Ben Levitas
Ben Levitas

‘Shoot the Jew’ – hidden mantra of Israel’s enemies

The true face of the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement (BDS) was revealed on the steps leading up to the Great Hall at Wits by a group of protesters who hurled abuse at attendees of a concert by Daniel Zamir, an Israeli jazz quartet last Wednesday. Things turned ugly when some of the protestors chanted Dubula e Juda — “shoot the Jew” – outside the venue. Protesters also called for the destruction of Israel — “down, down Israel”.

Rather than condemning this incitement to violence against South African Jews and distancing his organisation from those calls Muhammed Desai, co-ordinator of BDS-SA, sought to justify it. As quoted by the Wits Vuvuzela, he said, “Just like you would say kill the Boer at funeral during the eighties it wasn’t about killing white people, it was used as a way of identifying with the apartheid regime”. Desai further commented, “The whole idea anti-Semitism is blown out of proportion”.

Generally the world doesn’t flinch when Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and even certain mullahs call for “death to Jews” or for Israel to be wiped out. They regularly proclaim this from their pulpits, their presidents and their political charters or manifestos. Somehow, people have become inured to calls for Israel to be destroyed. Few question why, the only Jewish state should be so maliciously targeted. These calls are now uttered with such frequency that they have garnered mainstream acceptability. The BDS movement is so resolutely focussed on cleansing the world of anything or anyone Israeli, trumpeting human-rights concerns, that it conceals its true agenda, to destroy the Jewish state. This has been enunciated by the poster boy of the BDS movement, Norman Finkelstein. The human-rights of the majority, who happen to be Jews, are inconsequential to them. These anti-Jewish slogans lay bare the hidden agenda of the BDS campaign, to destroy Israel, rather than propagate Palestinian rights. If BDS was sincerely interested in fostering Palestinian rights, they would voice their concerns for the treatment of Palestinians who live in Arab countries, where they suffer more discrimination and exclusion than in Israel.

Earlier this year, on university campuses around South Africa, during the obscenely named hate festival Israel Apartheid week calls likening Jews to “devils”, “murderers”, “colonialists” and “racists”, resonated around educational facilities. At the university a member of the Student Representative Council (SRC) was charged and found guilty of “hate speech”. He is now serving a relatively light sentence of 50 hours of community service. At Wits university, we await the outcome of a disciplinary procedure against 11 students, mainly members of the SRC for attacks and threats against Jews and Israelis, when they disrupted the concert of Israeli pianist Yossi Reshef.

The Zionist Federation is concerned that our youth are exposed to this vitriol, where calls for “death to Zionism” are so widespread and tolerated. It is frightening how many young South Africans have been incited into behaving in an overtly anti-Semitic manner on campus and even more frightening that they do not consider this to be anti-Semitic behaviour by still trying to justify their acts, as Desai has done.

By disavowing Zionism, the right of Jews to live in their own state is disavowed. This is a fundamental right enjoyed by every nation, and by denying it to Jews, it is flagrantly anti-Semitic and racist. As South Africans, we are only too aware of the destructive legacy of apartheid and feel that attempts by the BDS movement to disappropriate those who suffered under it, to be morally wrong, hurtful and inappropriate. Until Israel is treated and evaluated on the same basis as other states, all attempts to single out only Israel for opprobrium and blame , particularly when the whole region is in turmoil, should be deemed as anti-Semitic rather than anti-Zionist.

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    • Riyaadh Ebrahim

      For clarity; the 11 students charged with misconduct were charged when they protested the racial profiling by the organisers of the Yossi Rashef concert. they had bought tickets and were not allowed in due to their ethnicity and political affiliation. In South Africa that practice was thought to have been abolished in 1992 but wits university probably hasn’t come to terms with that yet.

      The protests against ZIONISM and not JUDAISM is entirely warranted. The ZIONIST state of Israel is in clear violation of literally hundreds of human rights violations; this is not opinion, this is documented evidence published by the united nations-or are they just also anti Semitic? and the entire Zionist movement is premised on the illegal occupation, removal and genocide of an entire nation of Palestinians from their home lands.

