The African National Congress (ANC) has clarified that it did not apologize to the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) during its recent meeting on the current devastating developments in Gaza.
Reacting to a statement issued by the SAJBD following the meeting, ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri said the party had met with the Board to engage in a “robust and frank dialogue”.
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In its statement, the SAJBD said that during the meeting, the ANC “acknowledged the hurt its stance had caused the Jewish community”. The SAJBD, together with the SA Zionist Federation, met with the ANC recently. It said they agreed to the meeting in the spirit of good faith and its willingness to always engage.
The purpose, it said, was to ask the ANC to reflect on the “hurtful” statements it made on the massacre of Israeli civilians carried out by Hamas on October 7. “The SAJBD explained how let down our community had felt by their lack of any form of sympathy for the Israeli terror victims, mostly civilians, murdered by Hamas in the week following the massacre.
The ANC’s stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a matter of controversy and debate. While the party has consistently supported the Palestinian cause, it has faced criticism from various quarters for what some perceive as a lack of balance in its approach.
During the meeting with the SAJBD, the ANC reiterated its support for the Palestinian people and their struggle for self-determination. The party emphasized the need for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, based on international law and United Nations resolutions.
However, the ANC clarified that it did not apologize for its stance or for the statements it had made. The party made it clear that it stands by its position and believes in the importance of speaking out against injustice and human rights violations, regardless of the political sensitivities involved.
The ANC’s engagement with the SAJBD was seen as an opportunity for dialogue and understanding. Both parties expressed their commitment to open and honest discussions, recognizing the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the need for a nuanced approach.
While the SAJBD felt that the ANC’s statements had caused hurt within the Jewish community, the ANC maintained that its position was motivated by a desire to support the oppressed and marginalized.
The party highlighted the suffering and displacement experienced by the Palestinian people and the need for a just and lasting solution that respects their rights and dignity.
It is important to note that the ANC’s stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not unique. Many countries and organizations around the world have taken positions in support of the Palestinian cause, advocating for a fair and equitable resolution to the conflict.
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The ANC’s engagement with the SAJBD demonstrates its commitment to dialogue and engagement, even in the face of differing perspectives. It is through such conversations that understanding and empathy can be fostered, leading to a more inclusive and peaceful society.
While the ANC’s stance may continue to be controversial, it is important to recognize the party’s right to express its views and advocate for what it believes to be just. As South Africa’s ruling party, the ANC plays a significant role in shaping the country’s foreign policy and contributing to global discussions on important issues.
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