Because this is Africa, a wild life metaphor is in order. The leopard it would seem, indeed doesn’t change its spots, and as the BDS South Africa stalks and hunts and tries to inflict the most damage possible, it is the African people and not Israel who has become the prey.
There is so much noise around the cancellation of the Mail & Guardian Conference on Water. BDS South Africa, with unrestrained glee, are joyously clapping their hands and celebrating a “victory” that might or might not be theirs. Others suggest that it had little to do with their intervention and that it was rather related to the entrance fee of USD50 per delegate. What is clear is that whilst the large hearted fellows of the BDS rejoice this happening, it is the those most affected by the drought and who are desperate to have the conference go ahead who will suffer. This is the story of BDS in a nutshell.
A quick recap. Amidst one of the worst droughts in Southern Africa’s living memory, a water conference was to be hosted by the Mail & Guardian Africa. On the list of delegates was Israel’s Ambassador to South Africa, Arthur Lenk. During his assignment to the country, Lenk has spent considerable effort in educating and assisting the region whenever possible.
As a result of Israel’s participation, as well as the entrance fee, another delegate Prof Lorenzo Fioramonti of the University of Pretoria withdrew his participation. And although the conference was still set to go ahead, it has subsequently been canned. Needless to say promises of rescheduling have been made, but there is little doubt that getting the whole program together on a new date.
Radio Islam in South Africa celebrated the announcement by interviewing a Prof Patrick Bond who stuck very closely to the hater’s handbook. Apparently what Israel has achieved with in this area can be done by any child and all the Israel has done is practice “Water Apartheid” and steal Palestinian water. That is hardly an achievement at all. He spoke with authority and played to his interviewer who had as much interest in the plight of the local Africans as did the Professor. His narrative dripped with hatred and the thin veneer of pretence of academic objectivity did little to mask his agenda. A lesson that the Prof might learn is that just by conceding something positive about Israel’s achievement, would have made the rest of his fiction more believable. He of course made no mention of desalination or the fact that Israeli cities recycle around 85% of their water. Nor did he mention any other achievement in Israel that has changed the ecology of the country for the better.
The fact that Southern Africa is experiencing one of the worst droughts in living memory, and that the situation is critical is not a concern for those who hate Israel. And this comes as no shock to those familiar with BDS standard operating procedure. What does, is the celebration and joy of the BDS at the cancellation of a conference designed for one purpose in might. To assist the suffering of the African people. And if that doesn’t send a message, then I don’t know what does.