The Boycott Divestment and South African Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS SA) movement has brushed off claims that it was advocating anti-semitism, in the midst of an uproar over its protests held recently.
“This is absolute nonsense, that the BDS is spreading anti-semitism in South Africa. If anything the Palestinian solidarity movement has a diverse base,” said BDS SA spokesperson Muhammed Desai.
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) has accused BDS SA of encouraging anti-semitism in the country by “importing the Middle East conflict into South Africa”. SAJBD’s views comes after a protest organized by BDS SA and COSAS on Sunday outside an exhibition showcasing the trade releationship between South Africa and Israel. The protest formed part of a number of events held across the country during Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW).
“This is a conflict that doesn’t sit in our country; it’s not in South Africa, taking place in the Middle East. It’s a conflict that for the Jewish and Muslim communities it’s very emotional, but at the end of the day we are South Africans first, and we have to focus on our commonalities and not our differences.
“Of course we all see it different, the average Muslim South African sees it very different to the average Jewish South African. If anything, as South Africans we should be toning down the rhetoric and getting together and work together,” said Zev Krengel, SAJBD president.
Krengel said although it is an option, going down the legal route is not the path the organization wants to take in resolving BDS’s alleged stance towards SAJBD.
“We’ve got our legal team on this, but it’s not necessarily the way we want it to go because we have to still live as South Africans the next day.” VOC (Andriques Petersen)