Sunday, 1 September 2013

BDS: Dubai and South Africa

Cross-post from Harry's Place by Sarah AB

Here’s news of two disturbing cases of BDS in action.  The first is more uncertain, as Elder of Ziyon is now reporting that the International Federation of Television Archives (IFTA) is denying it has discriminated against Israel, so I’ll look out for further updates on the story.  But what has been claimed is that the creators of ‘Israel: A Home Movie’ were told their film had been dropped from an international film competition because Dubai, where the awards ceremony is to take place, has no diplomatic relations with Israel:
…Two months ago Bernstein was officially informed that the film, which is known as “Kach Ra’inu” in Hebrew and directed by Eliav Lilti, had made it to the finals. A jury chose it as one of the nine best movies and the film was in the running in the “Preservation and special use of archival material” category, against two competing movies. The notice invited the filmmakers to attend or send a representative to the October 26 award ceremony. The ceremony is held in a different country every year, and Dubai was chosen as this year’s location.
However, two weeks ago Bernstein was informed that the invitation had been withdrawn and his film had been removed from the competition. “This is an international organization of which Israel [through the state broadcaster Channel 1] is a member,” Bernstein said Thursday. “The total disqualification of the film followed pressure from the authorities in Dubai, which are hosting and funding this year’s conference,” he said.
The second case relates to protests from supporters of BDS South Africa at a concert given by Israeli musician Daniel Zamir at Wits University.  Although some protestors were peaceful, others were aggressive:
“You have the blood of Palestine children on your jersey,” shouted a protester to a woman who was walking in to the concert area.
“ You have blood on your hands. You think you can use our university to cleanse your image,” said another protester.
And some were unambiguously antisemitic:
At some point the protesters threw papers at concert attendees as they arrived. They also sang, “dubula e juda” (“shoot the Jew”), and chanted “there is no such thing as Israel” and “Israel apartheid” as the concert attendees were coming in.
Muhammed Desai, co-ordinator of BDS South Africa, could have roundly condemned these chants, or at least distanced his group from them.  But instead he tried to excuse them:
Desai said many African people in South Africa when using the word “Jews” meant it in the same way they would have during the eighties. “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”.
He said there was no evidence of Jews being harmed because of anti-Semitic impulses, – “the whole idea anti-Semitism is blown out of proportion”.  He said if there were anti-Semitic sentiments they would flatly challenge it even if it came from within their protest.
The ‘kill the Boer’ song has been judged hate speech by South Africa’s high court.  And I’m not sure at what point someone who doesn’t think ‘kill the Jew’ is antisemitic would start to ‘flatly challenge … anti-Semitic sentiments’.

Some BDS supporters have condemned Desai’s comments. 


Howie Adds: Simon Schama's new five part series The Story of the Jews starts on BBC 2 at 9:00 tonight Sunday 1st September

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