South African President’s Meeting with Hamas Leader is Highly Disturbing, ADL Says

New York, NY, October 20, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed shock at a decision by South Africa’s ruling ANC party to host a Hamas delegation and President Jacob Zuma’s meeting with Khaled Mashal, the leader of the Gaza-based terrorist organization.

In a letter sent to President Zuma, ADL called the president’s meeting with Mashal “highly disturbing,” and expressed concern that the meeting will confer legitimacy by the leader of South Africa and its ruling party to give official legitimacy to this terrorist, pro-violence, anti-peace and anti-Semitic organization. The League also urged President Zuma to immediately publicly denounce and distance the South African government from Hamas and its terrorist and hate-filled agenda. According to reports, on October 18, the ANC hosted the Hamas delegation in Pretoria, and a smaller meeting was also held between Zuma and Mashal.

“We are shocked at the at both the ANC’s invitation to a Hamas Central Committee delegation to visit South Africa this week, and your highly disturbing decision to meet with Hamas head Khaled Mashal,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, in a letter to President Zuma. “This meeting serves to legitimize Hamas, an unabashed terrorist organization, whose ultimate goal is the establishment of an Islamic Palestinian state through the violent destruction of the State of Israel. Indeed, during the current wave of Palestinian violence in Israel, Hamas has called for an escalation of attacks against Israelis, including reportedly suicide bombings, and has publicly cheered terror attacks which have killed and wounded Israeli civilians.”

“The reception of Hamas by the leader of South Africa and its ruling party gives official legitimacy to this terrorist, pro-violence, anti-peace, anti-Semitic organization. While we understand the South African government’s longstanding desire to play a role in mediating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and work to bring an end to the violence, South Africa’s embrace of Hamas will only set back reconciliation efforts. This meeting will likely be seen as an act of hostility towards Israel, and create significant discomfort and apprehension among South Africa’s Jewish community,” Mr. Greenblatt wrote.