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Gareth Cliff stands up for Israel against the popular vote




In the wake of events at the Israel-Gaza border last week, the South African media mostly showed outrage, condemnation and vitriol in maligning Israel. That was the national popular vote. However, Cliff voiced his support for Israel on his online radio station,

During a discussion which was broadcast on his show last week, Cliff expressed unreserved support for Israel and lambasted the media for disseminating false information. “This claim that Israel shot demonstrators is a blatant lie,” Cliff said. “It’s an absolute falsehood.”

Setting the record straight, Cliff asserted that the protest in Gaza was the furthest from being peaceful. “If there was a peaceful demonstration in Gaza, Israel would have provided megaphones and water as they’ve done before,” said Cliff. “This was an attempt to invade a sovereign nation to indiscriminately slaughter civilians. The leader of Hamas said… ‘We will tear down the fence and tear out the hearts from these Zionists’ bodies.’ That’s not how you talk if you’re a peaceful demonstrator.”

Cliff made it clear that the recent move of the American embassy to Jerusalem and the recall of the South African ambassador to Israel are irrelevant in this instance. “If I’m America, I may move my embassy to wherever the f**k I want, I’m America. And South Africa can withdraw its ambassador whenever the f**k it wants. But if one attempt to breach the border [of Israel] had succeeded, thousands of people would’ve streamed in, and there would have been real carnage on both sides.”

Recognising the strategies used by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) to prevent bloodshed, he mentioned that no acknowledgement of Israel’s efforts is being made.

“This is the part that no one talks about,” said Cliff. “There were early warnings put out by the Israelis. Leaflets, phone calls to Hamas leaders, to members of the community, on social media [and there were] even non-lethal weapons such as tear gas and water cannons. That still didn’t prevent this invasion. “So, what must Israel do? Let their citizens be killed by people clearly hell-bent on violence?”

A week after this broadcast, Cliff continues to stand by his opinion and believes firmly in what he said. “The reason why I said what I did is self-evident,” he says. “I am a free human being in a free society, entitled to have a free opinion. I have appraised myself of the situation by keeping up to date with the news and have reached my own conclusion. I have taken a side that aligns with what I truly believe is correct. Israel has a right to exist.”

Asked whether he has received any feedback from the media or his listeners, Cliff said that little criticism has been received so far. “Besides for what my immediate friends responded, and what I’ve been told about comments on social media, there hasn’t been much of a response.”

He goes on to define what types of responses his words have evoked: “I’ve had friends telling me ‘that’s great’, and I’ve had those who have said ‘f**k you, Gareth’,” he laughs. “I also heard that a clip of that show is doing the rounds and being shared by people, and I think that’s great.”

Cliff’s opinions have evoked a considerable amount of hatred on social media. Twitter users who took umbrage with his statements questioned his knowledge on the subject with tweets like: “Clearly, you have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to Palestine and its history.” Another tweeted: “Ohh boy… you are absolutely clueless and ignorant. Who in their rite (sic) mind gave you a talk show?”

Social cohesion activist Yusuf Abramjee added his voice to the condemnation, tweeting: “You are clearly misinformed. And you condone the killing of innocent Palestinians. Shame on you!”

Despite the cries of contempt online, Cliff stands by his view and won’t give accusatory Twitter users the benefit of his attention. “Nothing on Twitter is at all constructive,” he says. “I don’t use the platform often, and I don’t think anyone should, really. It’s bad for your soul, for your brain and for your body,” he concludes.

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1 Comment

  1. Margaret Becker

    May 24, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    ‘Gareth always stands for the truth as he carefully evaluates it.  He is not afraid to speak up for what he believes in.  He is not "on the side of Israel" because it is not about taking sides.  It is about acknowledging the truth and then speaking it.  Having lived in Israel over this time I have heard from some of the young soldiers how they have to prevent violence to the Palestinian civilians even sometimes at their own risk. 

    If Israel were truly an aggressor this situation would not even exist because they have the military might to defeat Hamas in Gaza but are wary of the impact on the civilians who are help hostage by Hamas.  The IDF is a DEFENSE FORCE and not an invading army.  They respond to threats and do not initiate them.  The, mainly very young, soldiers do not want blood on their hands.  The IDF takes soldiers who step out of line to task.  

    As Golda Meir said.   “We do not rejoice in victories. We rejoice when a new kind of cotton is grown and when strawberries bloom in Israel.”  also "Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us."  

    How much of the world holds Israel to such double standards I will never understand.  It is a small country that wants to make a big difference for all mankind.  ‘

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