Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) is a week which, under the guise of human rights activism, provides an opportunity for the hatred of Israel to flourish, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies said on Sunday.
“It is also here that the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism blur,” spokeswoman Charisse Zeifert said in a statement.
“Two weeks ago, BDS-SA again provoked a serious anti-Semitic incident when the student leadership at the Durban University of Technology [DUT] called for Jewish students at the university to be ‘deregistered'(i.e. expelled).”
This followed the visit of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions SA’s (BDS-SA) guest Leila Khaled, “a convicted terrorist who throughout her visit to South Africa spewed hatred and grotesque conspiracy theories against Jews and Israel”, Zeifert said.
On February 12, the DUT student representative council apologised for its call for Jewish students to be expelled from the institution
“The SRC apologises without reservation to anyone offended by recent demands made by us regarding Jewish students.
“Once more, we repeat our position, Israel is an apartheid state that should be fully isolated; on this point we will not concede,” the SRC said in a statement at the time.
Zeifert said more of the same hatred, intensified, could be expected across South African campuses this week.
“To this end, the Jewish community have several international guests that have come out for the week, with the aim of bringing insight and balance as opposed to the inflammatory rhetoric created by the BDS.”
The board recognised the need for a two state-solution to the Middle East conflict and believed that dialogue between Israel and Palestinians was the best way in which peace can be achieved.
“IAW does not seek to support the peace process but rather to demonise the Jewish State through a sustained campaign of slander, defamation, misinformation and emotive bluster,” Zeifert said.
“It adds nothing to achieving peace, and is so conducted as to run counter to the values of freedom of expression and association that all South Africans hold dear.”
Earlier on Sunday, children and relatives of anti-apartheid stalwarts and veterans came out in support of IAW.
“As children, grandchildren and relatives of anti-apartheid stalwarts, veterans of our country’s freedom struggle, we have a responsibility to carry forward the spirit of those who came before us,” they said in a joint-statement.
“As children who live in a free South Africa we carry a responsibility to those in the international community who contributed towards our liberation.”
The 11th international IAW will take place in South Africa between March 2 and 8 this year. The children and relatives included the grandsons of Nelson Mandela and Water and Albertina Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada’s niece, Yusuf Dadoo’s daughter, Frank Chikane’s son, and Beyers Naude’s son.
The call for the non-violent boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel was not being imposed on the Palestinians but was being called for by the oppressed themselves, they said.
“The boycott of apartheid proved successful in mobilising artists, sports people, musicians and ordinary people in the million across the world in successfully isolating South Africa and leading to the democracy that we now have.”
The boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel campaign was proving to do the same.
“Let’s support the non-violent BDS campaign in an attempt to create the necessary conditions for a just peace to be negotiated for Palestinians and Israelis,” they said.
“A better future for all, indigenous Palestinians and Israelis, is not only an option but inevitable.” SAPA