Even more so when the ANC Youth League gets in on the action.
SA embassy spokesman Judika Tladi told The Jerusalem Post that ambassador Ismael Coovadia was being recalled to Pretoria for consultations so that the government can get a "better understanding" of what happened off the Gaza coast and its implications. He could not say when Coovadia, who was leaving the country this weekend, would return to Israel.
Tladi added that Pretoria was not planning on expelling Israel's ambassador to South Africa or severing ties. "This will not affect ties between the two countries. We have no intention of expelling the Israeli ambassador or cutting ties with Israel," Tladi told the 'Post.
This is evidence, if you ever needed any, that South Africa, despite its history, can have no role in bringing a solution to this conflict. We speak of a policy of engagement, and we not only speak of it, we action it. We "engage" with Zimbabwe, Sudan, and other pariahs of the world. The only single exception to this policy is Israel. It may be partly due to the influence of the powerful Muslim lobby in South Africa, but I think the policy is a mendacious cover-up. We don't actually have a policy of engagement. It's been said before that South Africa never met a dictator it didn't like and measured against this worldview, our treatment of Israel is better understood.
Update: Official Community Response
The South African Jewish leadership is saddened over the deaths and injuries incurred during the Gaza flotilla incident.
Nevertheless, the South African Government's decision to temporarily recall our Ambassador to Israel in response to the incident is premature and inappropriate. The relevant facts of the incident are not yet fully known; they will become so only after the investigation into its causes has completed its work and reported its findings to the international community.
In this regard, the leadership expresses its profound disappointment at the decision, as it goes against the South African way of engaging in dialogue and not jumping to conclusions before all the facts are known.
The Jewish leadership regrets that South Africa is thus far the only country, aside from Turkey, to have taken so radical and disproportionate a step, despite not being directly involved in the matter.
As South African citizens we call upon our Government to adhere to an even-handed policy on the situation in the Middle East and to give due weight to Israel's legitimate security concerns.
We have requested a meeting with the South African government to obtain clarification concerning the rationale behind this decision.
Zev Krengel, Chairman, SA Jewish Board of Deputies 082 5579681
Avrom Krengel, Chairman SA Zionist Federation 082 6006465
Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein 0102142603
Issued by: SA Jewish Board of Deputies, SA Zionist Federation, Office of the Chief Rabbi