South African Jewish Board of Deputies national director Wendy Kahn (middle) sits on a panel during the Strategic Affairs Ministry's GC4I conference, June 21, 2018..
(photo credit: EJC/TWITTER)
Several South African celebrities have come under heavy fire from BDS and anti-Israel lobbyists for showing their support for Israel following the violence on the Gaza border.
Supermodel and brand ambassador Shashi Naidoo is the latest victim.
Naidoo defended Israel’s actions in Gaza and explained the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a factual manner. However, during her explanation, she called Gaza a “shithole” due to the way Hamas is running the Strip. She said that the international aid and money given was being used for rockets instead of housing, schools and better infrastructure.
Following her comments, Naidoo said on Sunday that she received 10 death threats, and was intimidated, threatened and dropped by several of the brands she represented.
After the death threats, Naidoo issued an apology for her comments. She has since been coerced by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement into holding a press conference where she agreed to go on a trip with the organization.The Jerusalem Post
spoke with several South African and international figures at the Strategic Affairs Ministry’s GC4I conference about the situation, which was brought up several times during panel discussions.
South African Jewish Board of Deputies national director Wendy Kahn said the attack on Naidoo and other South African celebrities was an infringement on the South African constitution – the right to freedom of expression.
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Kahn whipped out a little book of the constitution, which she carries around with her, showing the Post which rights were infringed upon and continue to be because of threats and intimidation from BDS supporters.
“Because she expressed her opinion [about Israel], they tried to destroy her career and threatened to kill her – she was beaten into submission. She has become a puppet [for BDS],” Kahn said. “We as South African citizens need to start standing up... we need to call them [BDS and its supporters] out for what they are – authoritarian... they are trying to control what people say, think and choose.”
Michelle Rojas-Tal from the Jewish Agency for Israel said that BDS tactics were shameful and that what was happening to Naidoo was very sad. “To be attacked personally is hurtful. People have their own minds... As an artist, model [and] musician you need to remember that your artistic form is for you as an individual – that is you expressing you. By going against something that they feel and allowing someone else to dictate to them, they are going against that foundation they stand for.”
Arsen Ostrovsky, a wellknown human rights lawyer and executive director of the Israeli-Jewish Congress told the Post
that such behavior – threats and intimidation against celebrities, musicians and the Argentinean soccer team – “exposes the facade BDS really is, especially when they claim to stand for peace and justice... It reveals their real face. They don’t care about Palestinian rights.”
“They stand against coexistence and peace and we need to call them out on this,” he added.
Meanwhile, at the BDS conference with Naidoo on Wednesday, BDS South Africa chairman Farid Esack said that the purpose of this presser was “in general [so that] people learn to exercise greater caution. There aren’t many people... who are going to be hastening with quotes defending colonialism for example – and there’s a reason for that.”
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