South Africa’s former ambassador in Tel Aviv has publicly rejected a gift from the Israeli government, of 18 trees planted in his name by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), on land violently expropriated from its Palestinian owners.
Ismail Coovadia, a former anti-apartheid activist, and a member of the ruling African National Congress, was presented with a JNF certificate, signed by Rafael Barak, director general of the Israeli foreign ministry, informing him that the trees had been planted in his “honor.”
Coovadia was appalled at the move and, in a letter posted by BDS South Africa, explained:
I have recently completed serving my term as the fifth Ambassador of democratic, non-racial South Africa to the State of Israel.more
The racist actions of the Israeli parastatal, the Jewish National Fund, together with various other Israeli state institutions to forcibly remove the Palestinians and Bedouins from their legitimate homes is yet another repeat of the ongoing injustice meted out by the Israeli Defence Forces, etc …
I have had the opportunity to visit both, the “South Africa Forest” and the “Ambassador’s Forest” in Israel where trees are reportedly planted in the name of South Africa. In regard to the latter case, my queries, to the Israeli Foreign Ministry officials, have gone unanswered for over a year.
Regrettably, my permission was not sought to plant a tree/s in my or the name of a South African Ambassador on usurped land, the rightful land of the Palestinians and Bedouins. I reserve the right to the usage of my name with or without my permission.