Former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk. (AP/Junji Kurokawa) (AP/Junji Kurokawa)
Frederik Willem de Klerk

Former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk opposes the anti-Israel boycott movement and says comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa is “odious.”

Anti-Israel protest.

An anti-Israel protest. (Shutterstock)

Frederik Willem de Klerk, the last president of apartheid South Africa, stated Sunday that imposing sanctions against Israel was no way to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that labeling Israel an apartheid state was repugnant.

The former South African president, who helped end apartheid in that country, told Israel Radio that he thinks “comparisons are odious and wouldn’t like to draw direct comparisons” between Israel and apartheid South Africa.

“I prefer dialogue and negotiation as a way to get governments to change their attitudes,” he said. “I think sanctions are more counterproductive than helpful to change any country on the course it is taking.”

Those who support boycotting Israeli goods or goods made in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria often point to a similar campaign credited with having undermined white rule in South Africa. Israel rejects the comparison, saying that the boycotts are aimed at delegitimizing its very existence. De Klerk apparently agrees with Israel, explaining that sanctions would delay positive developments.

Sanctions against South Africa “hurt the people they were intended to help” and “sometimes delayed the reforms,” he said. They “had the effect of driving the white population, who at that stage had all the power, into a corner, and they resisted it fiercely.”

De Klerk was the last president under apartheid and, along with Nelson Mandela, ended its systematic racial discrimination. They both won the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff