Anti-Israel protests across South Africa, boycott pickets outside Woolworths stores selling Israeli goods, academic boycotts of Israeli universities, calls to deregister Jewish students at South African universities and an anti-Zionist attack on religious Jewish teenagers at a Johannesburg mall. The efforts to isolate Israel and those associated with it are growing in South Africa.
Why should we care about a conflict so far away in the Middle East and does South Africa have a role to play in resolving it?
While the struggle between Israelis and Palestinians continues, tensions between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli groups on South African soil are seemingly also rising.
The stand-off has most notably taken form between the Jewish Board of Deputies which represents many Jewish South Africans and, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS), a pro-Palestinian group lobbying for a boycott against Israel. The Jewish Board of Deputies warns that the increasing anti-Jewish hate speech at pro-Palestinian rallies and on university campuses points to a worrying trend and should not be left unchecked. BDS says the Jewish Board plays the anti-Semitism card as part of a propaganda drive in support of what they deem, the apartheid state of Israel.
Does South Africa have a role to play in finding a negotiated settlement between Israel and Palestine?
Alan Horwitz from Jewish Voices for a Just Peace, says: “As the situation in the Middle East becomes more radicalised, so too can we expect the situation in SA to become more radicalised.”
Watch “DIVIDED LAND” produced by Adél van Niekerk, broadcast on Special Assignment – Sundays on SABC 3 at 20h30PM. Repeated Wednesdays at 23h30PM.