Hundreds March in South Africa Against Yesha Labeling

June 29, 2012  

Several hundreds of people staged a protest march in Pretoria, South Africa, on Thursday against South Africa’s plans to label products made in Judea and Samaria as “Made in the Palestinian Territories.”

Around 300 members of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and the Inkatha Freedom party marched peacefully and handed over a petition against the labeling to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, spokesman Sidwell Medupe told AFP.

Last month, Minister Rob Davies issued an announcement warning merchants “not to incorrectly label products that originate from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) as products of Israel.”

He later rejected “with utter contempt” suggestions that there were racial motivations for his move, saying his department was neither seeking to promote a boycott of Israeli goods nor to prevent the entry of such products into South Africa.

Davies asserted, however, that the move was aimed at ensuring that products were correctly labeled so that South African consumers could decide for themselves as to whether they wanted to purchase them.

Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, leader of the ACDP, has argued that “the South African government must not involve itself in the political agenda of organizations and anti-Israeli lobbies,” AFP reported.

Meshoe has also said that the decision is misleading and baseless, since the world does not recognize a country called the “Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

Israel’s former ambassador to South Africa, Alon Liel, said this week that he backs a boycott of goods made in Judea and Samaria.

Liel wrote this week in the South African Business Today, “I buy Israeli products every day and do my best not to buy Israeli products from the occupied territories.”

He added, “I cannot condemn the move to prevent goods made in the occupied Palestinian territory from being falsely classified as ‘Made in Israel.’ I support the South African government’s insistence on this distinction between Israel and its occupation.”

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