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Hamas and allies intensify hate at Sandton Conference



An international who’s who of anti-Israel activists, including Hamas leaders, gathered in Sandton at the weekend calling for the complete isolation, dismantling, and eradication of the Jewish state.

The conference, which had the endorsement of the South African government, took place while Jews worldwide commemorated Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror and celebrated Israel’s independence.

The Global Anti-Apartheid Conference on Palestine at the Sandton Convention Centre took place from Friday to Sunday last week (10 to 12 May). Its aim was to work “towards a global movement to dismantle Israel’s settler colonialism and apartheid”. It also aimed to “set the basis for the mobilisation of a global anti-apartheid movement to hold Israel accountable for its crimes against the Palestinian people and to work to dismantle” the state.

It brought together recognised activists from several countries to strategise about the destruction of Israel, and was intentionally reminiscent of the antisemitic and deeply hurtful United Nations World Conference Against Racism in Durban in 2001.

Rowan Polovin, the national chairperson of the South African Zionist Federation said, “This was on a new level, where activists elevated the blood libel from apartheid to genocide. It was a glorification of Hamas and its unspeakable atrocities. There has been a concerted strategy to normalise and legitimise Hamas on the international stage.”

Wendy Kahn, the national director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, said “every rogue participant” was present.

“It was an orchestrated campaign of hate to conspire on how to decimate the Jewish state,” she said. “What’s so bitterly disgraceful is the centrality of our own government in this display.”

International Relations Minister Dr Naledi Pandor opened the conference (See story on page 3).

“Pandor’s continued support for Hamas through her unceasing attempts to attach the term “genocide” to Israel, is indicative that she’s not serving the interests of the South African population but has become an active agent in the war of terror against Israel and the Jewish people,” said Kahn.

Delegates to the conference came from countries that included Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Sri Lanka, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

South Africa, which unlike many other countries, hasn’t designated Hamas a terrorist organisation, provided the ideal stage for attacks on the legitimacy of the state of Israel.

Speakers included some of the most recognised anti-Israel antagonists, including Mustafa Barghouti, the general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative party and a leader of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) coalition; Zaher Birawi, a senior Hamas official living in the United Kingdom; and Ali Abunimah, the founder of the anti-Israel Electronic Intifada website.

Controversial Palestinian-American political activist Linda Sarsour told media at the conference, “I do feel that Palestine is having our South African anti-apartheid moment.”

Pandor told delegates on 10 May, “As oppressed South Africans, we experienced first-hand the effects of racial inequality and discrimination, and we identify fully with the struggle for freedom and self-determination in Palestine.”

She said the meeting was “rightly hosted in South Africa as a launch pad to consolidate international efforts to bring down apartheid Israel. On a governmental and political level, we would suggest that the conference, as a matter of priority, consider a role for frontline states, just as the liberation movements in South Africa did in our struggle for freedom and democracy.”

Struggle veterans and supporters of the BDS movement, Frank Chikane and South Africa’s former Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils, also addressed delegates.

Kasrils told attendees, “There’s no need to pussyfoot about the rights of the Palestinians to resist with arms.”

He also said, “When we talk about ‘the river to the sea’, we’ve got to break Zionist Israel,” and that the Jewish state had nuclear bombs, that “these madmen will let loose nuclear bombs”.

He also added that, “It’s been proved, what they were claiming about beheaded babies and the mass rape of women is absolute hasbara and lies.”

Hamas members Emad Saber and Basem Naim also attended the conference.

Said Naim, “In spite of this image of Israel as this superpower of the region and with the support of all superpowers, it wasn’t able, after seven months, to defeat this resistance in spite of its limited resources and space of movement.

“Therefore we believe we’re on the right way, and 7 October will be a turning point in the history of this struggle for the Palestinians and maybe a turning point in the history of humankind.”

The delegates adopted the “Johannesburg Declaration on Israel’s Settler-Colonialism, Apartheid and Genocide: Towards a Global Anti-Apartheid Movement for Palestine.”

It accuses Israel of an ongoing campaign of genocide, using sexual violence and starvation as weapons of war, of deliberately murdering children, causing a reproductive genocide, and accuses Western allies of enabling the continuation of the ongoing nakba (catastrophe).

Susan Heller Pinto, the vice-president of international policy at the Anti-Defamation League, the world’s leading organisation on antisemitism, said the declaration’s call to action, which fundamentally is about the eradication of the Jewish state and doubles down on calls for boycott, divestment, and sanctions “should be called out”.

While the language and rhetoric of the declaration was “shocking”, it wasn’t new and was being seen “more and more”. However, any fair-minded person who read this Johannesburg declaration would see immediately that there were numerous “outrageous things that should jump out”.

“[The massacre of] 7 October is never mentioned. Hamas atrocities are never mentioned. The entire focus of the document is the delegitimisation of Israel and Zionism from Israel’s very creation. The coded conspiracy theories and allegations against Israel from deliberate acts of sexual violence to starvation to mass graves to reproductive genocide, the coded language about Israel’s powerful militarised Western allies is unfortunately language we’ve seen before, but it’s no less shocking and doesn’t make it any less outrageous to see it in the context of 7 October and the Israel/Hamas war,” Heller Pinto said.

Polovin said the conference was a continuation of the “vile antisemitic hatred” on display at the United Nations’ notorious 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, which launched the global antisemitic BDS movement.”

Dr Dan Diker, the president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and former secretary of the World Jewish Congress, said the conference was a “national disgrace” .“Nelson Mandela would be turning in his grave at what has become of his beloved country, as South Africa and the government supports Hamas’s monstrous acts in the name of racial justice and Palestinian rights. Has South Africa lost its soul? Israel is the true rainbow nation.”

On Friday, South Africa filed another emergency request at the International Court of Justice calling for additional provisional measures against Israel over its military campaign in Rafah.

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  1. Gary

    May 16, 2024 at 11:58 am

    Pure Amalekite evil . We will never surrender to the Amalekite Satanic Islamic Neo-Marxist Axis of Evil. Am Yisrael Chai! Kasrils is a human shaped sack of venom.

  2. Gary

    May 16, 2024 at 12:54 pm

    Israel is going nowhere so suck it up Muslims, ANC and Kasrils

  3. Nigel Castle-Ward

    May 17, 2024 at 3:02 am

    Is there a list of Muslim owned businesses and companies that have Muslim Directors? I believe we should start a movement to boycott those Companies. Anyone in agreement?

  4. Hilary

    May 17, 2024 at 1:42 pm

    This is indeed a sad period in history when we divide humans into differences with such avaracity. Perhaps the noble thing to do is allow free passage to those Palestinians in such desperate need to come to South Africa for safety as did most countries opened their arms to house Ukrainians? Prove to the world, we, as South Africans are not equally xenophobic.

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