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Jews must send clear message to extremists

  • 2a-Mary Kluk tightcrop
This past week has been dominated by the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris and their aftermath, in which17 people were murdered in two separate attacks, at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine and a kosher supermarket. The first atrocity was provoked by anger over a cartoon lampooning Islam; the second was motivated solely by the fact that the targets were Jews.
by MARY KLUK | Jan 14, 2015

On Sunday, dozens of world leaders joined over two million French citizens in a solidarity rally against terrorism and in memory of its latest victims.

The Paris attacks were just one instance of  terrorist acts carried out by Islamic extremists in recent weeks. The worst of these occurred at the same time, with the massacre of a reported 2 000 people by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Horrific incidents have likewise taken place in Pakistan, Australia, Yemen, Iraq and Syria, and that list is by no means complete.

It was precisely at this time that the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions movement - BDS - announced that it would be bringing notorious plane hijacker Leila Khaled to South Africa as its guest next month.

Khaled is also closely associated with the PFLP, which most recently proudly claimed credit for the murder of four rabbis in a Jerusalem synagogue and the Druze policeman who tried to help them. BDS, far from playing down Khaled’s terrorist background, made it a selling point. Among other things, its pre-publicity material features a prominent image of Khaled holding an AK-47 assault rifle.

In our media release issued on Monday, we said how appalled we were that any organisation, especially one purporting to be a human rights movement, intended bringing a known perpetrator of terrorism to this country. Terrorism was a crime against humanity and a threat to world peace, regardless of whether it was carried out for political, religious or any other reasons.

By depicting Leila Khaled as a heroic figure to be looked up to, BDS-SA had chosen to send out the worst possible message at a time when our country needed to stand with the global community in confronting the scourge of terrorism.

The full media release, along with other items relating to the Paris attacks and the Board’s response, can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/SAJBD

In common with other Diaspora countries, South Africa experienced a sharp rise in anti-Semitic activity in 2014 as a result of the war against Hamas in Gaza. What is nevertheless remarkable is that none of the incidents recorded during this time involved acts of violence, whether against Jewish persons or their property.

However, we know too well how quickly that situation can change. The greatest danger posed by the kind of inflammatory tactics resorted to by BDS-SA is that eventually it will provoke a cross-over from mere verbal and written abuse to physical attacks on the Jewish community.

This is why all South Africans, particularly in these fraught and dangerous times, need to send a clear message to extremists of this ilk that they want nothing to do with their destructive, hate-filled agenda.

 

  • Listen to Charisse Zeifert on Jewish Board Talk, 101.9 ChaiFM every Friday 12:00-13:00.

 

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