IQBAL JASSAT If Karima Brown is correct in her evaluation of President Jacob Zumas canny ability to gain ascendancy despite teetering on the brink, would it be an unreasonable expectation to have him propel South Africa to take a more hands-on approach regarding apartheid Israel? I raise this question in respect of what is generally perceived to be South Africas weak and indecisive foreign policy that, barring occasional censure of Israeli conduct, seems to be largely silent and ineffective. Brown, a highly respected journalist and commentator, in reviewing Zumas troubled past, points out how he bounces back to not only providing leadership to a fractured alliance, but also to effectively marginalise threats from a variety of internal threats. Nevertheless, this otherwise fine analysis lacks a significant dimension: Zumas foreign policy Given that our advocacy work revolves around issues of Islamophobia and a number of themes related to the war on terror and the manner whereby rogue states such as Israel exploit these to shield their cowardly oppression from public scrutiny, the Media Review Network has always maintained that South Africas foreign policy initiatives to assist Palestine have been inadequate. Current developments in the region along with the right-wing Netanyahu regimes to scuttle Americas peace endeavours, makes an independent intervention by the Zuma presidency imperative and urgent. Some cynics may think it ridiculous to imagine Zuma succeeding while powerful America cannot Others may argue that its unthinkable for any developing country to arouse the wrath of Zionist lobbies that wield significant clout in the corporate environment. Yet other sceptics may wonder why on earth South Africa would venture into territory that may result in severe backlash not only from Israel, but also from so-called frontline Arab states whose frontline status derives from capitulating to the apartheid regime Notwithstanding the mythical creation of a wide array of convoluted and complex issues, I am convinced that a greater number of people require South Africas political, business and religious leadership - along with civil society and social movements - to reaffirm their collective moral authority by demanding the end of Israel. Its a paradigm unique to South Africa and thus easier for leadership to undertake. After all it required the end of South Africa during the apartheid era for a new country to emerge wherein a Bill of Rights and Constitution guarantee life, liberty and more to all its citizens. Demanding that Israel de-links from ideological values as abhorrent as apartheid and abandons Bantustan strategies whereby Palestinians are hostage to perpetual oppression could be an elementary, yet essential initial step. If its true that today one cannot find any South African who rationalises apartheids legitimacy, then surely it ought not be difficult for Zuma to speak on behalf of the entire country in denouncing apartheid Israel and her repugnant human rights violations If anti-apartheid campaigns were initiated in Europe and elsewhere by the African National Congress [ANC] to successfully isolate racism and punish its perpetrators through sporting and cultural boycotts, it is nor far-fetched to advocate that similar campaigns be orchestrated and led against Israel today by the ruling party being the ANC. Fourteen years later, with Zuma having consolidated his leadership, it is an opportune time for him to chart a decisive foreign policy designed to urgently end repressive Israeli conduct and restore justice for Palestinians. As, during 1996, two years into the Nelson Mandela presidency, Edward would say: The time has come to put Palestine back in the centre as an ideal for individual action and individual commitment to principle in the same way that Mandelas actions and principles inspired the anti-apartheid movement. Indeed, capitulation by the Obama Administration has signalled that the time for South Africa to adopt a new policy towards Palestine has arrived. Iqbal Jassat is chairperson of the Media Review Network (MRN), an advocacy group based in Pretoria, South Africa. Palestine Chronicle