ANC condemns anti-Semitism

Johannesburg - Criticism of the policies and actions of the Israeli government should never degenerate to anti-Semitism, the ANC said on Thursday.

"The ANC has reaffirmed its unequivocal condemnation of any form of hate speech including anti-Semitism and has on a number of occasions distanced itself from the offensive statements reported," the party said in a statement.

The comments were made by ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe during a meeting with the ANC, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), and the SA Zionist Federation (SAZF) on Wednesday.

"The meeting was called to discuss, among others, concerns that the SAJBD and SAZF had regarding what they perceived as anti-Semitic statements attributed to persons purported to be representing the ANC or ANC Youth League, as well as the very real, senseless and continuing calamity in Gaza," the party said.

The ANC would continue to call for the withdrawal of Israeli troops in Gaza and the urgent resumption of negotiations to find a lasting solution to the occupation of Palestine.

AFP reported on Thursday that as of Wednesday, the 24th day of the Gaza conflict, 1 364 Palestinians had been killed - three-quarters of them civilians.

Fifty-six Israeli soldiers have also died, while cross-border rocket fire has killed two Israeli civilians and a Thai migrant worker.

The UN human rights chief has repeatedly condemned the actions not only of Israel but also the indiscriminate Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli communities.