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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘South Africa’

Woolworths Hits Back at BDS with Lawsuit Threat

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

The South Africa-based Woolworths retail chain is threatening to sue the Boycott, Divest and Sanction group over customer and staff safety.

“Our employees, of all faiths and cultures, are telling us that they are feeling increasingly threatened by the protests,” Woolworths spokesman Babs Diamini said this week, according to South Africa’s Times Live.

“What’s more, the families of our employees have reported being abused and sworn at by BDS. If this continues we will consider taking further precautions, including legal action against the individuals involved,” Diamini said.

Just as BDS has the right to protest, said Diamini, the chain’s employees have the right to work, and its customers have the right to shop without being intimidated.

She added that it is not clear why Woolworths is being targeted and other major corporations are not, because “more than 95 percent of our food is sourced locally [and] the government continues to authorize trade with Israel.”

Other companies with ties to Israel include Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Danone, Nestle and Motorola. But BDS activist Mohammed Desai made it clear the movement would stay focused on Woolworths, acknowledging the group could not tackle every target at once.

“For now, Woolworths is our target. They are making a grave mistake by ignoring us and if we go to all those retailers our campaign will be diluted.”

BDS activists have demonstrated at more than 40 protests targeting Woolworths around South Africa. The group says it plans to raise the pressure at the retail giant’s annual general meeting on November 26.

Woolworths Holdings Limited is a South African chain of retail stores and one of the largest in the country, modeled on Marks & Spencer of the United Kingdom. The Woolworths brand incorporates a series of food stores, some of which are attached to department stores, while others stand alone or are attached to Engen petrol stations in prosperous urban areas. Some branches include an in-store restaurant, branded as “Cafe W”. Woolworths goods are sold at 149 corporate stores, 51 international franchise stores throughout the rest of Africa and the Middle East and 69 South African franchise stores nationwide. The chain was named after the United States chain F. W. Woolworth Company but, because of the contemporary trademark laws, the name was legally used without permission. No financial connection ever existed between the companies.

South African Leader Incites for Death to Jews

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Incitement and anti-Semitic hate have reached new depths in South Africa, where a union leader wrote a Facebook post calling for “eye for an eye” attacks on Jewish communal officials in retribution for civilian deaths in Gaza.

Tony Ehrenreich, a trade union official and the 2011 Cape Town mayoral candidate for the African National Congress party, condemned the “killings and maimings that have been taking place in Gaza.”

He accused the Israel Defense Forces of “attempts to steal the Palestinian lands.”

Ehrenreich wrote that South Africa’s Jewish Board of Deputies, the national Jewish communal organization, should suffer for its support of Israel.

“This makes the Jewish Board of Deputies complicit in the murder of the people in Gaza,” Ehrenreich wrote. “The time has come to say very clearly that if a woman or child is killed in Gaza, then the Jewish board of deputies, who are complicit, will feel the wrath of the People of SA with the age old biblical teaching of an eye for an eye.”

Got it?

If you support Israel you are an accomplice to what Ehrenreich considers a crime and better run for your life.

That’s called liberalism.

The JTA contributed to this report.

South African Jew’s Anti-Israel Facebook Post Stirs Outrage

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

A Facebook picture of a South African Jewish high school student wearing a traditional Palestinian scarf has triggered outrage and a petition calling for his removal from an honorary position, as well as a dueling petition in his defense.

Joshua Broomberg, deputy head boy of the King David Victory Park High School, a Jewish day school, and the captain of the South African national debate team, was tagged in a Facebook photograph wearing a traditional Palestinian scarf and a badge of the Palestinian flag, according to the Independent Online, a South African news website.

The caption of the photo stated: “Team South Africa wearing Palestinian badges and Keffiyehs to show our opposition to the human rights violations carried out against the people of Palestine.” Broomberg and the debate team were in Thailand competing in the World Schools Debating Championship.

In response to the posting, a petition was posted online at change.org calling for Broomberg’s removal as deputy head boy, an honorary student post. The petition quickly garnered 2,000 online signatures. In response, an opposing petition was also posted at change.org, opposing Broomberg’s removal. That petition has garnered more than 4,000 signatures.

Rabbi Craig Kacev, general director of the South African Board of Jewish Education, which oversees King David Victory Park, said that Broomberg would not be suspended and defended the student’s right to free speech, telling South Africa’s Eyewitness News, “We encourage critical thinking, we encourage our learners to debate and there’s no censorship in our school.”

