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The Jewish Report Editorial

Yet another pro-Israel voice taken down

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I was hoping to steer clear of the anti-Israel lobby in South Africa this week and tackle something completely different. It is getting repetitive.
by PETA KROST MAUNDER | Jun 21, 2018

However, that sense is so often dangerous. Like crime in South Africa, the more it happens, the more we get lulled into a sense of complacency. In fact, so few crimes make it into the local media these days because our sense of horror has been dulled by how common it is.

In the case of the anti-Israel lobby, as one person vocalises any support for Israel – making even the most puerile of statements – they get brought down. Last week, we saw how City of Johannesburg Health and Social Development MMC Mpho Phalatse was suspended because of a massive outcry against the fact that she supported Israel.

This week, local personality and model Shashi Naidoo got death threats after calling Gaza “a sh*thole” on social media. While it sounds superficial and quite silly, her explanation was not inaccurate (even though she didn’t come up with it herself).

She didn’t even have time to polish up on her Middle East politics before the bottom fell out of her world, and she got more than 10 death threats. Why? Simple. She apparently took Israel’s side.

This woman did what so many people do, and didn’t think much before putting something on social media. In response, she had sponsorships cancelled, and people alienating her in the extreme.

Apologising, apparently, wasn’t enough. In fact, she was hauled over the coals for saying the wrong thing in her apology.

The end result is that this woman – sounding battered and bruised, with no place to turn – took what she apparently believed would be her saving grace. She turned to BDS – the very organisation that those who turned against her support – for help. Talk about being beaten into submission! Was it fear? Did she think she would get her sponsorships back if she went against what she supposedly believed in?

Ultimately her reasons are irrelevant. However, it was a real win for BDS. She is its new poster girl – showing how apparently misguided the rest of us are for believing in a Jewish state.

Now, she is planning to go with the anti-Israel lobby and visit “Palestine” – not quite sure where that is exactly – to get an education. She makes no mention of even going to Israel. No, her lexicon has changed totally. As she now speaks about Palestine, any guess what kind of “education” she will get?

This is so frustrating.

The point is, we have totally lost the freedom to voice our opinions. We have lost our freedom of expression – one of the pillars of our democracy.

Just put Israel or Palestinians into social media, and you will get an emotional response, no matter what you say. Should you say something that supports Israel in any way – and you are not the Israeli ambassador – you will be harassed and condemned.

And, if you are not strong enough to withstand the pressure and vitriol, you will go down. The only way up, apparently, is to turn into a BDS supporter.

This sickens me. While I feel quite strongly that I am entitled to be critical of the Israeli government and things done in the name of Israel, I still support the Jewish state. This does not make me a human-rights abuser, in fact, I remain a humanist.

I believe in a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, and I long for the day it happens. I am sick of this revolting game that is being played by the anti-Israel lobby, in which it attacks individuals with an opinion it doesn’t approve of.

It has long since stopped being about the cause, but rather the individual, and how to make their lives so unpleasant, they have nowhere to turn.

I witnessed a social media conversation recently in which a group were talking about bringing Israel to its knees with sanctions, etc. They insisted it was the only way that Israel would give Palestine back to the Palestinians. And what of Israel?

The aim is to literally destroy a phenomenal country and its people. Why is it that those on the periphery of the anti-Israel campaign – those who feel for those they see being badly treated – cannot see that there are two sides to this situation?

I do understand why people keep their views on Israel to themselves, especially after witnessing so many of these attacks on anyone who believes in the state of Israel.

However, these attacks are all the more reason we need to stand up and be counted.

Every week, we print a Times of Israel supplement. As I see it, it is the only publication in South Africa that shows Israel for what it is. Four pages a week are gleaned from the daily Times of Israel. We have lost our sponsorship for this, and while I believe people love getting a sense of what is happening in Israel and all the various views of what is happening there, we may lose this if we don't get sponsorship. If you can, help us keep it going so that the true picture of Israel is still available in our country.

Shabbat Shalom!

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