On March 20 at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa, a student event hosted by the Palestinian Solidarity Forum (PSF) at UCT was held for the annual “Israel Apartheid Week” welcoming two representatives from terrorist organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas.
Nasser Abu Sharif from PIJ and Khaled Qadomi from Hamas, who are both representatives for their respective terrorist organizations in Iran, addressed the students via video conference at the on-campus event.
While Hamas and PIJ are not listed as designated terrorist organizations in South Africa, they are designated terrorist organizations in Canada, the EU, the US, Australia, Israel, Japan, and the UK.
Abu Sharif has long been an advocate of violence and has close ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran. He has also spoken out vociferously against the UAE following the normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE as part of the Abraham Accords.
Similarly, Qodomi advocates for the complete destruction of the state of Israel which he calls a “neocolonial project.” Last week he stated in an interview, “The strategy is very clear; to achieve the liberation of Palestine from the River to the Sea...Resistance is through all means, but we have found that the armed struggle is the only meaningful way, that will force Israel to withdraw.” Qodomi also stated in the same interview that, “anything we do as Palestinians, armed, stone, whatever, is under the title of resistance, defending ourselves and is a reaction to the action of occupation.”
Photos from the event at UCT show flags of both Hamas and Hezbollah prominently displayed, and attendees also shared photos on social media holding a vigil to honor the “martyrs” who have sacrificed their lives for “the liberation of Palestine.”
The vigil featured the terrorist organization flags, along with photos of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, the late Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Commander Qasem Soleimani who was assassinated by the United States in 2020, and others.
Spokesperson for the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) Rolene Marks, condemned the event and stated, “The actions of the PSF continue to demonstrate the extreme nature of the PSF, whose actions must be opposed. UCT must condemn the bringing of extremists onto campus and cease funding anti-Israel propaganda masquerading as academic research.”
While the “apartheid week” activities are often controversial and the BDS movement is known for its extremism in South Africa, the presence of terror supporters on a university campus is highly unusual.
In a comment to Ynet, Marks added, “The PSF have effectively imported a conflict from another part of the world onto a campus in South Africa…This is not about academic freedom…this is about creating an intolerable climate for Jewish students and students who support Israel or identify as zionist, because they don’t feel safe, they don't feel protected. The South African way has always been to look at the best ways to resolve conflict however UCT has allowed itself to be captured by terrorism.”
UCT has seen repeated efforts to boycott Israel as part of the BDS movement’s agenda at the university, but thus far they have not been successful. In 2019 however, the BDS movement succeeded in canceling a joint event with UC Berkeley and UCT featuring two Israeli academics.
Ynet reached out to UCT as well as the student societies office on campus but has not yet received a response regarding the event.