Does Shashi Naidoo suffer from Stockholm Syndrome?

  • Howard Feldman 2018
Our story so far: Shashi Naidoo, much loved South African model, posts positive Israel sentiment on social media. The reaction is swift and aggressive, with Naidoo receiving no less than ten death threats by supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) cause, threats of rape, her address is posted on social media, and people start ringing her doorbell at 02:00.
by HOWARD FELDMAN | Aug 02, 2018

Naidoo crumbles, and flanked by the BDS, gives a press briefing where she pleads ignorance about Middle East politics. At the same time, she undertakes a BDS “re-education”(whatever that means) trip to Israel. BDS leaders subject her to hours of lectures, and Naidoo cancels a meeting with anti-apartheid stalwart and Israeli peace activist, former Rand Daily Mail Deputy Editor Benjamin Pogrund, who offered to provide her with perspective.

The Israeli embassy meets Naidoo while she is still in South Africa, and informs her that she will not be allowed entry into the country because she is going with an affiliate of the BDS movement. Naidoo should have grabbed the opportunity and stayed in South Africa, having received the best “get-out-of-jail-free” card she could have asked for.

The embassy explained that she was more than welcome to visit the country not as a guest of BDS and its affiliates. A fact later endorsed by an Israeli member of Parliament.

She travels to Jordan nevertheless. Unsurprisingly, she is denied access to Israel, and as a result, she is very sad. Very beautiful as well. Which makes the sadness seem all the more tragic.

So, she posts photos on Instagram proving how sad she is. There is no denying it. Shashi Naidoo is terribly sad.

Naidoo dejectedly returns to South Africa. Her “re-education” programme is now complete (whatever that means). Although she did not enter Israel, she has a deeper understanding of Jordan, at least. She tells Israeli journalists that the matter is now over, and she will not seek further media publicity upon her return to South Africa. Yet, she arrives in South Africa and immediately conducts a press conference. (She is still sad).

Her career not only recovers, but she has established herself as a household name. The TV interviews keep on coming. She posts a list of the nine things she learned on her flights to and from Jordan, appearing not to have actually learned too much.

It is clear to Naidoo on which side of the conflict the benefits are greater. It is also clear to BDS that the media will never hold it to account for the intimidation that she suffered. And, that freedom of expression is limited to the Constitution alone.

Because nothing kills a conversation quite like a death threat.

An alternative view to the one above is that Shashi Naidoo is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. The concept was coined in Sweden in 1973, when a bank robbery went awry. During the robbery, four employees were held captive in the vault of the bank for six days. During a stand-off, it suddenly appeared that the captives had established a bond with their captors. They seemed unable to recall that they had been held against their will.

In that case, it took less than six days to “re-educate” them.

The intimidation suffered by Naidoo is on the public record. She spoke openly of the death threats, of the loss of modelling contracts, and of the campaign to destroy her name, her brand, and her future. The assault on her was all encompassing, aggressive, and unrelenting. That she transitioned from supporter of Israel to supporter of BDS should be no surprise.

Her failure to meet Pogrund or anyone able to offer her a balanced view fades into the past.

What should be a surprise is that the BDS campaign has not been called out for what it was. BDS employed the same tactic when the Argentinian soccer team was meant to play in Israel recently. The Argentinian Foreign Minister said that the BDS threat was “greater than Isis”, the families of the players feared for their lives, and that it was not worth the risk of standing up to them. They consequently cancelled the trip. And the BDS lauded and thanked them for doing so.

Another successful “re-education” campaign.

The harsh reality is that Naidoo was in a no-win situation. Had she not announced her trip at the BDS controlled press conference and travelled to Israel to see the country for herself, she would have done herself no good. Had she seen that Israel is a flawed democracy that grants full rights to its citizens, she would hardly have been able to say so. In fact, that position would have left her back where this all started, her supporting Israel.

And so, Shashi Naidoo made the seemingly inexplicable decision to travel with those who wished to “re-educate” her, and she came back sad, but fully committed to their cause.

That in of itself is pretty darn sad.

1 Comment

  1. 1 Devi munisami 03 Aug
    BDS cant come into durban Chatsworth ! They dare come and threaten us predominatly SA indian area ! The indian churches and hindus dont take instruction fron BDS bullies 


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