Story-ideas-1011172

‘Palestine Week’ caught Johannesburg Jewry by surprise

  • PSW - Home
SA Jewry reeling in the midst of a City of Johannesburg-declared “Palestine Solidarity Week” with BDS & some Wits SRC members. The Wits link is under investigation and Johannesburg is now formally twinned with Ramallah. Arguably the most high-powered Palestinian delegation ever to visit SA held a week of anti-Israeli activities and the inclusion of a rabid Holocaust denier as their guest speaker. SAJR Online has the whole story for users, with links to everything in-depth. Somehow, this slipped through our communal guardians' radar...
by ANT KATZ | Mar 25, 2015

SA Jewry is reeling after finding themselves in the midst of a City of Johannesburg-declared “Palestine Solidarity Week” - including a formal twinning of the city with Ramallah, hosting what is arguably the most high-powered Palestinian delegation ever to visit SA, holding a week of anti-Israeli activities and the inclusion of a rabid Holocaust denier as their guest speaker.

PSW TauWits and its SRC have also become embroiled in their support for “Palestine Solidarity Week” (PSW), which comes in the wake of last week’s UCT incident where students hung Hitler posters and swastikas on a statue of Cecil John Rhodes, so that “Jews could understand” their struggle.


RIGHT: City of Johannesburg Executive Mayor Parks Tau

Open letters have been published, addressed to Wits Vice-Chancellor Prof Adam Habib and Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau, among others, by the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, Jewish Report’s board chairman, SAUJS, and members of the Wits SRC who opposed the support.

The City of Johannesburg passed a resolution in January to twin the city with Ramallah. Johannesburg then decided to “use this year’s commemoration of Human Rights Day to draw attention to the Palestinian question”, according to their website.

The political delegation from Ramallah includes Mayor Musa Hadid; and Council Members Nadia Mari and Nijmeh Ganim.

At last Friday’s PSW event, a keynote address delivered by senior Abbas aide and Fatah’s executive deputy commissioner for international relations, Dr Husam Zomlot, took place at Wits. Zomlot is infamous for having said in a BBC interview: “Israel 'fabricated' the beheading of James Foley, [and] the Holocaust”.

PSW - mayor in Ramallah


LEFT: Senior city officials being entertained in Ramallah last year. The mayor is in the centre back of the picture


With “Palestine Solidarity Week” having largely slipped under the radar of the Jewish community guardians, the matter was first raised in public by Gauteng Board Chairman Shaun Zagnoev in an open letter to Tau. “We note that you will be hosting a `Palestine Solidarity Week’ this week and want to voice our distress that you have elected to partner in this with BDS SA, a group that has been responsible for creating a climate of hate against Johannesburg and South African Jewry.”

On March 18, Howard Feldman, chairman of the board of Jewish Report, published “an open letter to Professor Adam Habib” in which he tells Habib: “Your office sent out a notification to all students that next week is Palestinian Week… and in celebration thereof you have invited a guest from Ramallah to speak at the university.”

PSW - HomeThe guest, he pointed out, was Holocaust denialist Dr Zomlot. “Seriously?” asked Feldman, reminding Habib: “Let’s not forget this is the incubator for the infamous ‘Shoot the Jew’ war-cry.”

Habib replied in an open letter on Friday March 20, saying he had always ensured that students of all faiths were provided with a “safe space in which to develop their thoughts and discussions”.

He also dissociated his office with the events of PSW, saying it was an SRC initiative.

Yet, Jamaine Mithi, head of a five-person faction representing 40 per cent of the Wits SRC called Project-W, this week publicly opposed any unified SRC support of PSW.

Mithi told Jewish Report: “The Wits SRC is not a political promotion tool for the mayor.”

Meanwhile SAUJS National Chairman Natan Pollack issued a statement on “the many concerns of our members” regarding Wits’ involvement with Palestine Solidarity Week.

“While SAUJS fully supports the freedom of expression and political association integral to the university’s ethos, we are also committed to equity of representation.”

