Progressive Jewish artist and activist Dror Feiler is in South Africa for a 10 day speaking tour. Feiler, an accomplished saxophonist, grew up on an Israeli Kibbutz in the 1960s. Dror initially served as a paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces but defected in 1973 as one of the first “refuseniks” (Israeli soldiers who refuse to serve in the occupied Palestinian territories, in protest against Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people).
Israeli Refusniks are often compared to white conscientious objectors who defected from Apartheid South Africa’s SADF during the 1980s. Dror eventually renounced his Israeli citizenship and settled in Sweden where he now resides.
Feiler studied new music and interpretation at the Fylkingen Institut for New Music from 1975 to 1977, musicology at Stockholm University from 1977 to 1978 and composition at the Music Academy of Stockholm from 1978 to 1983. Feiler also plays saxophone in the jazz band Lokomotiv Konkret, and founded the The Too Much Too Soon Orchestra.
Feiler is now the chairman of the Swedish organization Jews for Israeli–Palestinian Peace (JIPF) and the European organization European Jews for a Just Peace (EJJP). He is also a member of the editorial board of the New Colombia News Agency (ANNCOL). Dror Feiler forms part of the growing list of progressive Israelis and Jews who are refusing to identify with Israel, its Apartheid policies and oppression of Palestinian people.
“The local Israeli lobby in South Africa, we hope, will come out to the various events with Feiler and realise that one need not be Jewish and supportive of Israel. One can liberate oneself from Zionism and supporting Israel. Dror Feiler’s support for the Palestinian struggle and the BDS boycott of Israel movement also dispels myths that the struggle and BDS movement are anti-Semitic,” said Kwara Kekana from BDS South Africa.
Dror Feiler has previously participated in various flotillas that have attempted to break the Israeli siege of Gaza. The most famous flotilla (group of ships) that attempted to break the Ibloacked on the illegal Israeli siege of the Palestinain Gaza Strip is the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” which was attacked by israeli commandos on the 31st of May 2010.
Nine activists who were on board the Mavia Marmara which formed part of the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” were killed by Israel leading to worldwide condemnation including South Africa recalling its ambassador from Israel as a form of diplomatic sanction. Freiler himself sustained some minor injuries to the face during the Israeli raid. Feiler was among 15 activists arrested by Israeli authorities, subsequently deported and banned from re-entering the country for 10 years.
Feiler is in South Africa to raise awareness of the Palestinian struggle, the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel movement) and the current Gaza Freedom Flotilla III initiative which seeks to again break the Israeli blockade of the Palesitnain Gaza Strip as well as deliver humanitarian aid to the 1.7 million Palestinains living there.
Dror Feiler’s speaking tour is hosted by the Palestine Solidarity Alliance in partnership with BDS South Africa, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, the National Coalition 4 Palestine and several other local South African organisations. Feiler is expected to speak in Johannesburg, Pietermaritzburg, Cape Town and Durban. VOC