web analytics
June 29, 2015 / 12 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘South Africa’

Source: Stevie Wonder to Cancel Friends of IDF Gig

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Stevie Wonder is set to pull out of a performance at a fundraiser for the Israel Defense Forces,  a source told JTA.

Wonder’s representatives will claim that he did not know the nature of the group, the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, and that he believes such a performance would be incongruent with his status as a U.N. “Messenger of Peace,” according to a source who has read email exchanges between Wonder’s representatives and organizers of the event.

Wonder was scheduled to headline the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces annual gala in Los Angeles on Dec. 6. The event raises millions of dollars annually to support the Israeli military.

An official of Friends of the IDF, reached at its Los Angeles office, had no comment. Wonder’s agent at Creative Artists Agency did not return a request for comment.

The spokesman for the U.N. Secretary General also had no comment on the matter.

The United Nations does not impose restrictions on its goodwill representatives. Wonder most recently performed at a U.N. concert commemoratiing its 67th anniversary. Elie Wiesel, the Nobele Peace Laureate and Holocaust memoirist who is also a staunch defender of Israel is also a U.N. Messenger of Peace.

Wonder had come under intense social media pressure to pull out of the event. An online petition calling on him to cancel his performance had garnered more than 3,600 signatures.

The petition was launched more than a day ago on the change.org website.

“You were arrested in 1985 protesting South African Apartheid, now we ask you: please remember that apartheid is apartheid, whether it comes from White Afrikaaner settlers of South Africa or from Jewish Israelis in Israel,” the petition reads. “Desmond Tutu has recognized that Israel’s Apartheid is worse than South Africa’s — will you stand with us against apartheid and cancel your performance at the IDF fundraiser.”

A second petition, launched by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, calls on Wonder to “(p)lease continue your legacy of speaking out for the oppressed. Please be a ‘full-time lover’ of justice by standing on the right side of history and canceling your performance for the Israeli army.”

Wonder performed at a 1998 gala honoring Israel’s 50th anniversary.

UC Irvine Students Vote for ‘Israel Divestment’ But Have No Investments to Divest

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Late last night, November 13, there was a unanimous vote at a California school for divestment from certain companies that do business with Israel.  Unanimous, 16 -0.

There are, however, several points militating against an uptick in alarm.

For one thing, the school at which this took place was the University of California at Irvine.  Yes, the school that allowed students to repeatedly disrupt Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, in 2010.  Eleven of those hooligans were charged and convicted of conspiracy and disrupting a public meeting.  Those convictions were obtained despite the efforts of many UCIrvine faculty members, including a large number of  Jewish Studies department faculty.

But more importantly, the vote was taken by the UC Irvine Student Government, which, in all likelihood, does not have any investments in the targeted companies, or any other companies, for that matter.

The student government also called on the UC Irvine administration to divest from the named companies, but a student group’s call on its university to take the students’ investment advice is not exactly like money in (or, in this case, out of) the bank.

While the vote was really the equivalent of a small group of children shouting at those acting in loco parentis to take its investment advice, last night’s effort by anti-Israel student leadership at UCI is noteworthy for a small shift in tactic.

Although the Resolution repeatedly compared Israeli activity to Apartheid South Africa, the student government Resolution only sought divestment from those companies it deemed to provide support for the Security Fence, the demolition of “Palestinian” homes, and the building or maintenance of  the “illegal Israeli settlements” on “occupied Palestinian territory.”  In the past, calls for divestment from Israel typically called for divestment from any company doing business in Israel, which was the South Africa Apartheid divestment model.

The nitty gritty details, that is, that it was a student group that voted to divest its own (non-existent) financial holdings from certain companies – and was not the vote by a university to divest its holdings from companies doing business in Israel – was completely lost on most other media reporting on the vote.  Professional Israel haters such as Ali Abunimeh and Noam Chomsky were quick to add their support, as were Muslim Student Associations and other anti-Israel groups across the country.  To see the misguided glee, check on twitter #IrvineDivest.

