October 17, 2018

South African City Councilor Suspended for Calling City An Ally of Israel

A councilor for the city of Johannesburg, South Africa was suspended on June 12 for praising Israel.

Mayoral Committee Member for Health Mpho Phalatse said over the weekend, “I would like to declare that I am a friend of Israel and the city of Johannesburg is a friend of Israel. Shalom.”

The mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, announced the suspension in a statement and stated that an investigation was pending.

“My disappointment stemmed from the attribution of those sentiments to the City of Johannesburg on a matter of such an emotional and sensitive nature,” Mashaba said, adding that her comments resulted in “a divisive state which is counter to the kind of social cohesion that is needed in our City.”

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) condemned Phalatse’s suspension.

“These are just the most recent instances of attempts to silence South Africans who challenge the anti-Israel narrative,” SAJBD spokesperson Charisse Zeifert said in a statement. “It is all part of an environment in which Israel is being demonized to a degree that bears no relationship to reality.”