South Africa ambassador rejects gift from Israel, condemns “replication of apartheid”

certificate_to_ismail_coovadia.jpg

JNF certificate presented to South African Ambassador Ismail Coovadia.

(BDS South Africa)

South Africa’s former ambassador in Tel Aviv has publicly rejected a gift from the Israeli government, of 18 trees planted in his name by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), on land violently expropriated from its Palestinian owners.

Ismail Coovadia, a former anti-apartheid activist, and a member of the ruling African National Congress, was presented with a JNF certificate, signed by Rafael Barak, director general of the Israeli foreign ministry, informing him that the trees had been planted in his “honor.”

Coovadia was appalled at the move and, in a letter posted by BDS South Africa, explained:

I have recently completed serving my term as the fifth Ambassador of democratic, non-racial South Africa to the State of Israel.

The racist actions of the Israeli parastatal, the Jewish National Fund, together with various other Israeli state institutions to forcibly remove the Palestinians and Bedouins from their legitimate homes is yet another repeat of the ongoing injustice meted out by the Israeli Defence Forces, etc …

I have had the opportunity to visit both, the “South Africa Forest” and the “Ambassador’s Forest” in Israel where trees are reportedly planted in the name of South Africa. In regard to the latter case, my queries, to the Israeli Foreign Ministry officials, have gone unanswered for over a year.

Regrettably, my permission was not sought to plant a tree/s in my or the name of a South African Ambassador on usurped land, the rightful land of the Palestinians and Bedouins. I reserve the right to the usage of my name with or without my permission.

“Replication of apartheid”

The JNF has planted the so-called “Ambassador’s Forest,” on land violently seized from the Bedouin village of al-Araqib.

This area in the southern Naqab region is at the heart of the Bedouin to struggle to stay on their land in the face of imminent plans for further mass expulsions by the Israeli government to make way for even more Jewish colonization.

Coovadia wrote that the Israeli acts he had seen while in his post amounted to a “replication of apartheid,” the system of violent racial segregation that was abolished in South Africa in 1994.

The JNF certificate “is nothing less than an offence to my dignity and integrity,” Coovadia wrote. “I was not a party to, and never will be, to the planting of ‘18 trees,’ in my ‘honor,’ on expropriated and stolen land.”

The ambassador added that he would be returning the certificate and requesting that the trees be removed.

Coovadia’s letter revealing the gift was addressed to Mark Kaplan and Heidi Grunebaum, makers of the recent documentary Village Under the Forest, which explores the role of the JNF in planting the so-called “South Africa Forest” over the Israeli-destroyed Palestinian village of Lubya.

The JNF, which has fundraising branches in many countries, has been the target of a growing campaign over its involvement in Israel’s land theft from Palestinians.

In response to a formal complaint from the advocacy group Stop the JNF, the UK’s Charity Commission recently began an inquiry into the JNF’s involvement in racist activities.

Comments

That is absolutely disgusting that they would try to use his name like that to justify their actions. Bravo to Coovadia.

South African Jews and politicians have a history of speaking out against the Zionist apartheid policies.

South African minister Ronnie Kasrils, in a comment on Israeli Apartheid said : “This is much worse than (South African) apartheid..Israeli measures, the brutality, make (our) apartheid look like a picnic. We never had Jets attacking our townships; we never had sieges that lasted months after months. We never had tanks destroying houses.”

Letter to SA Jewish Report (24-31 May) by StopTheJNF, Spokesperson; Allan Horwitz

“A Knesset committee has advanced a plan to resettle 30 000 Bedouin… The Association of Civil Rights in Israel said it would “cause the displacement and forced eviction of dozens of villages and tens of thousands of Bedouin residents, dispossessing them of their property and historical rights to their lands, destroying the social fabric of their communities and sealing the fate of thousands of families into poverty and unemployment......we support the demand that Israel cease its armed occupation and annexation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and its siege on Gaza, and cease its current denial of basic human rights to those under occupation."

http://stopthejnfsa.wordpress....

"The JNF, which has fundraising branches in many countries, has been the target of a growing campaign over its involvement in Israel’s land theft from Palestinians. In response to a formal complaint from the advocacy group Stop the JNF, the UK’s Charity Commission recently began an inquiry into the JNF’s involvement in racist activities."

Good luck. Independent Jewish Voices reports that Canada's Harper regime, said to be the most pro-Zionist in the world, is turning cartwheels to protect the JNF's illegitimate charitable status: http://rabble.ca/blogs/blogger...

A highly recommendable documentary by Al-Haq about the Canada Park and the destruction of Yalu, Beit Nuba and Imwas.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQFYq2...

A very moving documentary. Thanks for the link.

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