BDS-SA remains unrepentant over Khaled invitation

  • Khaled
BDS-SA is cocking a snook at the outrage over its invitation to plane hijacker Leila Khaled to come on a “fundraising tour” to South Africa - at R500 a ticket.
by OWN CORRESPONDENT | Jan 21, 2015

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies in particular, has expressed its fury at the invitation. But a defiant BDS-SA issued a media release “on the forthcoming visit of Palestine liberation struggle icon, comrade Leila Khaled”, stating that “a significant number of South African anti-apartheid activists, church leaders, government officials, trade unions, political parties, as well as civil society organisations have expressed their support for the visit - from February 6 - 16.

Wendy Kahn, national director of the SAJBD, pointed out: “In their desperation to retain some form of credibility BDS-SA tries to misappropriate the image of Nelson Mandela by comparing him to Khaled, as well as drawing comparisons with Umkhonto we Sizwe. This ignores the fact that neither MK nor Mandela set out to target innocent civilians as a matter of strategy.

“Towards the end of the apartheid era, there were a limited number of terrorist attacks, but overwhelmingly the story of the struggle against apartheid was one of peaceful resistance.” She added: “The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, unlike the ANC, systematically targeted civilians.

“Poor BDS-SA. Once again they are running for cover now that their intention to host convicted terrorist Leila Khaled... has exposed their true motives. Finding themselves in a corner, they are grasping at every possible straw to get out of it.”

She pointed out that Khaled was being positioned by BDS-SA as “the Mother Teresa of hijackers”. But “what they fail to share is that when she was arrested she was carrying two grenades, one of which she had already pulled the pin out of.”

SA Jewish Board of Deputies National Chairman Mary Kluk also strongly denounced the invitation. saying that in its pre-publicity campaign BDS-SA “depicts Khaled holding an AK-47 and represents her past hijacking of a US airline... and an attempted hijacking of an Israeli airliner, as something to be admired.

“Terrorism, whether carried out for political, religious or any other reasons, is both a crime against humanity and a deadly threat to world peace,” she emphasised.

By depicting Leila Khaled as a heroic figure whom South Africans should look up to and identify with, BDS was sending out the worst possible message at a time when South Africa needed to stand with the global community in confronting the scourge of terrorism, she said.

But a defiant BDS-SA said the Board “not unexpectedly” had been trying to discredit Khaled’s forthcoming tour.

“We do not expect pro-Israeli supporters to understand the reason for hosting someone like Nelson Mandela, the South African Struggle icon and former commander in chief of the MK, or Leila Khaled, the Palestinian struggle icon.

“Back in the 1980s the SAJBD and Israel were proud supporters of the apartheid regime that killed our people and today they are proud supporters of the Israeli regime that is killing innocent Palestinians (of which the most recent example was the Israeli killing of over 500 children in Gaza between July and August 2014).

“We remind them that Nelson Mandela and South Africa's ruling party, the ANC, both remained on the US terrorism watch list until as recently as 2008.”

Cosas (The Congress of South African Students) echoed BDS’ sentiments and welcomed the invitation to Khaled, “one of our own, a Palestine freedom fighter, against the racist regime of Israel”.

Added Cosas: “Through her visit to our country we will show more solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine in their struggle for self-determination and the right of return to their country from refugee camps.

“We hope comrade Leila will talk to us about the recent Israeli bombing of Palestinian schools in Gaza and how we as young South African schoolchildren can make a difference to ensure that the Israeli killing of Palestinian children stops.

“When comrade Leila is in South Africa, we will also share with her our own support for the Palestinian people and our participation in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel campaign.”

Kluk pointed out that “BDS-SA was notorious for activities that fostered hatred and division between South Africans so as to further its vendetta against anyone and anything associated with the State of Israel.”

The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association, through its chairman, Kebby Maphatsoe, also got on the bandwagon saying in trying to whitewash Khaled’s terrorist past that “no Israeli or a single passenger was killed in the two airplanes that were hijacked.

“This visit by Cde Leila Khaled would further contribute to serve the purpose to bolster solidarity with the Palestine people's struggle for their birthright, in their country, and expose the wanton murder of Palestinians by the terrorist Israel Defence Forces.”

* With Israel Apartheid Week planned in SA for mid-March, a Zionist organiser who asked not to be named told Jewish Report Online: “BDS is filling up its war-chest. They got thrashed last year and need to put on a big performance for 2015.”

1 Comment

  1. 1 Spotlighting 22 Jan
    Please sign the petition to the SA government and say NO to terror:


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