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BDS-SA uses smoke and mirrors




It is sobering to reflect that this bestial atrocity against Jews in their place of worship took place barely a week after the anniversary of Kristallnacht, when synagogues throughout Germany were destroyed at the behest of the Nazi state.

Against this background, an organisation calling itself BDS-SA was conducting a vociferous campaign against pretzels and pomegranates – Israeli ones, that is. The store chain selected as the target of its boycott initiative is Woolworths.

The idea is that once Woolworths has been compelled in this way to stop stocking Israeli produce, the campaign will shift to boycotting Dis-Chem and Pick n Pay, as well. (That businesses widely perceived to be Jewish-owned and run, have been singled out for boycotts is, of course, an interesting question in its own right).

BDS-SA craves publicity, and to that end has embarked on a wide range of public relations stunts aimed at achieving maximum media coverage. Mindful of that, the Board has been selective in how and when it responds to its campaigns.

Of late, however, the depths of mendacity plumbed by the organisation combined with the bewildering failure of the media to hold it to account for this prompted us to issue a media statement last week. This slammed BDS-SA, not just for the dishonesty of its media campaigns, but also for the gross intimidation it consistently resorts to in order to browbeat others into acquiescing with their demands.

Those who do not take BDS assertions at face value, will quickly discover that the extravagant claims being made are no more than smoke and mirrors aimed at hoodwinking the public into thinking that its campaigns are wildly successful. Such has been the case with the much-publicised Woolworths boycott, which has inter alia entailed a bogus “shareholders’ meeting” designed to create the impression that Woolworths shareholders supported their position. Fortunately, we know that illusions cannot be sustained forever and that the hard facts of a given situation will ensure that truth prevails in the end.

Notwithstanding our concerns over the situation in Israel and unpleasant sideshows like BDS, our community continues to be positive and forward-looking.

In Durban, we have just benefited from a week-long visit by Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief, Steve Linde, who, I am proud to record, is a former Durbanite. Steve addressed many communal meetings and was interviewed extensively in the media. For his part, he was delighted to see the continued vibrancy of Jewish life in his home town.

  • In Cape Town, meanwhile, the Board has successfully launched its Mensch Network, comprising Jewish individuals working in social change, while National Director Wendy Kahn participated in an Independent Electoral Commission event celebrating 20 years of democracy in South Africa.
  • These are just some examples of the kind of activities our lay and professional leadership are involved in as committed Jews and committed citizens of this country. They offer the best possible rejoinder to those who maliciously seek to undermine our standing and drive a wedge between us and our fellow South Africans.   


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



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