The Resolution, which was introduced by Sabreen Shalabi, and seconded by Shadi Jafari, follows:

 

Item Number: 16 Legislation Number (B: Bill, R: Resolution): R48-15
Synopsis: Divestment from Companies that Profit from Apartheid
Date of Presentation: November 13, 2012
 Divestment from Companies that Profit from ApartheidWHEREAS, it is UC Irvine’s duty to maintain the values of “respect, intellectual curiosity, integrity, commitment, and empathy” which includes the promotion of human rights, equality, and dignity for all people without distinction;WHEREAS, it is the mission of the UCI Foundation to “ensure the appropriate use of all funds” in order to uphold the values of respect, intellectual curiosity, integrity, commitment appreciation, and empathy;WHEREAS, students have a legacy of standing against oppression and injustice at UC Irvine and across the U.S.;WHEREAS, the role of student activists in exposing South Africa’s apartheid system and  supporting equality, freedom, and dignity sets an example for us to follow as students of global conscience;WHEREAS, as the example of South Africa shows, it is imperative for students to stand unequivocally against all forms of racism and bigotry globally and on campus, including but not limited to Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, patriarchy, and Israel’s system of apartheid;WHEREAS, the occupied Palestinian Territory is controlled militarily by the Israeli government;WHEREAS, certain companies have promoted and been complicit in these ongoing human rights violations systematically committed by the Israeli government, which have been documented by human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Al-Haq, Defense for Children International, Addameer, B’tselem, Adalah, Badil, and the Israeli Coalition Against Home Demolitions;WHEREAS, according to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), “the construction by Israel of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and its associated régime are contrary to international law”;WHEREAS, according to the same ICJ decision, the establishment and expansion of settlements in the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem is also illegal by international law;

Israel Beats Spain, One Win Away from Qualifying for World Baseball Classic

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

First baseman Nate Freiman hit two home runs as Israel beat Spain 4-2 in the qualifying round of World Baseball Classic, putting the Israeli team one win away from a guaranteed spot in the tournament in March.

Nate Freiman, a standout first baseman for the San Diego Padres’ Class AA San Antonio Missions, matched his home run output from Thursday’s 7-3 victory over South Africa, accounting for Israel’s 4 RBIs on Friday afternoon.

In the modified double-elimination format, Spain will play the winner of Friday night’s matchup between France and South Africa on Saturday. Israel will face off against the winner of that game in Sunday’s championship game.

Israel Denounces South African Decision to mandate special labels on products from Judea and Samaria

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Following the South African government’s decision to require special labeling of all products coming from Judea and Samaria in Israel, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has issued a strong condemnation of the action.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon stated that “Unfortunately, the changes we have witnessed in South Africa in recent years have failed to truly modify trends in the state, and it has remained an apartheid state. South Africa’s apartheid policy is currently targeting the State of Israel and the miners of South Africa itself. Instead of adopting a decision about Israeli products, the South African Government should have adopted brave resolutions regarding the thirty four innocent miners whose only desire was to improve their work conditions.

Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon was relating in his statement to the 34 South African miners who were killed by SA police during a miner’s protest at the Lonmin mine a few days ago.

The South African ambassador to Israel will be summoned today (Thursday) by the Israeli Foreign Ministry which is demanding clarifications about his government’s decision.

Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini Accepts Israeli Invitation, Defying South Africa’s Policy

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Earlier this week, King Goodwill Zwelithini of Zulu accepted the invitation from Israel’s ambassador to South Africa, Dov Segev-Steinberg, to visit Israel early next year, according to the Israeli embassy in Pretoria, despite his government discouraging such visits.

An embassy statement said the king “vowed to use his official visit to explore ways to intensify the co-operation between South Africa and Israel, and especially between the Zulu people and the Israeli people.”

The Zulu are South Africa’s largest ethnic group, with an estimated population of more than 10 million.

The announcement came a day after the South African government reiterated its policy of discouraging its citizens from visiting Israel to protest Jerusalem’s treatment of the Palestinians. The government also announced earlier this year that products originating from Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria would be labeled as from the occupied territories instead of Israel.

“The decision is left to the individual or the organization that is invited to visit Israel,” said South Africa’s deputy minister of international relations, Ebrahim Ebrahim, at a news conference Tuesday. “There has been a policy of discouraging because we believe Israel is an occupying power and is doing all sorts of things in the Palestine-occupied territory which has been condemned by the entire international community.”

Zwelithini was installed as the eighth Monarch of the Zulus on December 3, 1971, and since then has been defying South Africa’s rulers, white and then black.

According to an official South African government website, in 1991 Zwelithini accused the African National Congress (ANC) of fostering anti-Zulu feelings. During the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) Zwelithini’s status became a point of bitter contention between Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi, founder of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and other delegates, over the king’s future. Buthelezi walked out of that convention in protest of a lack of clarity on the need to unseat the king and his six wives (and 27 children).

