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ADL Urges South Africa to Reconsider Invitation to Hamas

June 1, 2007

Her Excellency Barbara Joyce Masekela
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of South Africa to the United States
Embassy of the Republic of South Africa
3051 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington D.C. 20008

Dear Madam Ambassador:

We are writing to you once again to express our concerns about reports that Hamas officials have been invited to South Africa. In particular, we are troubled by the reports that Ronnie Kasrils, a minister in the South African government, has already publicly met with Hamas officials and, claiming he has the full support of your government conveyed an invitation to Hamas Prime Minister Haniyeh to visit South Africa.

In March 2006, we communicated to you our concerns about the relationship between South Africa and the Hamas-led Palestinian administration. At that time, you explained South Africa’s acceptance of Hamas based on the fact that it is in power as a result of parliamentary elections.

However, democratic elections alone are not sufficient in determining how other countries ought to deal with a governing party. As the history of the ANC so marvelously illustrates, it is words and actions that determine whether any group can be considered a legitimate participant in the political process of a society. This is no less true for Hamas whose words and actions to date clearly do not meet the international community’s accepted standard for legitimacy as a ruling party and relevant player in negotiations on an eventual Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. Indeed, since Hamas assumed power it continues to preach hate and the eradication of the State of Israel through violence and continues to engage in murderous acts of terrorism against Israeli civilians.

These are positions and actions that are unacceptable in relations between peoples and nations. The international community has sent the consistent message to Hamas that it cannot begin to achieve legitimacy until it expressly renounces violence and recognizes Israel’s right to exist. It is particularly disappointing that the ruling party in South Africa has ignored its own noble history and abandoned this approach.


Glen S. Lewy
National Chair

Abraham H. Foxman
National Director

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Related Press Release
ADL Urges Governments of Norway and South Africa to Reconsider Official Contacts with Hamas (6/4/07)

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