Ambassador to South Africa Dov Segev-Steinberg will ask Pretoria for clarifications regarding what is viewed in Jerusalem as nothing less than a South African call for a boycott of Israel, diplomatic sources said on Monday.
The sources said a call by South Africa’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Ismael Ebrahim on Sunday to his countrymen to refrain from visiting Israel “let the cat out of the bag,” and demonstrated the hollowness of South African government protestations that it was against boycotts, and that the recent move to label items from the settlements was just trying to “promote transparency.”
“The truth is coming out,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Jonathan Rosenzweig said.
“This is a public call for a boycott.”
Ebrahim told the City Press newspaper he was “discouraging” South Africans from visiting Israel.
“Israel is an occupier country which is oppressing Palestine, so it is not proper for South Africans to associate with Israel,” he said. “We discourage people from going there except if it has to do with the peace process.”
The weekly paper said a planned trip to Israel by KwaZulu-Natal mayors and officials last week was called off because of pressure from the country’s pro-Palestine lobby.
Ebrahim’s comments came three months after South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry issued a memorandum stating that products from the settlements must not be labeled as Israeli products.
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