In the recent Twitter poll carried out by the ANC on whether its conference should support the Palestinian struggle by accepting a recommendation for immediate and unconditional downgrade of the South African embassy in Tel Aviv, the results showed that 75% of ANC members who voted supported a total shutdown of the embassy, 11% were in favour of a lesser downgrade and 14% were not sure.
I would like to know from those administering the poll why the answer options were so limited. If SA’s founding principles are based on equality, why limit the poll options to three similar options, none of which favours the other side?
The Jewish voice has clearly been omitted. So too have the voices of the majority of South Africans who are not in favour of the downgrade. According to statistics, only 28% of South Africans are even aware of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, while for 72% of them, it has never reached their ears.
Is the ANC going to base the final decision on the 28% of people who are aware of the issue?
If so, the poll is clearly unbalanced and
one-sided, because the downgrade threatens to have a detrimental effect on SA’s trade and tourism figures.
Relations between SA and Israel will inevitably be negatively affected and the economic repercussions will be unavoidable. SA’s very large and principled Christian community will also suffer the negative after-effects.
Many will find it difficult if not impossible to travel to Israel to visit the keypoints of the Christian faith.
The majority of South Africans are Christians and I am loath to believe that the ANC would want to jeopardise its valuable relationship with the Christian community.
A downgrade and a total shutdown will not do either country any good. How about an upgrade to our mutual benefit?