If this was a family occasion I would begin with a greeting. “It is indeed a pleasure”, I would say, “to welcome Israel and her representatives to the BDS-Bash.” I would add further that this event just hasn’t been the same without them and that now that they are here, I feel like we can finally get this function started.
South Africa is ground zero for the Israel -Apartheid myth. As surprising as it is that the people who suffered under this racist system would allow a hijacking of their own history, the BDS has successfully managed to convince some South Africans of the validity of this fallacy. The BDS has further managed to manoeuvre itself into government circles, unbothered by the disrepute they bring to their host country and to the government they manipulate. A government that given its reputation, can hardly afford any further negativity.
One such example was the welcoming of terrorist Leila Khalid to South Africa by the Minister of Home Affairs some months ago. Whereas this was no doubt considered to be a success for BDS, it was a lot less of an achievement for the Minister, whose department is shambolic at best. The South African populace was unimpressed by the gesture of the Minister going to the airport to meet a person who continued to espouse violence and murder, when it was thought that there were better things for him to do with his time. Like trying to get his own messy house in order.
The South African BDS strategy has been predictable. They have fought on various fronts and although they have blundered repeatedly, they have had some success. One of the earlier approaches was to find Jews to parade as their own. This was to “prove” that they are not anti Semitic and to show the world that they represent all groups including the Jewish people themselves. This “Get Out of Jail Free card” would be used to counter the somewhat unfortunate incident at Wits University when they were caught chanting, “ Kill the Jew!” Clearly an awkward moment for their Jewish supporters.
They manoeuvred themselves into COSAS (Congress of South African Students), an organisation formed in the 1970s with the express aim of fighting the appalling conditions that existed in a racially divided educational system, but left them well alone when the COSAS embarrassingly placed a pig’s head in the Halaal section of Woolworths, thinking it was the kosher section (not the brightest moment). It also became somewhat of a challenge to explain why insulting the countries Jews was a legitimate protest for the actions of a government of country 11000Km away. COSAS, it would seem, had outlived its use, and so the BDS moved on.
Its approach has been one of trial and error. Haphazard at times, buffoonish at others, with only one aspect consistent. And that is their silence and their disinterest in any real humanitarian cause.
When Kenyan students, brothers and sisters on their own continent, are slaughtered for not being Moslem, when the Syrian die by the hundred of thousands, a crisis that is a blemish on humanity, when gay people are persecuted and hanged, when Christians are prohibited from the practice of their faith, when woman are traded and sold as property, when girls are stolen and turned into suicide bombers because it is the only way out of the hell that they are subjected to, and when Muslims are being murdered in areas where their nuance of worship might differ slightly, and when the BDS remains silent, then indeed there is not much more to be said. They are not a humanitarian organisation, they are a racist one.
And yet, they have made an impact. While Israel was fighting for its life and for the life of its citizens, and by extension for Jews around the world, the BDS was hard at work undermining, manipulating and doing what it was born to do. It infiltrated the soul of this government and won the hearts of those who are not vigilant. Until now.
If this was a family function I would end my “Welcome” with a prayer. I would ask God for the continued protection of Israel and her people. I would ask Him open the eyes of the citizens of this country and the world so that they might see what is true and good, and I would ask Him to keep an eye out for those who are persecuted and violated and who are not blessed to have the support that we as Jews of the Diaspora have.