israeli Ambassador.”
Additionally, the groups called for a plan of action including banning all government travel to Israel, ending automatic visas for Israelis, terminating Israeli agricultural interests in South Africa, and prosecuting South Africans who serve in the Israel Defense Forces.