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BDS board member compares Israel with Nazis

  • Dudu
A Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions South Africa (BDS-SA) board member has compared Israelis to Nazis, and demonised Israeli soldiers by portraying them as calculated mass murderers and child killers.
by NICOLA MILTZ | Mar 14, 2019

Dudu Masango-Mahlangu, who is also a member of the anti-Israel South African Council of Churches, crossed the line into anti-Semitism in her opinion piece in the Mail & Guardian (M&G) last week.

Her highly inflammatory piece was written in response to the recently released United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry report on the protests and violence along the Gaza-Israel border since March 2018.

The report alleged that there was evidence Israel committed crimes against humanity in responding to protests in Gaza in 2018, as snipers targeted people identifiable as children, health workers, journalists, and people with disabilities.

However, despite the UN report receiving widespread international criticism for being biased and flawed, this did not deter Masango-Mahlangu from lambasting Israel and demonising Israelis – taking the anti-Israel rhetoric to a whole new level.

Simon Plosker, managing editor of HonestReporting, told the SA Jewish Report this amounted to hate speech. He has written a letter of complaint to the M&G.

“Dudu Masango-Mahlangu and BDS-SA clearly have no red lines they will not cross,” Plosker said. “While labelling Israelis as cold-hearted, deliberate and inhuman child killers, the real inhumanity on display is this despicable attempt to portray the Palestinians as the victims of a new Nazi Holocaust. Comparing Israeli actions to those of the Nazis is a clear breach of the internationally recognised definition of anti-Semitism. Shame on Masango-Mahlangu and BDS-SA, and shame on the M&G for publishing this hate.”

He said it is clear that she was comparing the situation of the Palestinians to the Holocaust. “Ergo, it is Israelis who are now the Nazi oppressors, while the Palestinians are the Holocaust victims.”

Masango-Mahlangu compared Israel to Nazi Germany, using graphic imagery of the Holocaust, including the use of the phrase “Gaza Ghetto”.

“The wretched of the earth in the concentration camps of the Holocaust raised their fists and embarked on uprisings against the Nazis. They refused to submit; they resisted even though the suffocating stench and very real possibility of death surrounded them. It was in those who resisted the Holocaust that we find hope for good to triumph over evil,” she wrote.

“Likewise, it is in the Palestinian child who comes out week after week to break out of her ghetto that we are persuaded to persevere in our solidarity so that a free Palestine is not only possible but also inevitable.

“Palestinians are refusing to submit on their knees and are insisting on fighting on their feet – just as people did in Nazi Germany.”

In the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism, it includes “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis”.

The IHRA is an intergovernmental organisation with 31 member countries. In 2017, the European parliament voted to adopt a resolution calling on its member states to adopt this definition.

Masango-Mahlangu said the “murdering of Palestinians in the past year has mostly been the calculated result of a human being, watching, waiting, aiming and firing – coldly, methodically and calmly”.

She made no mention of Hamas’ widely reported use of women and children as human shields. She spoke about the number of Palestinian “civilian” fatalities, without mentioning that the overwhelming majority of fatalities included members of Hamas and other terror organisations reportedly intent on infiltrating the border fence and injuring Israelis.

Dan Diker, foreign affairs analyst and Middle East expert, the project director for the Program to Counter Political Warfare and BDS at the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, accused Masango-Mahlangu of being anti-Semitic.

“She should stand up as an honest card carrying anti-Semite. She relishes in her blood-curdling description of Jews as mass murderers and child killers, without any understanding of the facts surrounding the Iran-backed Hamas regime’s campaign against Israel’s southern residents. Her fake and disingenuous charges that Israel intentionally kills Palestinian civilians, including children, boggles the mind in its malevolent, premeditated strategy to libel and slander Israel’s international legitimacy.

“She defends the murderous Hamas regime in Gaza that denies human rights to its own people, especially Christians in Gaza. She should be embarrassed to show her face at the South African Council of Churches when Christian Palestinians are being punished for being Christian, persecuted, and routinely harassed in Gaza.”

The head of communications at the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, Charisse Zeifert, told the SA Jewish Report that although Israel has its faults, comparing Israel to Nazi Germany crosses a line.

“It’s offensive and blatantly wrong. This shows how the BDS gets caught up in its own vile anti-Israel rhetoric, and is a clear example of how truth becomes a casualty of their own narrow and limited understanding of Israel and the Holocaust.”

The report she refers to has been criticised for being one-sided and full of shortcomings. Israel refused to cooperate with the UN, arguing that every UN commission finds the country guilty a priori.

Human rights group UN Watch heavily criticised the report, arguing that it ignores Hamas’ incitement of violence.

Alan Baker, director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Centre and head of the Global Law Forum, described the report this week as being “another biased, malevolent and unprofessional UN report”.

He said: “To accept that the protests are “non-violent” and “fully peaceful” shows a lack of awareness of the extent of the violence of the demonstrations and public statements by senior Hamas operatives and demonstration organisers inciting violence, assaulting the separation fence, infiltrating into Israeli territory, and seeking to kill Israelis.”

The commission, he said, “appears to have overlooked the violation of humanitarian norms and conventions by the Palestinians in the launching of incendiary and explosive kites and balloons intended to kill Israeli citizens”.

Not less serious is the commission ignoring the fact that the Palestinian leaders of the “peaceful demonstrations” organised, often by force, the placement of children and disabled people at the forefront of the demonstrations as human shields, in violation of norms and conventions on the rights of the child and the disabled, he said.

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