Exploring the concerns of the south african jewish community
In this article, Charisse Zeifert shares her perspective on the advantages and disadvantages of the organised Jewish community engaging in debate with the BDS movement.
THERE are certain topics South African Jewish communal leaders will never debate. Holocaust Denial is an obvious example. But what about ‘Israel Denial’? Should Jewish communal organisations debate those who do not believe Israel has the right to exist? This is not a theoretical exercise. The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) routinely engages in public debate with members of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement who argue that Israel is a racist, Apartheid and colonial state, and should not continue to exist as it has for the last 75 years.
exploring issues related to israel, israeli society & global jewry
In this editorial, DakfaDotCom looks at what anti-BDS legislation in the United States may mean for the University of Cape Town's proposed boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
THE adoption by Senate of the University of Cape Town (UCT) of a resolution in favour of boycotting Israeli academic institutions has caused much consternation within the South African Jewish community and has also attracted a great deal of global interest. The issue is still very much alive: the Senate resolution needs the approval of UCT’s Council before it becomes official university policy.
An online petition opposing the boycott has garnered over 65,000 signatories. The petition speaks of the proposed boycott as “violat[ing] the principles of academic freedom and freedom of speech” and having the possibility of “fan[ning] the flames of anti-Jewish hostility on campus”. And a group of Jewish South Africans have come out in support of the proposed boycott arguing that “[t]his establishes UCT as an adherent to international law and affirms the university as a partner in the struggle for human rights in Israel/Palestine.” Opponents of the proposed boycott have raised concerns as to how a pro-boycott position could impact fundraising and relations with alumni, research conducted by UCT academics and partnerships with scholars and universities abroad, as well as the reputation of the university. The group that supports it have labelled the threat of loss of funding as “backdoor fear-mongering.”
"Such a boycott would take place in a world where lines have already been drawn in the sand over the issue of boycotts targeting Israel."