The recent cancellation by University of KZN of the invitation to Israel’s
Deputy Ambassador to South Africa Yaakov Finkelstein to freely address students and staff of smacks of racism of the worst kind. Surely, an academic institution is a place where minds should be able to hear all points of view
Instead, students are now being coerced into witnessing official representatives from Israel being singled out for opprobrium and sanction, with only insidious disinformation and the proselytizing anti-Israel campaign of the BDS
movement available to them.
Does BDS tell the students that the territories were won in defensive wars against Israel? Did BDS inform the students that it is unprecedented in history that a country is obliged to give up land taken in a defensive war? Both Japan and Germany lost land as a result of their aggressions in WWII.
This self-same BDS movement is now trying to force South Africa through the Department of Trade and Industry to label goods made in the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria as being manufactured in the “Occupied Palestinian Territories,” unless of course Israel withdraws back to 1948 lines.
This demand is ludicrous and ignorant in the extreme. What are the 1948 lines anyway? Do they form part of the 1947 Partition or are these the armistice lines after the War of Independence? So Israel at the insistence of BDS is going to give up its towns and cities and go back to Auschwitz-
type borders, or otherwise "Ahava"
will have a new label.
This would be laughable if it were not so tragic that a bunch of deluded individuals who actually don’t give a damn about Palestinian rights or their future can honestly believe that Israel, a sovereign United Nations member, will capitulate to their new demand, which smacks of arrogance, delusion and racism.
Is this organization even representative of Palestinian interests? I don’t think so. Do they know, or even care, that 13,000 Palestinians and their families may lose their jobs if companies are forced to relocate because of the campaign against Israel?
BDS has not helped the Palestinians one iota but has given free, unexpected and very welcome publicity to "Ahava." Their profits internationally are growing exponentially.
BDS claims to be humanistic in its outlook but from what one can see only has selective humanism towards one conflict in the world, while conveniently ignoring atrocities in Syria, massive human rights violations in China, endless torture and detentions without trial in Iran. The list is endless. Is this because it is acceptable for Muslims to kill Muslims, and for dissident Chinese and activist Tibetans to be incarcerated and tortured by these respective countries?
It is very interesting that it is not acceptable for Jews in the only Jewish state in the world to defend themselves in what is now a 100 year old terror-war against the Arabs. Despite an intractable conflict and numerous peace overtures to uncompromising neighbors who do not want peace, these same eight million Jews, Muslim Arabs, Druze, Bedouin, Circassians and Christians too - all Israeli by the way - have contributed in unparalleled ways to the upliftment of the world.
South Africa too has benefited enormously from Israeli innovations in agriculture, medicine and technology. Is South Africa now going to ban the use of all these marvelous inventions for a misplaced and propagandist ideology that serves no-one, least of all our needy population?
Who cares about the Kashmiri dispute or millions of Zimbabweans struggling and suffering on the other side of the border? Who cares about Eritrean and Sudanese people who, in attempting to flee from some of the worst atrocities perpetrated on them, run to pariah Israel which does not shoot them, torture them or incarcerate them like Egypt does, but allows them to live freely and even feeds them and sends their children to school? Many of them are black Muslims, hated by their fellow more lighter-skinned Muslims. Talk about racism!
Sadly the reality is that Israel’s case dates from time immemorial. It fits in comfortably with popular Jew-prejudice, it is fashionable to pick on Jews and the only Jewish country in the world – in truth, it is a soft target and few besides the Jewish people care enough to take a stance.
It is undoubtedly the BDS campaign that has prevented Israel’s deputy ambassador from stating his country’s position. Could it be that something frightens them? Could it be that he will speak the truth, enough of the truth to change the mindset of impressionable young minds?
BDS is doing all it can to destroy healthy debate and replace it with a totalitarian way of thinking that smacks of intimidation and Apartheid-style tactics. That is not democratic; it is not just; and in the end, it will be defeated, for history has proven that the truth will out, no matter what.
Debra Mankowitz, The Association for Fair Media