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BDS Coalition created to unify pro-Palestinian movement

  • 2b-Letter7
South African Jews for a Free Palestine (SAJFP) is disappointed with the SA Jewish Report’s ill-informed and biased report on the South African BDS Coalition, titled, “BDS-SA splinters as global body backs new group.”
by Allan Kolski Horwitz, SAJFP representative | May 14, 2020

SAJFP is a committed member of the South African BDS Coalition, currently run by an elected interim committee until the formal launch of the coalition. The coalition comes out of years of discussion about the importance of creating a cohesive Palestine solidarity movement in South Africa. While there are many solidarity organisations that operate across the country, activists have long felt the importance of connecting and unifying them.

In a vibrant, democratic, and transparent movement, there has to be space for disagreement and debate. Instead of congratulating the South African BDS Coalition for taking a principled stand on sexual harassment, the SA Jewish Report offers a story that would be better placed in a tabloid, presenting South Africa’s Palestine solidarity movements as puppets of their “international masters”. Solidarity with the dispossessed and the exploited is a cornerstone of Jewish ethics, and not a sign of weakness.

Contrary to the unfounded comment in the report, the South African BDS Coalition isn’t personality driven. It includes younger students, older activists, and, importantly, Jewish people like ourselves who are committed to a secular and democratic Israel/Palestine.

We know full well that our Jewish identity doesn’t preclude criticism of Israel and Zionism when violations of human rights are committed. In this regard, Rowan Polovin would do well to note that all members of the South African BDS Coalition interim committee are deeply opposed to anti-Semitism, and have joined the BDS movement as part of their broad commitment to social justice and equality for all. In fact, Omar Barghouti's video that you refer to specifically explains that the BDS movement is opposed to all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, yet the SA Jewish Report’s report makes no mention of this fact. 

The SA Jewish Report tried at length to get people from within the BDS and the organisations around it to talk to us last week. However, nobody was willing to give their perspective, explanation or views. – Editor

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