In July, 1992, Nelson Mandela assured Zwelithini that his status was secure under the new government.

Zwelithini’s finances are controlled by the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial authorities and his lavish lifestyle and the future of the Zulu royal house has been a matter of much debate – according to the government-run website.

Zwelithini, who has been to Israel before, will look into “new possibilities to cooperate with Israel in the fields of health, agriculture and education amongst other areas of interest for the benefit of the Zulu people,” the embassy statement said.

Segev-Steinberg told the South African website MyShetl that the king’s commitment to visit is “a sign that Israel still has good friends in this country, friends who are happy and willing to share experiences and ensure love and respect for Israel.”

JTA content was used in this report.

Ze’ev Jabotinsky: Civil Rights Champion

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

The popular image of the Jews who took part in battles for black civil rights is of liberal activists and idealistic college students. Yet several important early civil rights efforts in the United States and South Africa were undertaken by officers of the Irgun Zvai Leumi, the Jewish underground militia in British Mandatory Palestine.

Last week’s 70th anniversary of the passing of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, founder of Revisionist Zionism and the Irgun, is an occasion to reflect on Jabotinsky’s little-known legacy of anti-racism.

Jabotinsky was arguably was the most controversial Zionist leader of his era. He was dismissed as an alarmist when he predicted European Jews would be engulfed by anti-Semitism. Socialist Zionists bristled at his preference for free market economics over Marxism. Because he promoted weapons training, he was denounced as a militarist. And because he believed the Arabs would never accept a Jewish state, he was branded a racist.

Those familiar with Jabotinsky’s writings knew those labels did not do him justice. He envisioned a Jewish state that would have a large Arab minority alongside its Jewish majority. Arabs would have full civil, political, and cultural rights, including representation in parliament, and both Arabic and Hebrew would be official languages. Moreover, he argued that if there was a Jewish prime minister, there should be a deputy Arab prime minister (and vice versa).

Jabotinsky also had more than a passing interest in the question of American race relations. Following a wave of race riots that erupted in the U.S. after black boxer Jack Johnson defeated his white opponent in 1910, Jabotinsky wrote (in the Russian periodical Odesskie Novosti): “In the United States, the most free republic on earth, there are ten million citizens suffering a shocking lack of rights simply because of the color of their skin.… The political rights of the ‘free and equal’ black citizen are non-existent.”

Ten years later, on a visit to the U.S., Jabotinsky witnessed a Ku Klux Klan march in Texas. It reinforced his disgust at racism in America. In a letter to a friend at the time, he wrote that both Jews and blacks in the U.S. would soon find it necessary to physically defend themselves against their enemies. So perhaps it should be not be surprising that officers of the Irgun stood up for black civil rights.

In early 1940, Jabotinsky sent a number of young Irgun officers from Europe and Palestine to the United States to mobilize American support for the rescue of Jewish refugees and creation of a Jewish state. Led by Hillel Kook, using the pseudonym Peter Bergson, they organized rallies, sponsored newspaper ads, lobbied in Washington and, in 1946, staged a Broadway play to rouse support for Zionism.

The play, called “A Flag is Born,” served a surprising role in the fight against racial segregation. Starring a young Marlon Brando, “Flag” had a successful 10-week run at Manhattan’s Alvin Theater (today the Neil Simon Theater) and then hit the road. A planned performance at the National Theater in Washington, D.C. in early 1947 was relocated to Baltimore’s Maryland Theater because the play’s author, Ben Hecht, would not permit his works to be staged at theaters, such as the National, that barred blacks.

When Hecht discovered that the Maryland Theater restricted blacks to the balcony, Bergson’s group and the NAACP teamed up to protest: The NAACP threatened to picket and a Bergson official announced he would bring two black friends to sit with him at the play. The management gave in, allowing black patrons to sit wherever they chose. NAACP leaders hailed the “tradition-shattering victory” and used it facilitate the desegregation of other Baltimore theaters.

“I am proud,” Hecht declared in a statement afterward, “that my play has been the instrument to break down one of the most un-American and undemocratic practices that has disgraced our country.”

Meanwhile, Jabotinsky’s followers took an interest in the fight against racism in South Africa as well. Former Irgun commander Menachem Begin, leader of the opposition Herut Party, paid his first visit to South Africa in the autumn of 1953. Hertzel Katz, an Israeli attorney who was a leader of the local branch of the Revisionist youth movement Betar, recalls that Begin’s hosts arranged for a rickshaw, the customary form of local transportation, to take him to a speaking engagement.