      I’m glad Israel has many enemies. any group of people that support the genocide of any other group of people should always have enemies in a just and fair world. Ethnic cleansing is wrong, was wrong in Rwanda, wrong in Germany, wrong in South Africa and wrong in Palestine. Until Israels policies of genocide, child killing and usage of chemical weapons are brought to a stop there will always be very harsh anti-Israel and anti-Zionist sentiments and sometimes they are expressed crudely. Stop bombing schools and hospitals and stealing peoples’ land and then plea “antisemitism”.

    • GrahamJ

      “A slogan is a phrase designed to prevent you from thinking properly”. It works particularly well with ignorance.

    • Tofolux

      @Ben I think that you guys are not helping yourselves either. This victim mentality is wearing a bit thin. The non-sensical belligerence and arrogance is a dangerous strategy and I would warn that you are taking a road that might be extremely tricky for you especially in a country where people are beginning to note a particular pattern to your strategy. The ongoing attacks in the Middle East and the impending attack on Syria is going become explosive and hugely emotive. The destabilisation of the Middle East and the attempt by yourselves to deflect attention from that by staging this so-called concert is extremely provocative under any circumstance. I would suggest that you and yours desist from particular action in a country who has a particular stance against these attacks. In essence you are behaving against the principal of this stance and it is this ongoing challenge to our Country, its people and Constitution that must challenged.

    • Avi Niselow

      Let’s get this straight, are you saying that holding a concert at Wits is unconstitutional because it is opposed by a few people?
      Have you read the constitution?
      Blaming the endless Islamic wars on Israel is pathetic.

    • Capetonian

      @ Tofolux

      Yours is a perfect example of delusional thinking, misperception of the world, and the madness of crowds.

      Have you been to Israel and other countries in the Middle East to see for yourself, or has a particular narrative been imprinted in your brain?

      Furthermore, you obviously fail to see the irony of your accusing Ben Levitas of “victim mentality” and “non-sensical belligerence”.

      What do you think gives you the right to speak on behalf of “our country”? Leave the rest of us out of your “particular stance” please!

    • Wise up

      Don’t take sides – either way you expose yourself as a bigot…….

    • Stephen

      @Tofolux: “The victim mentality?” The pot calls the kettle black. Every conceivable ill that has ever befallen any person of colour, ever, is blamed on those horrible pale mammals. Yes; delusional.

    • M McL

      they were not “intrinsically a part of Jewishness,” and the litigation showed “a worrying disregard for pluralism, tolerance and freedom of expression.”

    • Capetonian

      In light of the brutal subjugation and illegal military occupation of Tibet by the Chinese for more than 60 years, I would like to ask members of the BDS movement and their supporters if they still buy Chinese manufacted products, and if so, why?

      @ Wise Up. This is bigger than just a matter of taking sides. The Holocaust happened because good people were silent and did not question the propaganda they were fed.

      for example: “genocide of an entire nation of Palestinians”.


    • Mr. Direct

      Let me see if I have this straight in my head, you are concerned about people saying things related to murder, but you have no problem with the Israeli Defence Force killing people in cross border raids?

      No trial, no jury, nothing, just death dealing without the talk.

    • Yendys


      I didn’t see any victim mentality, belligerence or arrogance in that article. Were you reading the same one or do you have a set response whenever Israel is mentioned.
      So how is it going to get tricky in this country , how is a pianist deflecting attention from the slaughter in Syria or are you saying Jewish pianists are responsible.
      Your comment is very confused and confusing.

    • Greg

      Riyaadh, how exactly do you define genocide and ethnic cleansing? Since 1948, less than 100,000 Muslim lives have been lost against Israel in various wars and interfadas. If Israel wanted to commit genocide or ethnic cleansing I am quite certain things would look like genocide. Let me remind you that more people have lost their lives in Syria in the last year than in Israel in 65. Any attempt to mislead, falsify, misinform is biggotted, hate-filled behavior and exposes you for what you are.

    • bernpm

      We have seen many decades of growing disapproval of Jews. In the years prior to WW2, this feeling had become so strong that Hitler had little difficulty to raise the a large part of the German population in support of his grand idea of the “endloesung” of the Jewish problem. Other European countries had some followers of his ideas.

      The subsequent establishment of the state of Israel was not just a compensation for Hitler’s actions but has over time also developed into a power base for protection of the oil rich areas in the middle East. The US interest in Israel is well known until today. Israel has become synonymous with the last defense against the growing Muslim influences.

