The SA Zionist Federation (SAZF) condemns yet another case of intimidation and disruption of a Jewish-organised event by BDS supporters and its affiliates, in this case, the UCT Palestine Solidarity Forum (PSF) and SA Jews for a Just Palestine. The PSF attempted to disrupt Israel’s Independence Day celebrations last night by blockading the entrances to the theatre forcing children and the elderly to climb over dustbins and obstacles to enter the building, and following this, they attempted to break down the door to the theatre. BDS has repeatedly attempted to silence Jewish communal organisations and any views that differ from their own.
An example of BDS supporters attempting to prevent another Jewish-held Israel celebration ceremony at Gold Reef City theatre saw them disrupting a concert by phoning in bomb threats, releasing “stink-bombs” and jumping onto the stage in an attempt to stop the performance. At another incident at Wits University, BDS activists were prevented from entering The Great Hall by Wits security where an Israeli Jazz quartet was playing. The protesters instead chanted Dubula I’Juda “shoot the Jew”. At this year’s so-called “Israel Apartheid Week” on UCT campus, BDS supporters destroyed literature and posters put out by the SA Union of Jewish Students as well as verbally insulting and threatening Jewish students.
Furthermore, anti-Israel supporters attempted to disrupt a piano recital by a Jewish maestro, Yossi Reshef at Wits University. During his recital the BDS swore at audience members and tried to prevent them from entering the venue. They eventually broke in forcing the recital to end (this resulted in a disciplinary process and action against the BDS members. This attempt by the PSF member, Abdallah Grifat to break down the door of the Baxter Complex, was reminiscent of the forced entry at this concert at Wits University.
The modus operandi of the BDS movement is clear: Under the guise of “peaceful protest” they try to disrupt the function, and when they are prevented from doing-so, they cry foul. This is exactly what happened at the Baxter theatre last night, Monday 1st May 2017.
The SAZF recognises everyone’s rights to a peaceful protest, it also insists on having equal rights of freedom of expression and freedom of association. To this end we will continue to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day as per our constitutional rights. The behaviour of the UCT Palestine Solidarity Forum and their ilk yesterday evening was a clear infringement of this right. We call on all South Africans to condemn this kind of thuggery.