Before The Deluge: Kenya-Uganda (British East Africa)

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

The stories in this column are translations by Mr. Nollet from Die Juden In Der Welt (The Jews in the World) by Mark Wischnitzer, a long out-of-print book published more than seven decades ago in Germany. The book examines Jewish communities, one country at a time, as they existed in 1935 – a time before the Nazis began their extermination campaign against the Jews and before there was a state of Israel.

Kenya-Uganda (British East Africa)

In 1903, the English colonial minister offered a district for a Jewish settlement in Uganda to the Zionist leadership, whereby the English government brought to realization its efforts “to bring to pass the improvement of the Jewish race.” The 6th Zionist Congress (August 23-8, 1903) concerned itself with the English offer and decided to send an investigative commission to Uganda, but because of strong resistance inside the Zionist organization, the project was not followed up.

Later, individual Jews went to the two largest regions of the British East Africa zone, namely Kenya and Uganda. In Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, there is today, in 1935, a Jewish community of over 100 souls. Likewise there are Jews in the port city of Mombassa who are owners of great export companies. Since 1933 there has been an immigration of Jews from Germany to Kenya/Uganda. They have been warmly accepted as much in Nairobi and Mombassa as in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, and have been brought into various commercial enterprises.

Kenya is a land with rich soil, though with a tropical climate. In the districts, which at one time were offered to the Jews, the English have built huge farms, coffee plantations, which deliver a fine harvest. Coffee agriculture of course requires hefty investment. Wheat, barley, maize (corn), and hemp are also grown.

Belgian Congo

The Belgian Congo, which covers an area of about 2,382,000 sq. kilometers [Translator’s Note:  roughly 850,000 sq. miles] offers great economic advantages. It is rich in wood, India rubber, copper, and other minerals. It was originally an independent state, but has belonged since 1908 to Belgium. According to a census from 1923, 177 Jews live in the Belgian Congo. There is a Jewish community in Elisabethville.

Angola And South-West Africa (Namibia)

[For our purposes, the only thing worth mentioning about Angola is Wischnitzer’s report that something called “the Angola Project” surfaced early in the 20th century. The Jewish Territorial Organization was created after the Zionist Congress of 1903 and met with the Portuguese government, which sponsored an expedition to Angola in order to ascertain the possibilities of creating settlements. The expedition brought back so few results that the Portuguese Senate first cut their budget; then WWI broke out, and that ended the project.

[Concerning South-West Africa, only Wischnitzer’s first paragraph would interest us:] South-West Africa, a German colony since 1884, was taken over by the Union of South Africa as a mandate after the Versailles Peace Treaty [of 1919]. It consists of a Jewish community of recently vintage in the capital city of Windhook, with its own rabbinate. Jews also live singly, scattered throughout the land. The possibilities of Jewish immigration have been recently considered.

Rhodesia

The British Crown colonies of North and South Rhodesia lie between the Union of South Africa and the Belgian Congo and Tanganyika, and have Jewish settlements of recent vintage.

After Cecil Rhodes, from whom the colonies derive their name, a Jew from Hamburg named Alfred Breit traveled there, in order to open up economic possibilities. In 1931, out of a population of under 49,910 Whites, there lived 2,011 Jews, mainly in Bulawayo, in the capital of Salisbury, and in Gwelo. Individual Jewish pioneers had already been there previously. Some 426 Jews live in North Rhodesia. [Rhodesia is today’s Zimbabwe.] There is a Jewish community in Livingstone, the seat of the colonial administration.

South Rhodesia exports asbestos, chromium, gold, and corn; North Rhodesia, tobacco, copper, and wheat.

At the moment, economic prospects are restricted. According to reports, the outlook is that opportunities beckon for immigrants who are interested in operating factories that produce chemicals, drugs, food products, etc.

Immigration of Jews from Germany is on a slow track.

Union Of South Africa

Since 1910 the Union of South Africa has been a dominion in the British Empire, and consists of four provinces: the Cape of Good Hope, Natal, the Orange Free State, and Transvaal. On a surface of about 1,234,000 sq. kilometers [about 450,000 sq. miles] lives a population of about 8,251,000 souls, 2 million of whom are White.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/feautures-on-jewish-world/before-the-deluge-kenya-uganda-british-east-africa/2012/07/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: