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This BDS piggy went to market…

Roro has a gogo at the Cosas students and their pigs’ head fiasco

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Rolene Marks

Someone once said don’t get in the mud with the pigs, because you both get dirty and the pig enjoys it.

It would appear as if the BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanction) movement has developed quite an appetite for pigs. While it is tempting to indulge in pig puns, this is fast becoming a very serious issue. If it is not Roger Waters flouting his helium pigs decorated with stars of David at his concerts, it is the Council of South African Students who have deemed if perfectly acceptable to place pigs heads in the meat section of Woolworths stores in South Africa.

Why Woolworths? Why pigs? Woolworths, one of South Africa’s most respected and popular brands that sells home ware, food and clothing has been the target of demonstration and boycott by BDS SA. The fact that Woolies imports from Israel amount to barely a percent is irrelevant to BDS. They have firmly locked their target on the upmarket store and demonstrations, threats against shoppers and staff and violence have become the order of the day. Nearly 60 protesters, including children were arrested for disturbing the peace two weeks ago.

The morons from COSAS who placed a pig’s head in the meat section of Woolworths’ Sea Point branch have not only offended the Jewish community but Muslims as well. The porky creature is forbidden to both religions and to Jews the image or use of a pig has been seen as a symbol of anti-Semitism since time immemorial.

Why COSAS, who quite frankly should be concentrating on their university studies are so fixated on Israel at the expense of so many problems that plague not just South Africa but the African continent is beyond me. Civil war, dire poverty, starvation and disease are all problems that plague the continent but are ignored so that anti-Semites can indulge their latent tendencies.

Policies of BDS are counter-productive to peace and the ordinary citizens of South Africa who benefit from Israeli know-how in science, medicine, technology and farming are the ones who lose.

In a recent twist of events COSAS distanced itself from the Woolworths Pig Head incident by releasing a statement that said that while they unequivocally support the Palestinian cause, they distance themselves from the incident at Woolworths Sea Point, intimating that the culprit, Siphakhamise Ngxowa, was some kind of renegade who was also making statements to the media on their behalf. They claim he has been suspended.

This is in stark contrast to the outcomes of their executive committee meeting of their Western Cape Branch where it was stated:

“Due to media frenzy, much misrepresentation and attention seeking from the paranoid racist board of White Jewish Deputies we found it necessary to elaborately address the “Stop the Pigheaded Woolworths” and the “boycott Woolworthless campaign”. In light of this we decided to dedicate much of this statement to the Palestinian solidarity campaign, to avoid further misrepresentation of our views.”

They also claim and are quite angry that Woolworths are “covering up at least 3 other pigs head” incidents at stores.

Outcomes were as follows (courtesy Politicsweb.co.za)

  • The program of Palestinian solidarity was a provincial program and no one can be suspended for this. We have received no correspondence from NEC of COSAS and therefore dismiss claims and media comments of a suspension as unlawful, unprocedural, baseless and not communicated to Western Cape.
  • We are a militant radical organization and we therefore do not grandstand in the media, the culprits who have made these claims should step forward and identify themselves. We will not allow factional, Zionist, conservative and counter revolutionary individuals to intimidate our radical chairperson Cde Siphakamise Ngxowa.
  • We are an organization not some shabeen, if organizational procedures are not followed then these attempts have no legal bearing. We are well aware of the national COSAS politics at play surrounding comrade Cde Siphakamise Ngxowa and will not allow people to be suppressed because of factionalism or Zionism. 
  • ON CLAIMS THAT WE HATE JEWISH PEOPLE
  • Pigs heads and some resources needed for this campaign have come from Jewish people.
  • The gathering of racist white people and armed white militia or “security of a special kind” was organized by the DA and their Israeli funders.
  • The illegal and unpermitted public gathering, which aimed to portray Jewish people as victims- while they still are enjoying the sweet taste of the yoke of white Aparthied privilege, is a mockery to South African black people.
  • The Jewish people in South Africa were with us in the struggle against Aparthied, but this racist DA group called the Jewish Board of Deputies never once through Apartheid issued a single statement to support our black people.
  • We love Jewish people, we love Christian people, we love Quaker people, we love Buddhist people and we even love people who do not believe in God- but we do not love racist and oppressive people.
  • We will write to Jewish Voices for Peace and other progressive non-racist Jewish people to explain to them our campaign.

It has become open season on Jews. Expressing anti-Semitism is no longer politically incorrect or intolerant in certain circles. Instead it has become almost fashionable to Jew bash.

The silence from politicians, religious leaders and human rights organisations has been deafening. Not a peep, not a squeak, not an oink.

Jewish Voices for Peace purport to stand for Jewish values of morality yet they have not made any statement on the disseminating of pigs. As far as I am concerned, this negates any moral and ethical pedestal that they have placed themselves on. They are filled with righteous indignation when it comes to Israel, preferring to compose a laundry list of accusations than address a blatant hate crime against their co-religionists.