In a post on Facebook, Broomberg apologized for creating an “uproar,” which he said he did not intend, but defended himself as a proud Jew and as a Zionist, and stated, “While I apologize for the hurt we seem to have caused, I do not apologize for standing with Palestine on this issue.”

Anti-Israel Speakers and Jewish Self-Hatred

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Cape Town, South Africa – The global center of the world BDS movement is, when you think about it, South Africa. BDS, in an attempt to sound more reasonable and less hateful, rarely compares Israel to Nazi, Germany, the way, say, arch-anti-Semite Roger Waters of Pink Floyd does. No, BDS argues that Israel practices apartheid the way that pre-Nelson Mandela South Africa did.

You can imagine, therefore, that it’s not all that easy being a proud lover of Israel in South Africa. That the Jewish community here pulls it off, remaining staunch Zionists, is impressive. But there are fissures in the support. Israel is under constant assault by some ANC ministers who make the false and erroneous comparison of Israel’s existential war against Islamic terrorists to the ANC’s struggle against white apartheid rule. Last week I responded to this ridiculous comparison. This week I want to focus on what it’s like to be subject to it.

It’s impossible for world Jewry to be the brunt of so much hatred, and to constantly be on the defensive about Israel, without some of that bile and poison seeping in. The constant attacks start playing with your head. Maybe there is something wrong with us Jews. With Christianity saying for 2000 years that Jesus is loving while the God of the Old Testament is vengeful, maybe Judaism is too rigid. Maybe in Israel we’re overdoing it. With the Palestinians saying they’re humiliated by checkpoints, perhaps Israel is purposely trying to degrade them as opposed to instituting security measures to stop buses filled with children from being blown up. And maybe, just maybe, we Jews who live outside of Israel are simply giving Israel too much mindless support.

I remember twice visiting Dakar, Senegal, one of the poorest countries on earth, and being struck by the advertisements all over the city for skin bleaching agents. But maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised. Gorie island in the city is where millions of African slaves departed through ‘the gate of no return’ to a life of chains in the Americas and Caribbean. When you’re brutalized with that kind of hatred just for the color of your skin you don’t always see beauty when you peer in the mirror.

The gradual trickle of self-hatred into the Jewish soul is evidencing itself in the growing American Jewish call for Israel-hating speakers to be hosted by Jewish organizations at Jewish venues in order to demonstrate our open-mindedness. We first saw this with Swarthmore Hillel when it bizarrely announced its “Open Hillel” policy, opening their doors to anti-Zionist speakers. Asking people who wish to destroy Israel to come and address Jewish audiences – and make no mistake about it, BDS is only about destroying Israel – would be the equivalent of the ANC inviting white bigots to argue that apartheid should be reinstated. I am all for inviting Israel’s opponents to open, rules-based debates, where they are forced to rationally defend their positions in the marketplace of ideas, and indeed, our organization, This World: The Values Network, will be sponsoring debates along these lines across the United States, beginning at Columbia University on 31 March. I believe strongly in freedom of speech and fair and intelligent exchange. And if it’s a credible opponent but who has the intention of obliterating your very home it can only be a debate format and on neutral ground. But what fool would allow poisonous, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic propaganda offered to impressionable Jewish minds without a retort? To invite people who want to malign and defame Israel to address Jewish audiences is proof of the old adage that there is no hatred like Jewish self-hatred.

The latest example was Ramaz High School students in New York inviting Columbia Professor Rashid Khalidi to lecture to them. The New York Times reported that Khalidi had been suggested to the students by Peter Beinart and that did not surprise me. Peter, whom I was kind to and hosted several times 20 years ago at the University of Oxford, has become the Jewish legitimizer of BDS. Peter feels he can get away with joining the calls for boycotts against Israel because, he says, he only wants to boycott all goods from Judea and Samaria in the West Bank. Of course, this would destroy mainstream Israeli companies that provide jobs for thousands of Israelis and Palestinians like Soda Stream, Ahava cosmetics, and even Victoria’s Secret, to name but a few. Peter claims to be a Zionist but by being not just in league but a leader of those seeking to destroy Israel economically he is clearly pushing the term to its absolute limit.

