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SA Jewish dissenters on Gaza trigger community ire




Pictured: Jonathan Shapiro aka Zapiro

The former reads: “We, as South Africans of Jewish descent, strongly condemn the Israeli bombing of the Palestinian Gaza Strip. Israeli attacks, with the stated objective of halting Palestinian rocket fire and destroying the military infrastructure of Hamas, have included heavy aerial, navy and tank bombardment of Gaza.

“This aggression is in the context of a seven-year Israeli blockade of Gaza which has severely damaged health and sanitary infrastructure, destroyed employment opportunities and led to a severe shortage of basic necessities. Israel justifies the operations using the deaths of three young Israelis in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank, whose brutal murders we deplore, but which cannot be a justification for state-sanctioned civilian punishment.

“We deplore the continuing rocket fire aimed at Israel. However, there is virtual unanimity that the scale of the Israeli assault is completely disproportionate. The impunity with which Israel behaves cannot be tolerated any longer. We believe the time has come for the South African government to sever all links with Israel.”

The petition has been signed by over 60 petitioners, including Raymond Suttner, Zapiro, Nathan Geffen, Jessica Sherman and Karen Lazar. The Rhodes petition was signed by several hundred petitioners, including heavy-weight academics, alumni and students.


The complete list of Cape Town signatories at the time of going to press: David Sanders, Leslie London, Judy Favish, Shereen Usdin, Neil Coleman, Raymond Suttner, Zapiro, Laurie Nathan, Max Ozinsky, Melanie Judge, Jane Alexander, Julian Reistein, Sharon Fonn, Jeff Rudin, Suzanne Rudin, Ed Wethli, Brian Hotz, Nathan Geffen, Bradley Bordiss, Robyn Patz, Alan Fine, Jared Sacks, Merle Dietrich, Dana Labe, Alison Swartz, Sue Goldstein, Leonard Shapiro, Heidi Grunebaum, Lorraine Purkey, Richard Hainebach, Marian Nell, Janet Shapiro, Tehillah Niselow, Ben Fogel, Robert Krause, Aliza Levi, Karla Green, Mark Kaplan, Zandi Sherman, Steven Robins, Meghan Finn, Ingrid Hurwitz, Paul Hendler, Audrey Blecher, Tali Cassidy, Mitchell Joffe Hunter, Renee Usdin, Linda Cooper, Melanie Alperstein, Lynne Lomofsky, Michael Moss, Jon Marc Seimon, Josh Budlender, David Fine, Jessica Sherman, Tony Tabatznik, Karen Lazar, Sheila Barsel, Laurel Baldwin-Ragaven, Mark Orkin, Vanessa Barlosky, Sheila Cohen, Laurine Platzky, Clive Emdon.>>


It has provoked a slew of angry responses, from all quarters, of self-appointed specialists on the situation, ranging from “I guess that’s what is known as a self-hating Jew”, to “Have you all gone f…king mad? Or are you all just stupid. Do you know what is happening here?”

One Internet user goes on to explain the political situation in her understanding, peppering her comments with personal insults to the petitioners, adding: “You should be ashamed of yourselves.”


Someone answers: “Israel wants ALL of Palestine; its founders have said they will achieve it by killing Palestinians and confiscating their land; THAT’S what’s really happening. Now go get an education before spewing Bs on the internet and humiliating yourself.”

Another responder: “Dear South Africans of Jewish origin, just remember Hitler made no concessions for Jewish Jew haters. They went to the gas chambers together with all the 6 million.” And another: “Jews worked for the Nazis in the war. Perhaps their long lost relatives landed up in SA.”

The Rhodes University open letter, which at the time of going to press had over 300 signatures, reads: “During apartheid academics and students around the world took a strong stand against injustice in South Africa. Their demands for the international isolation of the South African state were an important contribution to the struggle against apartheid.

“The attack on Gaza by the Israeli state violates the most basic human rights of the men, women and children in the area who continue to live in fear of the destruction of their homes, injury and death. The escalating catastrophe is not an isolated incident but part of a persistent and systemic oppression of the Palestinian people. 

“In light of this, we take the view that solidarity with the people in Gaza needs to move from expressions of moral outrage and towards effective political action. As staff, students, honorary graduates and alumni… we feel a moral obligation to take a clear public position against the ongoing violence of the Israeli state. We would like to add our voices to the growing demand that SA government severs all links with Israel, including trade and investment, and expel Israel’s Ambassador and recall ours.”


At the time of going to press, there has been scant engagement with this petition from members of the public.

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  1. Choni

    Jul 31, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    ‘90% of Israelis are fully behind the government in it’s war against the enemy, so who the heck cares what you petitioners think.

    Maybe this government might take note of your petition, and an increase in anti-Semitism/anti-Zionism might provoke more Aliyah, which is a good thing.

  2. Dr. Mordechai Kedar

    Aug 3, 2014 at 10:36 am

    ‘(I am a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. I served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. I am thoroughly familiar with Arab media in real time. I am frequently interviewed on the various news programs in Israel.)

    Why Hamas is Still Holding Out

    \nThere are six differences between Israel and Hamas that have a role to play in addition to the bravery and initiative of the IDF.
    \nBefore the start of Operation Protective Edge, an entire bevy of so-called \”experts\” appeared on Israeli media informing us of the weak state of Hamas, how
    \nits oxygen supply is cut off because the smuggling tunnels from the Sinai are closed and Egypt has turned against it, as has Saudi Arabia; it cannot pay salaries, it wants to preserve the state it has created in Gaza at all costs – and so on and so forth. Because of that, they concluded, its power of resistance is limited and since we have the Iron Dome to protect us, our decision makers can act judiciously, using our military power – particularly from the air – which is immeasurably more massive than that of Hamas. Even the world is on our side, they said, and surprisingly, supports us. Now, after four weeks of air attacks and two weeks of a ground operation, Gaza has seen over 1,200 of its people killed and 7,000 wounded, and has not capitulated, has not raised a white flag, continues to launch rockets to Tel Aviv and the south, and the Gazan population has not rebelled. Just imagine what would happen to Israel’s government if something like that, G-d forbid, happened here. It has suddenly become clear that all the \”weakness factors\” attributed to Hamas – the closed smuggling tunnels that Sisi sealed, Saudi Arabia, money and state – do
    \nnot have the effect the \”experts\” predicted for the organization. Perhaps Hamas is not exactly the organization these \”experts\” painted for us. Unfortunately, our mistakes result from continuing to look at the enemy through our own cultural lenses: we need money, a strong army, protection from rockets, friends in the region and international approval, and we think that if Hamas has none of these, it will be as weak as we would be if we lacked them. There is no greater error than that line of thought, because Hamas is the product of a vastly different culture where the strength and weakness factors are totally different from ours.

    1. The Spiritual Element

    \nThe basic and most deep-seated difference between us is that Hamas depends on a \”power player\” in the form of Allah, who dwells on high. The organization’s <i>raison d’etre</i> is a plan whose end goal is Allah’s reign over the entire world and Hamas’ activity is aimed at succeeding in that Jihad for Allah. Hamas fighters are filled with fervor and the bandanna on their heads says the \”Shahada\”, the testimony that there is no deity besides Allah and that Mohammed is his prophet. Our army is fighting valiantly for our nation, people and land, all of which are human and tangible, and if a commander dares to write his soldiers something with an allusion to religion, he is attacked by the thought police of Haaretz, and defamed along with the Jewish message he was trying to put forward. (An allusion to IDF Brigadier General Winter, who wrote his soldiers a letter of encouragement using biblical expressions from the fight of David and Goliath and was attacked by anti-religious-coercion advocates). Many of us have distanced ourselves from the \”Power Player\” who dwells on high and have erased the concept from our cultural experience. Hamas continues to stick to spiritual goals and in this regard, has the advantage.

    2. Culture and Ethos

    \nOur culture sanctifies life, health, education, progress and economic, scientific and civil success. Death negates all of these and therefore, naturally, we try to prevent it when it comes to our lives and also those of our enemies. The terror organizations in our region, on the other hand, sanctify death for Allah, and even mothers rejoice when their sons go out to die. This difference explains the fact that the over 1200 dead do not bring Hamas to ask for a ceasefire. As long as the dead are called \”<i>shaheeds</i>\”, they are considered not dead, according to the Koran: \”Do not think that those who have been killed for Allah are dead; they are alive and nourished by the hand of Allah (Chap. 3, v. `69). Hamas terrorists are proud of their often-used slogan: \”The Jews wish for life and we wish for death.\” This is the reason for their using human shields, for even if those \”shields\” are killed, they are not really dead, so their death is not seen as something bad. In general, in the Middle East there is no dividing line between citizens and combatants, everyone is considered \”the enemy\”.\n

    3. Attitude to the Media

    \nThe media has a critical role to play in wartime, as it has direct influence on large audiences worldwide and determines the public’s  opinion of the operation. Public opinion has immediate influence on politicians, who try to act in accordance with their voter’s inclinations. Israel adheres to journalistic ethics and limits its announcements to the media, refraining from showing bodies, body parts and other horrors that can influence viewers. Hamas, on the other hand, does not care about causing people to  be shocked by horrible pictures of the dead and wounded, and supplies photographs that are intended to create a sympathetic audience.\n

    4. Legal Restrictions

    \nIsrael is a country based on law, it limits military actions to the strictures of international law. Soldiers and officers can find themselves facing the Israeli courts or international ones. Hamas is not a state, does not act like one and does not limit its activities to the accepted laws of warfare. The obvious example: Israel attempts to prevent harm to non-involved citizens, while Hamas intentionally launches deadly rockets to heavily populated Israeli areas.