It must be a wonderful feeling to be able to comment on events that affect the daily lives of us Israelis from the safety and comfort of a computer a continent away.

Anti-Semitism has arrived in South Africa.  Placing pig heads in supermarkets is profoundly offensive to the Jewish community. It is also offensive to Muslims but nobody has uttered a word. The “Rainbow Nation” that prides itself on racial inclusion has earned itself a very dark stripe.  The Anti-Semitic cancer that is spreading around the world has found its way to the Southern tip of Africa.

I would wait for the statements of condemnation to come rolling in but I believe that pigs will fly before this happens.

Dark days for the Beloved Country.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Choni

    Nov 13, 2014 at 9:31 am

    ‘Dark days indeed! Will a Torah leader strive to be a \”Man\” in a place where there are no \”\”Men\” ?

    I doubt it. Rolene , your message is vital and important.

    It should be kept on the front page of every Jewish publication, until the message sinks in.

    Young Jews must be educated, and only our Torah, and lay leaders can do that.’

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Rolene Marks

World silent on Aleppo says Roro

The world is silent. Read the latest from Roro

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The world is silent

The streets of Paris are silent. In London, Rome, New York, Johannesburg, Buenos Aires, Barcelona and countless cities around the world, the streets are silent. Nobody has shown up en masse to protest the genocide in Syria. The streets are devoid of people and indignation. The global streets that once teemed with angry protests against Israel for defending herself against rockets from Gaza, have fallen silent for the civilians of Aleppo who have summarily been slaughtered.

The world is silent.

In the hallowed halls of the institutions that are charged with safeguarding our world and the protection of those that cannot defend themselves, the global community of representatives are silent. There are no resolutions, no emergency sessions.

Just silence.

Perhaps there should be less attention focused on Wonder Women’s breasts and more on the genocide in Syria….

From the lofty heights of social media platforms, where many have focused a disproportionate amount of attention on drivel, the armchair pundits and generals are silent.

The movers and shakers and opinion makers from the global media have not dedicated column inches and soundbites to the civilians of Aleppo. No righteous indignation from those that command the airwaves.

Elections Trump genocide.

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Silence governs the human rights organisations.  One would expect these moral high ground practitioners to be leading the charge against the gross abuse happening in Syria but their energy is reserved for other parts of the Middle East…..

Anyone hear a peep from the BDS movement? If they really were concerned with human rights they would be front and centre.

When the leader of the free world tango’d with red lines and allowed the gas to consume tens of thousands of civilians the West was silent. Epic foreign policy failure, President Obama, epic!!

More than 310 000 Syrians have been killed and more than half the population displaced. The State of Israel, while having hostile relations with Syria, has provided humanitarian aid to civilians. While Israel maintains a policy of non-intervention, we have treated nearly 3000 civilians in field hospitals and in Israel.  IDF reserve doctors had this to say in a letter to the army chief-of-staff, in their demand to be called up to help:

We know there are security considerations, and we know there are diplomatic considerations. But there is a principle, there is a truth, and there is morality: We must demand from ourselves to be there for them,” the letter, quoted by Israeli news site 04040.

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Israeli doctor explains prosthetic leg to injured Syrian civilian (courtesy AFP)

Over 70 years after humanity’s greatest atrocity, the Holocaust, the world looked in horror and vowed NEVER AGAIN.  We debated why the railroads to Auschwitz were not bombed, why the Allied powers did nothing to stop the extermination of a third of world Jewry. Many recoiled in horror at the images of the tortured, starved and gassed and said we would never let crimes against humanity happen again.

It is ironic that next month, on the 27th of January, many will commemorate International Holocaust Memorial Day, designated by the United Nations to remember the worst genocide in recent memory. There will be many who will make speeches filled with platitudes about the importance of education and remembrance so that atrocities of this kind never happen again.

But has the world learned anything from history?

Silence has failed the six million and their survivors. Silence has failed Rwanda, Srebrenica, Cambodia and Darfur. Silence has failed Aleppo.

We cannot afford to be silent anymore. None of us in good conscience can say “but we didn’t know”.

As we reach the end of 2016, a year filled with many horrors around the world, we need to use our collective voices. We need to take to the streets and to social media. As media consumers we need to demand proper, balanced coverage. As citizens of humanity, we need to look for WAYS TO HELP

Do not make NEVER AGAIN an empty platitude – make it your resolution. No more silence.

never-again-image

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Rolene Marks

Who is a Zionist?

There has been a lot of debate, discussion and social media brouhaha lately over who is or what defines a Zionist.

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Who is a Zionist?

 

There has been a lot of debate, discussion and social media brouhaha lately over who is or what defines a Zionist.