My reward for my friendship to Peter was his column last summer where he libeled me with the nauseating and revolting claim that my stances on the Israeli-Arab conflict “borders on racism”. Personal insults and name-calling are what often passed for journalism on Open Zion, and it’s not surprising that The Daily Beast canceled it, though whether the cause was widespread disinterest or shoddy journalism was never made clear.

I immediately challenged Peter on Twitter and he took the cowardly route of blaming a low-level editor of inserting the racism charge, even though he was the editor-in-Chief of Open Zion and clearly the buck stopped with him. I have invited Peter into our 31 March debate and he has accepted.

Khalidi is a respected academic. But in the PBS documentary, “Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence,” he throws out a blood libel against Israel, accusing it of “killing children” and “old people.” He does not mention that Israel has lost thousands of civilians to Palestinian terror attack. He also makes the absurd claim that peace between Israel and the Palestinians will end the virulent anti-Semitism so often seen in the Islamic world. One can only surmise that Iran’s calls for the extermination of Israel and its holocaust denial will magically cease just as soon as Israel signs away Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Martin Solomon pointed out that in a 2006 appearance on PBS’s “NewsHour with Margaret Warner,” Khalidi claimed that neither Hezbollah nor Hamas is a “direct threat to the United States.” This was an astonishing claim given Hezbollah’s 1983 Beirut bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut which murdered 241 American marines. Khalidi seemed to believe that that U.S. peacekeeping forces, as an army of occupation, were fair game.

Of Khalidi’s book The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood,” New York Times columnist Clyde Haberman wrote, “When he talks about repressive Israeli measures having been ‘sometimes imposed on the pretext of security,’ critics are bound to ask: What pretext? How many suicide bombings of cafes and pizza shops does it take before a country has a right to end them by any method that seems to work?”

But while Khalidi’s opposition to Israel is not appropriate for High School students, it is perfectly appropriate for our Columbia University debate, to which I publicly invited him and where I can assure him he will be treated with the respect and courtesy he deserves.

South African U. Suspends Students Who Broke up Concert by Israeli

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

The University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg has given a suspended sentence of a one-year ouster to 11 students charged with disrupting a concert last march by Israeli-born pianist Yosef Reshef on the university campus.

The students and other Muslims and BDS extremists broke into the auditorium and forced the cancellation of a performance the world-renowned Reshef before a full house.

Ten students were found guilty of misconduct for disrupting or inciting others to disrupt the piano recital. The order to exclude them from the university was suspended on condition that the students are not found guilty of any other form of misconduct for a period of two years.

They also will not be allowed to hold any office in any student governance structure for a period of one year and will each have to perform 80 hours of community service. One student  was found guilty of not obeying a lawful instruction issued by a University employee, and will be required to perform an additional 50 hours of community service for this offence.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Israel Law Center (Shurat HaDin) commented, “This is a small but important victory over the BDS extremist in South Africa. Hopefully, it will deter future violent protests that attempt to bar Jewish artists from performing there.”

Nelson Mandela Friendly to Jews But Not to Israel

Friday, December 13th, 2013

The Israeli Left, which is chareidi extremist in its worship of all Leftist projects and issues has been bombarding the media, which they actually run, with what they call the disgraceful lack of “a senior delegation” to “Memorial Ceremony” or whatever has been going on is South Africa.

On Thursday evening, Channel 10′s Or Heller, reporting from Johannesburg, expressed disappointment “as an Israeli” that neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor President Shimon Peres would be attending Tuesday’s memorial service for Nelson Mandela or Sunday’s funeral.He also stressed that the South African Jewish community was angry and ashamed that only a second-tier delegation (Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and MKs Pnina Tamano-Shata, Dov Lipman, Nitzan Horowitz, Gila Gamliel and Hilik Bar) would be representing Israel at the events. Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom

Actually, Israel did send an impressive delegation, but it didn’t include Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Considering Mandela’s anti-Israel policies and statements, there was no reason for Netanyahu to go.  The media has been parading various Jews who had very good personal relationships with Mandela, but that didn’t make Mandela a friend of the State of Israel.

Mandela was very old; he was of my father’s generation, born just a year before him.  Mandela’s contacts with the Arabs were from very early on.  Mandela was obviously an intelligent man, and I found via professor google a very interesting public letter he had written to Thomas Friedman:

Perhaps it is strange for you to observe the situation in Palestine or more specifically, the structure of political and cultural relationships between Palestinians and Israelis, as an Apartheid system. This is because you incorrectly think that the problem of Palestine began in 1967. This was demonstrated in your recent column “Bush’s First Memo” in the New York Times on March 27, 2001.