    5. International Support

    \nWe have been hearing that \”the world understands us\” from the beginning of hostilities and therefore, that it supports our actions. However, this is a highly fragile support, easily shaken by one picture of a rocket – even a Hamas rocket – hitting a school. The change in America’s position is a gigantic plug for Hamas’
    \nsteadfastness, for even the US president has adopted Hamas conditions for ceasefire, first among them removing the sea blockade of Gaza, although at the beginning of the operation he supported Israel and its
    \nright to defend itself.Hamas enjoys unlimited and
    \nunquestioning outside support from Qatar and Turkey. Despite the losses and destruction in Gaza, those two countries will stream material and financial aid to Gaza, including building materials that will allow it to rehabilitate the organization, its weapons
    \narsenals and rockets, enlist new soldiers, train and equip them as well as dig more tunnels so as to infiltrate Israel and sow death.  

    6. Consensus from Within

    \nThere was wall-to-wall consensus in Israel at the beginning of the ground operation aimed at destroying the tunnels Hamas had built in order to attack civilian targets in Israel. As the number of losses grows,
    \nsupport is declining somewhat and criticism – almost non existent at first – is being voiced. Hamas has no internal critics, as anyone who has lived in Gaza for the seven years during which Hamas has ruled the
    \narea, knows well what will happen to he who dares to criticize Hamas.


    \nIn conclusion, these six differences create an asymmetrical combat reality. We will say that we have won, but Hamas will say the same. Even if most of its people are dead or taken prisoner, all its weapons confiscated and all its tunnels blown up, the organization’s leader will come up out of his underground shelter wearing a blood-soaked bandage,stand on the ruins of a home and raise his fingers in  a \”V\” salute. The rest of us may find it infuriating, delusional, weird and grotesque, but he knows the truth: within a year at most, he will enlist thousands and train them, within three years, he will rearm and resupply his rockets and missiles arsenal completely and therefore, he sees the victory as his. He feels that the future is his because he is fighting the battle of Allah and Allah has come to his aid. He is not afraid to die and the lives of citizens mean nothing to him.
    \nHe takes cynical advantage of international and national law, manipulates world opinion using a compliant media. Hamas leaders have a new goal and it is to have the war continue for 33 days, the number of days of the Second Lebanon War. It wants to
    \nprove that it can hold on longer than Hezbollah. This is part of the Sunni (Hamas) vs. Shiite (Hezbollah) rivalry played on the backdrop of the war in Syria. The competition also explains the fact that Hezbollah has not launched rockets from the north. It has no desire to help Hamas, which did not come to Assad’s aid against Syrian rebel forces. It is hard to predict if the schism between them will continue to hold fast.
    \nThat’s the situation in Gaza.
    \nThese are the reasons for it.
    \nLet us hope for the best.

  3. Choni

    Aug 4, 2014 at 8:10 am

    ‘Dr. Kedar, Your analysis was the best birthday present I could have received. (Yesterday I turned 82.)

    Mr. Editor, I suggest you place Mr. Kedar’s analysis on your main page where many more people will see it.

  4. Gary Selikow

    Aug 5, 2014 at 8:11 am

    ‘A few words on these vile Jewish traitors and cowards

    they claim ot un-Jewish to criticize the state of Israel. Oh but it is very un-Jewish and inhumane too , for Jews in New York , Paris, Johannesburg , Sydney or London to show such lack of compassion for their fellow Jews in Israel, and even hostility , cruelly supporting those who are brutally murdering Jewish men , women and children in Israel.

    What makes these leftist diaspora Jews think that their lives are so much more important than that of Jews in Israel.

    I think it is high time that we dealt with, and stopped tolerating, Jews who turn on their own people, i.e. Left-wing anti-Zionist, anti-Israel Jews. What these leftist anti-Zionists are practising is a form of racism against Israeli Jews. The fact that they are born Jewish does not excuse this violent and revolting racism.

    These self-hating Jews do incalculable damage to the struggle of Israel to survive, and they encourage Arab terror. They are completely heartless, lacking any compassion for Jewish women and children murdered by the Palestinian terrorists in Israel.

    It is time we exposed and isolated these despicable Judenrat Kapos. They should be completely isolated from the Jewish communities in every country in which they are found.

    How can human beings , let alone Jews, show solidarity with the perpetrators of the murder carried out by the PLO and Hamas and their positions?

    How can they have anything positive to say of those monsters who can calmly assemble a device designed to mutilate the bodies of children , and destroy countless human lives?

    I cannot and will not keep company with those who make common cause with modern-day Arab Nazis who shoot a pregnant Jewish woman at point blank range before executing her four terrified small daughters.

    I shall always shun those who show any acceptance of the perpetrators of such atrocities and will continue to condemmn those whose twisted ideas suggest any equivocation of Israel’s self-defence with brutal Arab terror.

    Seriously , I pray that all Israel-haters and anti-Zionists burn in hell forever.

  5. Choni

    Aug 5, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    ‘Gary is 1000% right, and the isolation should start with the SAJR. These people are not only self hating Jews; they are against the God of Israel.’

  6. Gary Selikow

    Aug 5, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    ‘As Lenin once said: \”The best revolutionary is a youth devoid of morals\”. This helps elucidate why the left is always sympathizing with those Hamas demons. Nothing gives the far left more pleasure than to turn the world into a living hell with psychopaths all over the place.

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