Cape Israel haters left out in the cold
A small group of Israel haters yelled slurs at Jews entering the Cape Town Jewish community’s Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration on Wednesday, 26 April. They also hoisted flags of terrorist groups Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, showing that their aspiration was for violence against Jews, not helping Palestinians.
To press the point, they yelled, “One Zionist, one bullet!” and “Death to Israel!” at Jewish men, women, and children. One protester revealed his antisemitism by saying that Jews weren’t “the chosen ones” but “the cursed ones”, tying into the age-old trope of Jews being associated with the devil.
Waving terrorist flags and calling for violence now appears to be the norm in Cape Town. The flags were displayed at the Palestine Solidarity Forum’s hosting of terrorists at the University of Cape Town. Calls for violence were also heard at a protest in Cape Town while burning Israeli flags.
Another protester outside the Yom Ha’atzmaut event, Haroon Orrie, shot a 15-minute livestream video on Facebook, begging Israel haters to join him and his compatriots. He said Zionists were “evil”, and shouldn’t be allowed to live in South Africa. “Why are Zionist [sic] allowed to roam freely in our country, while they are killing innocent people throughout the world,” he wrote alongside the video on Facebook, tying into an antisemitic trope of Jews being murderers.
He complained about the large security contingent at the event, including an extensive police presence. Jews walking in and out of the venue refused to stoop to the protesters’ level, holding their heads high. Ultimately, the protesters were left out in the cold, while inside, the community enjoyed a unified and joyous celebration.
As the sun set, electronic band GoodLuck took to the stage, refusing to bow to pressure from SA BDS (the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Coalition) not to perform at the event.
“We love the melting pot of different communities that make up Cape Town, and the Jewish community is one that’s close to our heart, also they really know how to put on an incredible event, so it was easy for us to say yes [to performing at Yom Ha’atzmaut],” band member Ben Peters told the SA Jewish Report.
Saying that they “didn’t experience any negativity”, Peters said it was lovely to see that a cultural celebration could be safely and respectfully held in the city. “Whenever we play our songs, the greatest gift is seeing people singing along. Even if it’s songs off our first album from ages ago or the latest single, it’s a magical feeling. We had everyone dancing, from young kids to grandparents, and the vibe was just incredible! It made us feel like we were back in Plett [Plettenberg Bay] at our annual Get Lucky Summer concerts.”
To the community, he said, “Thank you so much for supporting local music, for giving us the opportunity to perform at such a special occasion, and for being such a warm and welcoming community. The appreciation we felt for our participation was inspiring, and a massive shout out to Leora Hessen for co-ordinating and looking after us.”
The Kiffness and DJ Sona also went ahead with their performances at the Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration in Johannesburg – which didn’t have any protesters – in spite of the SA BDS Coalition calling on them not to participate. BDS said that Israel shouldn’t have existed for the past 75 years, making it clear that it believed Jews have no right to self-determination.
And though the SA BDS Coalition aligns itself with the international BDS movement that claims it’s “nonviolent”, it was clear that those protesting outside Yom Ha’atzmaut in Cape Town were calling for violence against Jews, Israelis, and Israel.