(008274.77-E001840.93NAVRLOSUC20V)[The Blacks in South Africa, and probably in most of Africa detest Israel. This is a throw-back to their support from Russia and China who always backed the enemies of the Jewish state of Israel. Jan]
The South African government has withdrawn its support for the Miss South Africa pageant after the organisation insisted on taking part in the Miss Universe pageant to be held in Israel.
Miss South Africa (Miss SA) Lalela Mswane is set to participate in the 70th Miss Universe pageant in December.
There has, however, been mounting pressure for the Miss SA organisation to boycott the pageant.
Both politicians and citizens are concerned that if South Africa participates in Miss Universe it will be seen as supporting what they view as an apartheid government in Israel.
In response, the Miss SA organisation refused to bow to the pressure, saying they’re not a political organisation.
“Anyone who wants to rob Lalela of her moment in the spotlight is unkind and short-sighted. She is a shining beacon for young women everywhere, showing them that being beautiful while being clever and educated is very possible.
“We are not a political organisation and the Miss Universe pageant is not a politically inspired event,” she concluded.
In a statement, the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa said Miss SA’s decision lacked “appreciation of the potential negative impact of such a decision on the reputation and future of a young black woman”.
“The atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinians are well documented and government, as the legitimate representative of the people of South Africa, cannot in good conscience associate itself with such,” said Mthethwa.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture even used the words of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu to convey their message.
“Indicating that Israel was guilty of the apartheid treatment of Palestinians, [Tutu] said, ‘Their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government.’”
Although Mthethwa conceded that the individual interest of Mswane would be affected by not taking part in Miss Universe, he said the reasons for the withdrawal far outweigh individual interests.
“If anything, by withdrawing, Miss South Africa’s reputation and overall standing will be far more advanced in South Africa and internationally in comparison to a once off event that can prove disastrous to her future and public standing as a young, black woman,” said Mthethwa.
In response, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) criticised Mthethwa. It questioned why he was silent as the country’s artists appealed for help during the Covid-19 pandemic but raised his voice on the Miss Universe issue.
Highlighting South Africa’s diplomatic and commercial ties with Israel, the SAJBD said Miss SA could use the pageant as an opportunity to improve relations between Israel and Palestine.
“The way we influence situations is to engage, not to withdraw. The SAJBD believes that closing doors merely isolates [South Africa] from contributing… What better opportunity for a South African to be part of an event where she can connect with 70 countries around the world, including many Arab countries, in sharing our story of dialogue and peace-building?” said SAJBD’s National Director Wendy Kahn.
The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) said it was “appalled” that the South African government is “self-sabotaging our country’s hopes and chances of participating and shining in an international event just because it happens to take place in Israel”.
“The government has been silent on actual and serious human rights abuses occurring in many other countries where we participate in sports and contests, but self-righteously reserves its opprobrium for the world’s only Jewish state,” said Rowan Polovin, the National Chairman of SAZF.
“If our country were interested in bringing peace to the Middle East, or to carry any moral weight in playing a mediatory role between Israel and the Palestinians, we have now ensured that our one-sidedness and unilateralism will prevent us from doing so.”
‘Stand with the oppressed’
Earlier this week, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) called on Mswane to boycott the pageant.
“We specifically call on Lalela Mswane, Miss South Africa, to refuse, reject and condemn the Miss Universe taking place in Israel which is an apartheid, genocidal and criminal state,” said the party in a statement on Wednesday.
“No South African whose liberation came through the international boycott of Afrikaner apartheid by people of the the world should ever negotiate boycotting Israel. No South African should ever arrogate themselves the responsibility of understanding, negotiating or reconciling Palestinians with their oppressor, Israel.
“Our duty is to isolate Israel from all cultural, sports, religious and economic activities until they end their apartheid and colonial occupation of Palestinian people and lands.
“To Lalela Mswane, we say stand with the oppressed, let the beauty of Palestine and Palestinians come first. Let it be affirmed through a complete boycott of their oppressor: Apartheid Israel.”