He continued: “We request the SRC to invite an Israeli speaker; to share their story, and let our students decide for themselves. If you want to ‘give Witsies the edge’, give them the whole picture.”


Related in-depth reading on the week's events:


Holocaust denier: ISRAEL 'FABRICATED' BEHEADING OF FOLEY, HOLOCAUST See him telling this to the BBC. See the Wits poster billing his speech. Little wonder local Jewry have been upset that Dr Husam Zomlot has been the keynote speaker at many events


PDF on SAJR Online:
CITY’S COMPREHENSIVE PLANS FOR SOLIDARITY WEEK
See all the elaborate arrangements and planning that went into the event

PDF on SAJR Online: PROJECT-W COMPLAINT ON SRC TO PROF HABIB
The document submitted to Prof Habib that led the VC to immediately establish an urgent and in-depth enquiry this week. SAJR Online will get the outcome as soon as it is established, but sources have suggested the SRC has been using its funds to support BDS and IAW

Jhannesburg website: CITY HOSTS HIGH-POWERED PALESTINIAN DELEGATION
The event has been proudly highlighted as the feature event on the City’s website, check it out.

SAUJS’ chairman comments: SAUJS ON WITS’ SUPPORT FOR 'SOLIDARITY WEEK'
Natan expresses SAUJS’ disappointment and raises some very relevant questions

JR chairman writes: FELDMAN'S 0PEN LETTER TO PROF ADAM HABIB
Open letter to VC hammered Wits for aligning themselves with the City of Johannesburg and BDS’ "Palestinian Solidarity Week" and allowing Holocaust denier to speak on campus

VC gives as good as he got: PROF HABIB'S RESPONSE TO FELDMAN'S LETTER
Habib responded with his own Open Letter to Feldman who wondered if Wits had lost its way

40% of SRC not happy: PROJECT-W DISTANCES ITSELF FROM WITS SRC
Five-person Project-W faction on SRC also share concern with Habib who immediately institutes an inquiry into serious claims, including that SRC funds are being used to support BDS and IAW - as was the case at Rhodes some years back


Join the conversation, post your thoughts below

3 Comments

  1. 3 nat cheiman 25 Mar

    Habib is ...


    Content removed due to either being: (i) Unsavoury; and/or (ii) Illegal (hate-speech, slander, etc.); and/or (iii) Islamophobia; and/or SAJR has no substantiation for what are stated as “facts.”

    Feel free to post a more parev version, or send concrete evidence of your stated facts to [email protected] and we will consider reinstating comment.


     

  2. 2 Miggo Wagga 31 Mar
    The clouds are gathering over the Jews of South Africa.  If the Jews want to stay in South Africa, they will need to arm themselves and develop strong partnerships with other endangered communities such as Afrikaners and black foreigners.  The ANC and its allied organizations are very cozy with anti-Jewish hate groups, and are getting cozier and cozier with them.  Jews need to reach out to all opposition parties and that includes the EFF despite its anti-Israel bias, because it's worth it to try convince them.  Make no mistake about it, the ANC is dangerous.
  3. 1 Russell Fig 09 Apr
    Miggo Wagga don't you think that there are Jews in the ANC will cause the organization to not act against the Jewish Community. People shoud remember that the Jewish Community played a role in the anti Apartheid Movement so that counts for somhing or shoud count anyway.

Comment

  1. RadEditor - HTML WYSIWYG Editor. MS Word-like content editing experience thanks to a rich set of formatting tools, dropdowns, dialogs, system modules and built-in spell-check.
    RadEditor's components - toolbar, content area, modes and modules
       
    Toolbar's wrapper 
     
    Content area wrapper
    RadEditor's bottom area: Design, Html and Preview modes, Statistics module and resize handle.
    It contains RadEditor's Modes/views (HTML, Design and Preview), Statistics and Resizer
    Editor Mode buttonsStatistics moduleEditor resizer
      
    RadEditor's Modules - special tools used to provide extra information such as Tag Inspector, Real Time HTML Viewer, Tag Properties and other.
       
 

Follow us on

Newsletter