On 30 June to 5 July the ANC held its fifth National Policy Conference at Nascrec, Johannesburg. The National Policy Conference is typically held six months before an elective conference and provides an opportunity for the party to review its performance against resolutions adopted at the previous elective conference, and to also propose or recommend new policy positions for consideration at the next elective conference, in this case, the 54th ANC National Elective Conference scheduled to be held on 16 December 2017.
One such new recommendation, made by the International Relations Commission, was the downgrading of the South African embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, which according to the Commission, is to “send a strong message about Israel’s continued occupation of Palestine, and the continued human rights abuses against the people of Palestine.”
Such a decision however, will be contingent on a risk analysis or study on the impact of downgrading the embassy, to be conducted between now and December 2017, and more importantly, the ultimate decision by delegates at the National Elective Conference if whether or not they adopt such a recommendation.
There has been a great deal of confusion and misinformation related to this matter. And it is important to clarify, that the National Elective Conference is the ultimate decision maker in the ANC, and that the recommendation or proposal made at the recent National Policy Conference, is merely that, a recommendation, which may or may not be adopted as a resolution or official policy of the ANC in the December Elective Conference.
Put differently, it is a proposal, and is not ANC Policy, or the ANC’s government’s policy, until it is adopted as a resolution of the National Elective Conference in December.
ANC Policy and the ANC Government’s policy on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, is and remains, one of a two-state solution living side-by-side through a negotiated settlement between both parties. And to the point above, the 2012 (53rd) ANC National Elective Conference never resolved to downgrade the South African embassy in Israel, and until that changes, South Africa continues and will continue to have full diplomatic relations with Israel.
Issued by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the South African Zionist Federation