Know how to grow. What is BDS hiding?

  • Mokgomole Klaas
Klaas Mokgomole, pictured, is one of two of the so-called “Wits-11” censured for forcing the cancellation of an Israeli-born pianist Yosi Reshef’s concert last year. The other Wits-11 member who has become part of the so-called ANC-16 who went on a study tour two weeks ago to Israel and Palestine, is Justice Nkomo. The 16 students slammed BDS in a media release last week – and Mokgamole had another bite at the cherry over the weekend.
by KLAAS MOKGOMOLE | Jul 22, 2015

The ANC-16, a group of ANC-affiliated student and business leaders issued a statement last Thursday SLAMMING BDS in the wake of which some found themselves suspended. The SA arm of the US NGO Boycott, Divesment, Sanctions (Israel), BDS-SA, had offered the sixteen R40 000 each if they would cancel their trip. None did, and so a war of intimidation began.

Not prepared to let their earlier attack on BDS go by quietly, Klaas Mokgamole published another scathing attack on BDS in a Sunday Tribune op-ed: “Know how to grow.”

Excerpts from the original Tribune op-ed of July 19

The Israel-Palestine conflict plays a large role in SA student politics. Many rally behind it to gain political support for various agendas, while others simply see the information provided by organisations like BDS and are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause without questioning why and how the conflict arose.

I do not believe any position on such a sensitive subject should be adopted, or publicly supported, until both Palestinians and Israelis have had a chance to be heard. During a recent visit to Israel and Palestine, I realised that we in SA lack key information about the conflict.

For example, we know very little about the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which has now largely been solved, but which lingers in the form of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

We are also ignorant of the massive impact the Palestinian-Palestinian conflict between Fatah and Hamas has on the Israeli and Palestinian people. And we overlook the 20-year-old peace process agreements between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government, as well as the terrorism inflicted upon Israelis and Palestinians by Hamas - a movement BDS supports.

BDS accusations

I can now clearly see that there is no one victim in this scenario. It is a complex and difficult dispute, but people on both sides seem to want peace and are working for it together - something that would never happen if BDS had its way.

Regarding accusations of apartheid that BDS levels at Israel, I believe Israel has not been given an opportunity to present its case and is being wrongly accused. I also believe BDS has over-stepped the mark in representing the Palestinian people. Its campaigns, far from helping them, are hurting the Palestinians and possibly making a final peace settlement harder to achieve.

During my interaction with the Palestinians (last week in Palestine - ED), it was clear many of them had no idea what BDS was and were unaware of any projects it initiates in Palestine to benefit the people in these territories.

What is BDS hiding?

(BDS) went to great lengths to stop young leaders from going on this trip, even offering a R40 000 bribe for a participant not to go. Why has it never given us a chance to go to Palestine to speak to Palestinian people on the ground? If what it preaches is the truth, why would it not want us to see it? I now believe it is because it was scared we would find out the truth.

The truth is (that BDS) has continuously lied to us, exaggerating and manipulating South Africans into believing its stories, and using us as foot-soldiers in its "struggle".

BDS has monopolised the information flow regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict, and it has taken advantage of this to use the people of SA for its own personal and political gain. Today I can say I have been exposed to much more information, not only from what I heard in Israel and Palestine, but also from what I saw.

Israelis and Palestinians do not agree on everything, but one thing they do agree on is the need for a peaceful solution leading to an independent Palestinian state co-existing with Israel. Just that sentence is enough to upset BDS, which believes in forcing Israel to its knees through boycotts, then getting rid of it completely. As with every educational experience, I came home with more questions, mainly for BDS.

I ask BDS the following questions:

  • What do you do with all the money you collect from South Africans?
  • Why do you have such an aggressive stance that encourages only hatred and polarisation?
  • What gives you the right to tell free South Africans what they can or cannot do in their own personal capacity? And
  • How is it you claim to be underfunded when you are able to offer R40 000 to any person who agreed not to go on the trip?

I encourage all South Africans to ask these same questions. It is an insult to our intelligence and freedom that BDS, through threats and intimidation, seeks to control how we think, and I will not allow it to do so any longer.

If BDS wants to have a debate or an educational event, I would be more than happy to attend, but no more one-sided information and no more silencing of voices that contradict what it would have us believe.



  1. 3 nat cheiman 22 Jul
    In my opinion,BDS is a cloak for Islamic State. Also for Jew hatred. Although, it must be said that Muhammad Desai, is up for businessman of the year award. He surely, (in my opinion) must... [Removed. Sorry, Nat, you can't say that   -MODERATOR] ...BDS mumbo jumbo and that BDS is about to bring Israel to its knees.These fellows should have taken the R40K and still gone to Israel.
  2. 2 anonymous 08 Aug
    my man u have been bought.  Sad
    smell the coffee
  3. 1 nat cheiman 11 Aug
    Every one that is not connected to BDS are liars.
    Only BDS tells the truth.
    Boet, you are hallucinating.
    According to BDS, the world is flat


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