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SA Organisations

Sasco Israel ‘directive’ shows closed-mindedness

  • 2017-02-05-16-59-51-647
The South African Students Congress (Sasco) - the biggest student movement in Africa - has “summarily suspended” any Student Representative Council member who went on a recent so-called “propaganda trip” to Israel.
by PETER FELDMAN | Mar 02, 2017

Sasco condemned the trip it labelled “utterly disgusting”, claiming it was “aimed at undermining our relations with the Palestinian people and other progressive forces of the Free Palestine Movement”.

In the run-up to Israel Apartheid week, Sasco put out a statement that said: "It has become a norm that the reactionary management and Zionist proponents at Wits lure our members with international trips. We are saying enough is enough with this practice of using our 'conscious' members who are perpetually available to be used by racist Zionists.

“It is for this reason that the provincial executive of Sasco in Gauteng has decided to summarily suspend all SRC members who participated in this propaganda trip."

Klaas Mokgomole, head co-ordinator of Africans For Peace, which organised a students' trip to Israel, hit back by saying Sasco was “opportunistic”, and is led by “clowns” who make “fun of themselves”. He added that they do not understand the issues at hand.

Mokgomole said he would recommend students or any other person with an interest in the Middle East issues , to challenge themselves and take up the opportunity to visit Israel.

"This trip exposes you to both sides of the conflict. Instead of being fed information by people or organisations, it is better to go and get first-hand information." 

He accused Sasco of expelling students without undertaking a thorough investigation. "They cannot prove how many members of Sasco went on the recent trip and they are just relying on rumours and assumptions."

These tours are for young leaders at university and graduates who are interested in the Middle East and current affairs. They are taken on an educational tour where they are given a full overview of the situation, including the culture, history, geography, politics and people of Israel and the Palestinian territories.

“It works not just with students, but with faith, community, political, business and media leaders.”

Neo Mangope, a 23-year-old former law student at North West University, was a member of the recent “Empower ZA Tour”, undertaking her first trip to Israel. She spent eight days on the tour.

"I had good impressions and I learned a lot. I came back really empowered and I can confidently say that I can share my understanding of the Israeli-Palestine conflict with my community. But not only did I get a better understanding of the conflict, but the richness and complexities of the Israeli and Palestine society, their heritage, and the diverse cultures and religions."

Mangope said there was no pressure on her not to go. "I actually wanted to take this tour to Israel, experience it for myself and learn as much as I can. I wanted to get a better understanding as to what we usually hear in the media about Israel and Palestine."

She felt Sasco was being "very petty".

One important thing that she also learned on this trip was not to take sides. “Honestly, if we carry on like this then there will not be any hope for peace for the Israeli-Palestine conflict. I strongly believe that we should rather come up with solutions to help end this conflict."

She said Sasco should "stop buying into the perpetually told lies and propaganda. "People need to be properly informed, she emphasises.

“There are those whose have prejudices and will be blinded to the truth, as has been shown by the Sasco statement.”

Ben Swartz, national chairman of the SA Zionist Federation, told Jewish Report that Sasco "fails to grasp a very fundamental and basic tenet of our constitution and of human rights and that is the fundamental freedom of speech and association. It is absolutely astounding the degree to which such 'decree' could be issued."

He said by trying to prevent people from seeing the truth of what exists in reality on the ground in Israel, is the only way those opposed to Israel can perpetuate the hatred and lies.”

1 Comment

  1. 1 Gary Selikow 02 Mar
    SASCO is terrified of people going to see Israel for themselves to see that their demonization, delegitimization and double standards (three d's) are a diabolical travesty.
    If we oppose hate speech than BDS and demonization of Israel should be illegal.
    People like SASCO are dripping with venom.

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