It’s a big week in the world of masks. Not only do Jews around the world celebrate the festival of Purim, known for its “fancy-dress” but all around us, pantomimes requiring some to don them and some to drop them are being played out on a various stages that have come to reflect the theatre of the absurd.
In South Africa Israel Apartheid Week kicks off with all the required pretending it demands. The masks worn by the BDS have long slipped to reveal the anti Semitic heartbeat of an organisation that now hardly even bothers with the sham of pretence. It has tried to deny its soul and its real agenda, but now has fixed the mask so precariously to its extremities that one hardly wonders why it bothers at all. South Africa is ground zero for IAW and anti –Semites across the planet will no doubt focus and learn their ground-breaking lessons in racism.
The vitriol and the corresponding danger of the organisation is not new to South Africans who witnessed the BDS’s welcoming of the terrorist Leila Khalid to the country a few weeks ago. What followed her bizarre and almost laughable drivel (like the one when she told her audience that ISIS is a Zionist organisation) was a demand by the student at Durban University for Jews to deregister. Because talk, no matter how untrue, is damaging, when the target market is ill equipped to differentiate truth from fiction. Ill equipped to identify what is a mask and what is not.
There was an audible gasp when the mask “Jihadi John” was wearing was ripped from his face. For the first time since he began his bloody social media managed murdering frenzy, a name, a face, a family and a social context could add flesh to the thus far one dimensional image of the man. But Mohammed Emwazi was not what was “expected” and by the looks of reaction, not one that anyone had hoped for. Much more palatable would have been man with a violent childhood from a radical damaged family, so that we all could have nodded our heads and noted that it makes perfect sense.
And yet instead the he world seems genuinely perplexed. How a young man who was a “gentle” soul, from a middle class family (yes they still have those in the UK) with a tertiary education could become one of the most brutal and violent men of this generation. One who seems to rejoice in the pain and the brutality of his actions. And yet the answer is so glaringly obvious that writing it seems inane. Simply put, dangerous talk is dangerous. Lies are dangerous. Misinformation is dangerous. Racism and Anti Semitism on campuses and in Mosques and in the press is dangerous. It does damage. It does real damage with real consequences. It “radicalizes” and calls-to-arms. It creates a home for homeless emotions and for lost souls. It provides meaning, even if meaningless, and mostly it ultimately costs lives.
There is no shortage of examples of current dangerous rhetoric and the consequences that follow. The Australian community is dealing with this issue after a phrases such as “Where Jews live corruption abounds” and that “The embers of Jihad against Jews will continue to thrive” were made by the organisation Hitzb ut –Tahrir in Sydney. Is it any surprise that following this type of talk a year ago that the rise in anti Semitism and radicalism has reached levels that it has? Of course not. To suggest otherwise would be absurd.
And yet, this morning’s Cape Argus Newspaper, one of Cape Town’s most read papers leads with an article “The SA men in Islamic State”. So compelling is the article that was meant to uncover the story of South Africans who attempt to become part of the Islamic State, that anyone reading it is almost tempted by the attractiveness of it. “We just want to live under Islam…we don’t want to see evil.” I am deeply concerned as to the affect that an article such as that one will have.
As South African Jews confront the fires of anti Semitism fanned by the likes of the BDS, it would do the rest of the country well to keep an eye on this particular bonfire. The BDS might not seem like a national problem. Their dialogue might have little interest and its goals might seem irrelevant. But when radicalization occurs within a society and masks are donned in order to cover up truth and real agendas, it could well be the last person we suspect who hides beneath