Hamas in South Africa

Last week top leaders from Hamas, Palestine’s Islamic liberation movement, made an official visit to South Africa. The delegation, led by Khaled Meshaal himself, visited the country at the invitation of the African National Congress, the ruling party.

At a press conference, it was explained that the ANC and Hamas had signed a letter of intent aimed at fostering closer relations between the two liberation movements. The goal, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe explained, is to build “a long lasting relationship” between the two parties.

The Israeli government was unsurprisingly not happy about the invitation, and summoned the South African ambassador in Tel Aviv to protest at the conferring of legitimacy on what it claims is a “terrorist” group.

But ANC spokespeople responded that their leaders were once considered to be “terrorists” by western governments too, and that it regarded Hamas’ struggle against Israeli occupation to be a legitimate one.

Read the rest over at MEMO.

Israel an ‘apartheid state’, says South African Muslim MP they tried to woo

On Israel’s disastrous PR operation in South Africa:

Even someone their officials perceive as a “good Muslim” like Cassim, is treated in a racist manner at the airport. This apparently happened to Cassim too.

“I believe I was targeted and it was clear racial profiling that was taking place, being stopped even before going into the airport and being interrogated and searched and having my bags turned inside and out,” Cassim told Radio Islam.

Full article over at MEMO.

Nelson Mandela’s long history of support for Palestine

My MEMO column from Friday:

The ANC was a national liberation movement. In that era, revolutionary freedom fighters looked not to placating the west, but to each other as they built not only rhetorical, but very real material links.

Mandela visited the revolutionary leaders of Algeria in 1962, he built links with Fidel Castro’s Cuba, and with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.