Mind boggles over BDS-SA’s ‘poster girl’

  • 2a-Mary Kluk tightcrop
Over the past week, the Board continued to be much involved in responding to the imminent visit of Leila Khaled to South Africa as a guest of BDS-SA. In a variety of media forums (including National Director Wendy Kahn’s being interviewed by SABC TV news), we have consistently reiterated why we find the bringing out of this individual to be so abhorrent, and why South Africans as a whole should share this view.
by MARY KLUK | Jan 21, 2015

BDS has sought to promote Khaled as a heroic freedom fighter in the mould of Nelson Mandela whom South Africans should admire and look up to. A substantial part of what we have done is to systematically explode that obnoxious conception by informing the public exactly who she is, what she has done and what her affiliations continue to be.

Khaled is a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Over nearly five decades, this organisation has systematically aimed at harming civilians as a matter of strategy.

Recent atrocities carried out by the organisation include the murder of the Fogel family in 2011 and last year’s hacking to death of four rabbis in a Har Nof synagogue. Khaled herself is best known for having hijacked a US airline and thereafter attempting unsuccessfully to hijack an Israeli one. 

While it has been necessary to expose the real Leila Khaled, our main concern has been to deal with why BDS-SA invited her in the first place. What does it say about the motives of this group that it should not only have selected such an individual to act as the poster girl for its campaigns but have overtly played up her terrorist affiliations as a publicity tactic?

The Khaled invitation has simply reconfirmed our worst fears about what BDS is all about. It is not a human rights lobby, nor does it really wish to help to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Instead, in furthering its extremist agenda, it fosters hatred, division and confrontation in our society.

One hope that as a result of its latest propaganda stunt, particularly in its having come at a time of heightened concerns about terrorism the world over, the penny will begin to drop even among those who previously might have been inclined to support the organisation.  

As South Africa’s representative on the World Jewish Congress executive, I am involved in ongoing discussions on current security threats facing global Jewry. On the local front, we likewise need to constantly maintain a high level of vigilance. Here, the CSO plays a crucial role, and as always, its members - whether professionals or volunteers - carry out its mission with unfailing dedication and professionalism.

We thank all those who devote so much time and effort to ensuring our safety, and urge community members to support them in every way that they can.


New school term started


The new school term has resumed, which with the great majority of Jewish school-goers means attending one or other of the many Jewish day schools around the country. I cannot emphasise enough how crucial it is to provide a sound Jewish education if we are to continue to have a thriving community in the future.

Here, we can proudly say that the standard is not merely good, but excellent. Nor does the provision of a strong Judaic component in the syllabus come at the expense of secular learning. On the contrary, the consistently outstanding matric results in all our schools show that it is possible to have the best of both worlds. I congratulate our recent successful crop of matriculants and wish our current learners all success in the year ahead.


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




  1. 3 Choni 21 Jan
    What use is a thriving Jewish community in a country when the host government and millions of the population make you seem unwelcome, and more importantly dislike your spiritual home intensely.
    Teach our children that, and see how they react.
  2. 2 Mordechai 22 Jan
    Choni, you are so correct
  3. 1 Pam 22 Jan
    Umm, Mary - are YOU paying a minimum of R7000 per child per month for their Jewish schooling?
    I so wish the "leadership" would understand what the "regular" people have to go through.


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