      To my knowledge, the State of Israel has not clearly declared its intent to make peace with their immediate neighbors. The support of the US does also not create the necessity to do so. A hostile status quo continues to exist.

      The hostile activities from the Muslim side are slowly beginning to penetrate in other countries with a large contingent of Muslims amongst the population. Right or wrong, these Muslim followers come up for their suppressed (as they see it) brothers in the Middle East.

      My view of Israel has also changed from sympathy in the 6 day war (1960’s) to “no interest for Israel”. Their strong ties with the US seem to prevent any serious attempt to come to peace with their neighbors.

      SA’s sympathizers take their protests directly to where it has the most visibility.

    • DeeGee

      @ Tofolux. Brilliant. Your best work yet. “This victim mentality is wearing a bit thin. The non-sensical (sp) belligerence and arrogance is a dangerous strategy…”. Absolute genius.

      (I must say, it has taken me a while, but I now get you. Your political satire is genius, with a very dark side added for good measure. I’ve not seen material like this before. Amazing that you have been posting on TL for such a long time and I’ve not worked it out before… By the way, do you perform live? Are you and Harris a double act? This is very exciting)

    • Enough Said

      Are American Jews fed up with Israel:

      “That’s what the Jewish American academic Norman Finkelstein claims is happening. He says they are now so unhappy with what Israel is doing that they want to distance themselves from the country.”

      I wonder if he also has a “shoot the Jew” hidden mantra?


    • Tofolux

      @Avi, the preamble to OUR SA Const talks to a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental rights. The overarching principles are EQUAL freedoms and rights.To me, there is a tacit ideological agreement between the org that Ben represents and apartheid. It folllows therefore, if you support this type of ideology then clearly you are in conflict with our Constitution! The fundamental disagreement that exists in all their belligerent arguments is Palestine. Their defence is (amongst others) the land-grabs and a particular ”cleansing” that Riyaadh correctly alludes to.

    • Kanthan Pillay

      Ben, you are right. There is a profound sense of hatred for the state of Israel which becomes directed to hatred against Jews. The only way this gets fixed is if there is a two state solution which does not involve theft of Palestinian land. In other words, a return to the 1967 borders. At that point, the rest of the democratic world will rally around to support the state of Israel.

      I remain hopeful.

    • Mark

      @Riyaadh, I hope to see you on the next flight to Syria to protest against the killing of civillians by the government and/or rebels. Either way this is muslim on muslim violence and is wrong. So please can you provide us with a plan on how you intend to deal with this conundrum without weaving your hatred for israel into the picture. Otherwise you are a hypocrit.

      @tofulux you are a fine one to talk about the victim mentality. All your posts are built around that thread so are you the pot or the kettle. Either way you should see the irony in yourl own comment.

    • Baz

      Here we go again, anti Jewish slogans, the majority of people don’t understand the Israeli/ Palenstine conflict either. Israel isn’t an apartheid state, never in a million years, it opposed the former regime’s policy years ago. Remember radical Zionists protesting in the mis seventies in front of the old Carlton centre.
      Wonder if we can just give those celebrating their beliefs a gap to be with their families over Rosah Hannah and wish them peace, harmony .
      Israel is one the top counrtries for having the best academic people.
      Go visit Israel for yourself and how they survived in the ecomonically and argricultural too. Rentlessly they come on tops in various fields. They are workers not idling along hoping someone will bail them out. They are gusty and very independant.
      Nations in the past who seperated themselves from Israel by severing ties with them,
      Eventually they becomer poorer than richer. Think about it…. Don’t mess with the Creator’s “apple of his eye “.
      There’s good and bad in every nation. Stop pointing fingers.

    • Momma Cyndi

      Tofolux #
      “This victim mentality is wearing a bit thin.”

      Pot and kettle?

    • Momma Cyndi

      It is so difficult to call. Israel has done some hugely horrendous things and have had some hugely horrendous things done to them. I just wish the whole area could be more like the West Bank than like Israel or Gaza.

      The saddest part is that the people on both sides are just so decent!