In simple terms Zionism is nothing more that the yearning of the Jewish people to return to their ancient homeland. The great civil rights leader, Rev Dr Martin Luther King, was rumoured to have coined this definition of Zionism and I reckon he knew quite a bit about human rights. And he was a Zionist! And he wasn’t Jewish!!

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The reason that I am writing about this is important.

After thousands of years of being made well aware that we are unwelcome in many countries, we have returned en mass to our ancient and ancestral homeland.  The word Zion refers to those biblical times since time immemorial. It is proof that Jews have “indigenous peoples rights to the land” and in case anybody has doubt, there is antiquity being discovered every day that supports this.

Zionism is also the National Liberation Movement of the Jewish people. It is a guarantee of our rights to organize ourselves politically and assign it a name that hearkens back to our ancient roots and love for Zion. Many thought that with the realization of the modern state of Israel, antisemitism would disappear but instead it has reared its head in a new form – anti-Zionism.

I think that saying that the Jews have no right to organize themselves politically and call it Zionism is racism. And many agree with me and that is why we have a phenomenal support base that includes many Christians who work tirelessly in support of the Jewish state and Muslims, some of whom put their lives at risk to support Israel.

This has rattled some who believe that only Jews can be Zionists. It is like we belong to a secret group that requires a secret handshake and meets in a treehouse.  This philosophy is exclusionary and I find it deeply offensive.

I am a card carrying, loud spoken, flag carrying, Hatikvah singing Zionist. I don’t care much for labels or wings but take exceptional pride in the fact that our beautiful flawed democracy, The State of Israel, is brilliantly multicultural and allows for divergent opinions. Robust discussion and debate is a point of pride in a neighbourhood where you can be killed for disagreeing with the leaders or following a different religion. Are we all not heartbroken by the visuals coming out of Syria or news of Christians being slaughtered in our region?

Is Israel perfect? No – sometimes we are guilty of an epic fail or many but I believe part of being a Zionist is being able to criticize and self-correct. I believe that Zionism means you want to see an exemplary Israel. An Israel that is tolerant and welcoming and grateful for all who support her. This is dignified, this is keeping with the tenets of our founders who envisioned this. There is room in the Zionist tent for everyone – Christian, Muslim, left and right.

“The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

Who are we to behave or treat our supporters differently?

One of my concerns right now as a proud Zionist is the propensity for some to say that Christians cannot be Zionists and if they are they must be on a mission to convert us. This kind of paranoia is dangerous and deeply insulting to our millions of Christian friends who support us whole heartedly. If you are strong in your identity and conviction nobody would be able to convert you anyway so please, stop with the paranoia!!!

I am proud of the many Arab, Druze, Christian and other minority groups who proudly serve in our diplomatic corps and IDF, laying their lives on the line every day for our safety. The rights of minorities while not always respected (and this must be corrected) are enshrined in our Declaration of Independence.

The world is becoming a hostile place for Zionists. Ask the students on campus who are bullied and sometimes physically threatened for their political beliefs. Or the store owners in Europe who find their shops rand sacked for carrying Israeli products. Or the travelers turned away from accommodation for being Israeli. The rise of the alt-right in the USA with their Nazi salutes and propensity for spray painting swastikas or the neo Nazis and BDS supporters in Europe or South America and South Africa has many Jews feeling afraid and isolated.

We should be opening our arms to our friends of all faiths.  Our Christian, Muslim, Hindu and other friends who march defiantly, waving their blue and white proudly, the friends who have come here to Israel to see the facts on the ground for themselves and are loudly proclaiming their support. The friends who at great cost to their safety make the case for Israel in institutions and government buildings where we have been accused of the most vile tomes.  On social media and in houses of worship, where some preach hate and incite to kill, there are others who speak of tolerance, peace and their love for the Jewish people.

To deny them entry into an exclusive club or doubt their motives is intolerant, discriminatory and downright rude. It smacks of horrible stereotypes and treatment that we have received throughout our history.

It was the dream of another great Zionist who while addressing civil rights in America in the 1960’s, voiced a sentiment that is universal and  as relevant today as it was then when he said:

“We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.We cannot turn back.”

So if you ask me who is a Zionist, I say I am. And my arms are wide open and hands outstretched to those who say Am Yisrael Chai!

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Rolene Marks

BDS – What you need to know (concise toolkit)

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BDS – What you need to know (concise toolkit)

Dear Reader

What is BDS (Boycott, Divestment and sanctions)? What are the accusations that they level at Israel and what is their modus operandi? How do we deal with the lies and erm….BS that BDS spread?

In this very concise toolkit that I have compiled for World WIZO, we look at the various aspects of the BDS movement. There are links to sites and articles that may be helpful.

I hope this toolkit serves you.

 

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