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Posted on on December 18th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

South Africa, With All Its Internal Squabbles, Has Fallen Far From The Example Mandela Set.
South Africa Of Today Endangers The Future Of Africa By Shooting At Africa’s Feet As We Witnessed
During the Night Of 5/11/2007 at the Time It Led The Election Of Zimbabwe To Chair The UN
Commission For Sustainable Development. As a Result The CSD Is Now Moribund and Has No
Secretary To Lead It Towards This Years Meeting That Was Supposed To Deal With Land Use.

The South Africans Showed Plain Chutzpah By Saying That If The Israelis Had Allowed their
Proposal To Be Presented By The Chairman Of The Second Committee, Rather Then Insisting
To Speak For Themselves As A Grown Up Member Of The UN, They And The Islamics Would
Not Have Abstained. So, If Today’s   South Africa Thinks That For Political Reasons They Are Clear
To Imply That One Sovereignty Is Less Then Another – That is Really No Less then A Suggestion
Advocating international Apartheid, and No Way That This Attitude Will be Accepted Outside The
Musty Corridors of The UN.

Ambassador Gillerman Was Fully Correct In Singling Out South Africa By Saying That He Honors
The Position Of Israel’s Self Appointed Arab Enemies, and That He Cannot See South Africa’s Position
Because there Is No South Africa-Israel Conflict – Except That, Seemingly, South Africa Is Just
Out There To Go Hand In Hand With Mugabe and Opt For Everything That Might Enrage The West.

We At have an IBSA Button for India, Brazil, and South Africa, as we
Considered These Three States As Potential Future Addition To The Present Five Permanent
Members Of The UN Security Council. We Expected These Three Countries, One From Each Of
The Under-Represented Continents, and Also With Potential For Becoming Economic Leaders
In The 21st Century, To Become Also Ethical Additions To A Reorganized UN. But 2007 Was A
Year When South Africa Has Done Most Everything Wrong – This Leaves Sub Sahara   Africa
Worse Off Then Leaderless. South Africa, For Reasons Unclear Does Harm To The Interests Of
The Poorer African States.

Israel Started Already In the 1970’s To Help African States Ny Bringing To Them Modern Agriculture,
And By Taking Their Technicians In For Training at Israeli Institutions. It Was Because of Arab
Interference That Africa Did Not Get Out More From The Israelis – Now It Is South Africa That Is
In The Way.

In UN Ag Tech Spat, Israel Calls “Shameful” Abstention by S. Africa, Which Feels Singled Out

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, December 11 — Verbal skirmishes between Israel and the Arab Group and vice versa are expected at the UN. Tuesday in connection with what Israeli Ambassador Dan Gillerman called a rare feel-good story, a less intuitive fight broke out, Israel versus South Africa. Amb. Gillerman summoned reporters to the microphone outside the Security Council chamber to highlight the passage in the General Assembly’s Second Committee of a resolution sponsored by Israel, on the use of agricultural technology for development. He said it was the first Israeli-sponsored resolution to pass the Committee, and he noted that there were no votes against it. There were 29 abstentions, “mostly Arab states,” he said, “which I do not understand but which I respect.” Then Amb. Gillerman singled out South Africa’s abstention, and called it “shameful… unless it was a mistake… pressed the wrong button.” South Africa calls itself the leader of Africa, making its abstention all the worse, he said. The implication was that South Africa has abstained for the same “political” reason as the Arab states, but with less justification, at least in Israel’s eyes.

Inner City Press, after asking Amb. Gillerman some questions (video here, from Minute 8:58), sought the South African mission’s reason for abstention. It was explained that the draft resolution had not included the Africa focus found in the Millennium Declaration and the 2005 World Summit Outcome documents, lacking provisions about intellectual property, for example. Amendments had been attempted but rejected. A suggestion had been made to have the resolution be a proposal of the Chairman of the committee, but Israel, the mission said, fought to retain ownership.

Amb. Gillerman said that Israel does not want to be a “one issue” country, that it has been very active in sharing its agricultural technology in Africa, Latin America and elsewhere. He limited questions to issues of agriculture, “on this festive day,” he said. Inner City Press asked for details on Israel’s collaboration with the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization. Amb. Gillerman referred the question to his “expert,” Ilan Fluss, who answered that FAO had coordinated with Israel on the resolution throughout the process.

South Africa has been fingered, by the U.S. mission and the New York Times, for opposing an General Assembly resolution denouncing rape in the service of governmental or military goals. There is, of course, South Africa’s position on Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, previously covered by Inner City Press. But beyond that, Reuters highlighted earlier this year that on a Holocaust resolution adopted by consensus, the South African representative was not present in the meeting, along with Iran and the Sudan. One diplomat asked, Why are we being singled out? Especially by Israel, which complains of disparate treatment?


In the UN General Assembly, Amb. Dan Gillerman in action

Ilan Fluss, who coordinated the resolution, was previously Israel’s acting Ambassador in South Africa. Clearly there’s some tension there, to single out one of the 29 abstentions. Other abstainers included Algeria, Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam, Djibouti, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

It has been noted that the resolution still has to be considered by the full General Assembly, next week. Late Tuesday, Inner City Press asked the Permanent Observer of Palestine, Riyad Mansour, about the ag tech spat. Amb. Mansour riffed that “the Israeli delegate forgot the statement of his leaders in Annapolis, when they expressed thrills at seeing 16 Arab states there.” He suggested that Israel, if it was interested in more than “scoring political points… with a minor victory,” should have allowed the resolution to be converted into a consensus text sponsored by the Committee’s chair. Amb. Mansour specifically took issue with Amb. Gillerman having “lashed out” at South Africa, which he called “a country that no one can question their integrity with regard to justice and doing the right thing.” Video here. Afterwards, a Council diplomat mused that the tables were turned, with the Palestinians offering verbal defenses of South Africa. And so it goes at the UN.