Qaanitah Hunter- Cii News (June 20, 2012)
“Africans Marching for Israel”, a large group of Christian Zionist
organisations and political parties, are challenging Trade and Industry
Minister, Rob Davies, decision to re-label goods as “Made in Occupied
Palestine” in place of the current “Made in Israel”.
The protest march will be from the Union Buildings to the offices of the
Department of Trade and Industry in Pretoria on Thursday, June 28.
Participating will be a large contingent of ACDP supporters, IFP President
Mangosuthu Buthelezi and many of his followers, bishops and clerics of the
Shembe Church and members of other African communities.
The decision by Davies came after NGO, Open Shuhada, under the leadership of
Zackie Achmat pleaded to the minister to make this call. The talks led
Davies to agree in principle that goods manufactured in occupied territories
should be labelled as such because labelling them as a product of Israel is
The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) under its leader Reverend
Kenneth Meshoe has come out strongly against the government’s planned
relabeling law. The ACDP has criticised Trade and Industry Minister Rob
Davies for singling out Israel for ‘censure’. Meanwhile the South African
Zionist Federation has dubbed it an ‘ill-considered and divisive move’.
“The decision by Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies to have goods
coming from the West Bank relabelled as ‘Produced in the Occupied
Palestinian Territories’ will have far-reaching and very negative
implications for trade relations between South Africa and Israel,” the
The Open Shuhada movement has called the decision to march ‘absolutely
ridiculous’. The movement’s Bruce Baigrie said they are basically
delegitimizing the two state solutions. “All Minister Davies is doing is
following the law, he protecting consumers under the consumer protection
act.” According to the act all consumers have a right to know where their
goods originate from.
“We can not say these products are made in Israel when they are stolen from
Occupied West Bank,” Baigrie said. He further stated that the IFP clearly
has interests with the Zionist federation and “their legacy during apartheid
speaks for itself”. He said the IFP and the ACDP were apartheid
collaborators hence it is unsurprising but disappointing that they have
taken this stance. “It is a slap in the face,” he said.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has reiterated that it
fully supports the call made by Minister Davies. “We feel they (Israelis)
have no right to those territories and therefore no right to claim the
credit to produce the goods,” national spokesperson, Patrick Craven said.
He said COSATU is opposed to the march and will not advocate participation
in the march. “We hope the minster will stand firm on his decision and will
not accept their counter arguments,” Craven said. He noted that the
participating parties in the march are very sympathetic with the Israeli
regime and supportive of the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.
Head of Media Review Network, Iqbal Jassat said that this latest move was
one of desperation. “What I find interesting is that all these so called
Christians Zionists has thus far remained silent about the racism against
African migrants in Israel,” Jassat said. Israel has been widely criticized
in international media lately on their handling of African Migrants.
“I wonder if their decisions are dictated by the power of the Zionists lobby
rather than their commitment to fair play and human rights.”