You seem to be surprised to hear that there are still problems of 1948 to be solved, the most important component of which is the right to return of Palestinian refugees. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not just an issue of military occupation and Israel is not a country that was established “normally” and happened to occupy another country in 1967. Palestinians are not struggling for a “state” but for freedom, liberation and equality, just like we were struggling for freedom in South Africa.

In the letter to Friedman, he wrote that he didn’t see the Arabs as demanding a state. I have no doubt that was the case fifty years ago, before the Left, international and Israeli, convinced the Arabs here that they are “Palestinian” and needed their own state Mandela brings up one of the points which I use to prove that Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six Days War and the land we thereby liberated is not the cause of the “problem” between us and the Arabs.

This so-called “Palestinian nation” is something very new, and it doesn’t have a long history. It was invented by those who wanted to delegitimize Israel.  And unfortunately the “cause” has been adopted even by Israelis who refuse to see that such a  state would cause the destruction of the State of Israel, God forbid.

Visit Shiloh Musings.

The Day Mandela Went to Shul and Preached against Aliyah

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

One of the first things that Nelson Mandela did after being elected president of South Africa in 1994 was visit a synagogue and preach against aliyah at Cape Town’s Green and Sea Point Hebrew Congregation on the Shabbat after his election.

Here is an excerpt from JTA’s report:

“The congregants heard Mandela make an appeal from the pulpit for Jewish expatriates to return to South Africa.

“Pointedly excluding aliyah by saying he understands the Jewish community’s commitment to Israel, Mandela said, ‘We want those who left (for other countries) because of insecurity to come back and to help us to build our country.’

“He added that those who do not return should contribute their money and skills to South Africa.

“Mandela thanked the Jewish community for its contribution toward the development of South Africa and assured Jews they have nothing to fear from a government of national unity.

“He said he felt an affinity with the Jewish community, since it was a Jewish firm that gave him an apprenticeship in the early days of his law career, when discrimination was rife.

“He also said that he had befriended his Jewish defense counsel during the treason trial which led to his imprisonment in the 1950s and that he was still in contact with the lawyer.

“He stated that he recognizes the right to existence of the State of Israel, along with the right of Palestinians to live in their own homeland.

“He noted that he considered it significant that Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat last week signed an agreement in Cairo implementing Palestinian self-rule — the same week that South Africa elected its new leadership.

“At the reception following the service, some of the younger members of the congregation raised clenched fists in solidarity with the ANC, while the shul choir led in the singing of the country’s new national anthem, “Nkosi Sikelel’ IAfrika.”

Mandela often said Israel should be a “secure“ state, but on the other hand, his citing the Palestinian-Israel conflict as dating back to 1948 clearing showed his definition of “secure” as twisted.

He wrote Thomas Friedman of The New York Times in 1991, “You incorrectly think that the problem of Palestine began in 1967…. You seem to be surprised to hear that there are still problems of 1948 to be solved, the most important component of which is the right to return of Palestinian refugees. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not just an issue of military occupation and Israel is not a country that was established ‘normally’ and happened to occupy another country in 1967.

“Palestinians are not struggling for a ‘state’ but for freedom, liberation and equality, just like we were struggling for freedom in South Africa.”

Arabs in Judea and Samaria, who did not refer themselves as “Palestinians,” never ”struggled” for freedom under the Ottoman Empire, under the British Mandate and under the Jordanian occupation.

It was only when Jews re-established the modern State of Israel that they “struggled,” not for freedom but rather for the annihilation of Israel.

That explains how Mandela, more blind than the blindest American Secretary of State, could proclaim that Iran had no aggressive aims towards Israel. “We are indebted to the Islamic Revolution,” he one said while laying a wreath at the grave of the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose idea of freedom meant a world free of Israel.

Mandela not only called Israel an “apartheid state” but also asserted that the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was not a terrorist group.

He publicly supported violence against Israel during a visit to Yasser Arafat in Gaza in 1999, when he declared. “All men and women with vision choose peace rather than confrontation, except in cases where we cannot proceed, where we cannot move forward. Then if the only alternative is violence, we will use violence.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/archives-the-day-mandela-went-to-shul-and-preached-against-aliyah/2013/12/10/

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