    • Tofolux

      @Ben noting the advent in the warranted change in geopolitics eg Russia, China’s stance wrt to the impending attack by Israel/America’s on Syria and also that Russia will now ignore the UN resolution on selling arms or lets put it brutally NUCLEAR arms what does this mean for Israel and their co-horts UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan? Their decision means that the production of nuclear armoury will now begin in earnest simply because all sobre minded countries are sick and tired of this strategy whose only purpose is to allow America’s land grabs. Russia has resolved that they will put up a shield in Syria to protect it against the attacks. The long term result of this decision bodes ill for you and your ilk. I have also said on this forum before that there is no difference between Obama and Bush, the strategy stays the same. Now ppl on the ground eg the students recognise the nature of the propaganda in SA and what it seeks to achieve. The flip question is what effect will the impending change in geopolitics have especially on Israel? This question is resolved by our own experience ie that even if it took 350yrs to overthrow a wrong, it was done. The question of Palestine and resolve lies in the fact that there will be an ”overcoming” of the gross human rights violations perpetrated on innocent people. Something will give and I guess that we might see it in our lifetime. Forward to the right to life.

    • Baz

      @ Momma Cyndi on 4th Sept @ 7.53 am your comment is excellent !

      Well said. Lokk forward to more positive relies from you.

    • Anton

      Time for a long overdue Israeli Spring, dump the politicians and the army and go for peace. It can only work.

      Its incredible how “sensitive” South Africans are to the worlds problems given that there are so many many right on their own doorstep at home.
      It’s admirable how they left the race card in their back pockets during Obamas visit and gave him the going over for Americas rather blatant imperialism across the middle East. Its admirable that they care about the plight of the Palestinians in the endlessly American upheld “hostile status quo” between the Iraelis.It is and this is a direct result of having gone through so much hatred ourselves.

      I hear the InkuluFreeheid movement reminding people to be respectful of the fight the elders had in bringing South Africa so far despite the rapidly declining real credibility the ANC has left. There is maturity here. Well yes Israel hasn’t got there yet and all its people should be affected by the pressure of countries like South Africa to change.

      There was a time a white South African couldn’t open their mouth without being accused of being racist, and for better nor can a Jew at the moment without being accused of being an oppressor, this is Israel’s fault. Blatantly continue building settlments on the West bank even declaring expantion of them in the middle of “peace talks”..
      Come it’s the cross to bear for freeheid, a few mindless slogans from uneducated rouges isn’t going to make the anti Israeli…

    • Anton

      Protest any less valid.

    • ConCision

      Speaking of pot
      Affecting one’s thinking
      Wot kinda pot are you smoking?

    • Yendys

      I don’t think ” dumping the army” would go down very well since if that would occur Israel wouldn’t last the week out.

    • Baz

      Dumping the army ….what a lot of huey! Every country must have armed forces ready and able during peacful times in case their country is threatened.
      Every country should concentrate on their on internal domestic problems and move forward without all this mud slinging towards other neighbouring states. This racism & oppressor cards are now REALLY wearing thin. Cut the crap and be part of of the solution …Enough said.

    • Anton

      @Baz ya is it unlikely that the Israeli army would side with its own people? They would have to take sides government or the people. So no Israeli Spring then just more of the same shticky shmalz.

    • Tofolux

      @Ben , here is a scenario that we are expecting to happen. America, Israel, Saudi Arabia are using Al Qaeda rebels in Syria to destabilise that region. (wonder what the family of 9/11 is thinking of America’s old partner Al Qaeda). America will strike and Israel will launch its own firepower. Israel will be engaged in the War from day one. Russia and its allies will defend Syria and will engage Israel. The Israeli war in the Middle East on the oil fields will last for a long time. Everyone knows that Israel is at the centre of all the Middle East problems and we know that the attack on Syria is to get to Iran yep and this by Israel. Iran will be engaged because they know that it is their only opportunity to deal with their own defence of their borders. The turnaround of public opinion in this war will cost America and its allies greatly and it is at this point when your leverage on the World will loosen. The lies and manufacturing of facts has become unacceptable and now that we have a challenge on IMF, on the dollar and on the World economy, we are set to enter a different World scenario. This is most welcome noting that there are those who know that Al Qaeda is a “terrorist force” created by some who have used this army to destabilise the Middle East and overthrow democratically elected govts. Why the press have not picked up on their Saudi and American connection is just diabolical. But what is most unaceptable is the propaganda war some continue to wage on us.