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Friday, April 24, 2015

Israel denies visa to S. African communist seeking to visit 'Palestinian Authority'

Israel has denied a visa to South African Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, who wanted to visit the 'Palestinian Authority.' The denial has caused a row between the South African Communist party and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. This is from the first link.
A senior official in Jerusalem said that the reason that the minister's visa request was turned down was because he intended to pass through Ben-Gurion International Airport for the purposes of visiting the Palestinian Authority, rather than visiting Israel.
Another reason, the official said, was Nzimande's radically anti-Israel stance.
Nzimande is a communist who serves in the South African parliament as a member of the ANC coalition. In the past he has supported an academic boycott against Israel and on one occasion he demanded the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to Pretoria.
Nzimande was invited to Ramallah by his Palestinian counterpart to promote research collaboration between the University of Johannesburg and Palestinian institutions in Palestine. He was due to be there from April 25 – 29.
The minister responded harshly to the decision not to give him a visa. "The Israeli government is trying to use all the means at its disposal to hide its atrocities against the Palestinians and to ensure that only the smallest number of people see what is really happening in the land under its control," he told the South African media.
Nzimande added that he would call on all higher education institutions in his country to immediately freeze their contacts with Israeli universities.
At this stage, Nzimande has not received the support of South African President Jacob Zuma or that country's foreign ministry. Until now, no government minister has come to his defense.
But the South African Communist party came to Nzimande's defense and that drew a strong reaction from Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman.
“The wild attacks by the South African Community Party against Israel following our refusal to allow the higher education minister to pass through Israel en route to the Palestinian Authority is hypocrisy,” Liberman said.

“It was only a few days ago that a violent, racist attack was perpetrated against foreigners in Johannesburg,” the foreign minister said. “There was also vandalism and destruction of property. The end result was many deaths and wounded.”

“As part of the rioting, South African police fired rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades at other migrants from neighboring African countries,” Liberman said. “These events and others prove once again that South Africa remains a country with serious problems of racism and violence.”

“That’s why it would behoove the South African government and the Communist Party to stop preaching morality and attacking Israel, which is a great democracy that is exceptionally coping with threats and terrorist elements while making maximal effort to preserve human rights and international norms of behavior.”

If South Africa was forced to contend with Israel’s security predicament, “blood would be awash in the streets there,” Liberman said.

“In this light, it’s no surprise that the Communist Party prefers the Palestinians over Israel,” he said. “It is a case of like attracting like.”
I can think of some other politicians who think the same way as Nzimande. One of them is the President of the United States. But as I have said many times, no country is obligated to allow unfettered access to its borders. Certainly not Israel.

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