South Africa's former president Frederik Willem de Klerk
South Africa’s former president Frederik Willem de Klerk . (photo credit:REUTERS)


South Africa’s last president under white rule said Sunday that the comparison between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and South Africa’s system of Apartheid “disgusts him.”

Speaking in an interview with Israel Radio, F.W. de Klerk said that he opposes efforts to boycott Israel because of its policies toward the Palestinians. South Africa’s system of Apartheid, or racial segregation between whites and blacks, drew international boycotts in the 1980s and saw American and European companies divest from the country.

De Klerk was the last president under the Apartheid regime, bringing about the end of the system together with Nelson Mandela, who replaced him as president.

De Klerk posited in the Israel Radio interview that boycotts only serve to make the society being boycotted more extreme and to shut out the voices of moderates.

The former South African president said that only through dialogue can a change in policy come.

De Klerk’s comments came as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel has gained steam in recent weeks, drawing frequent comments from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other politicians.

Earlier this month the British National Union of Students passed a motion  to boycott Israel and affiliate with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Days later, the CEO of French telecom giant Orange said that his company wanted to cut ties with Israel. The move was perceived in Israel as a call to boycott Israel, a claim that Orange CEO Stéphane Richard later denied.

Netanyahu has claimed that the BDS movement is motivated by anti-Semitism, saying that it will not help bring about peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post