Friday, March 23rd | 7 Nisan 5778


Be in the know!

Get our exclusive daily news briefing.

October 11, 2013 3:26 pm

BDS Leader in South Africa Calls on Supporters to ‘Shoot the Jews’

avatar by Victor Gordon

Email a copy of "BDS Leader in South Africa Calls on Supporters to ‘Shoot the Jews’" to a friend

A Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) protest against Israel. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Germans have a word – ‘Schadenfreude’ – which, loosely translated, means to take satisfaction in the discomfort of another. This is exactly what many South African Jews are feeling as we witness Nathan Geffen, Doron Isaacs, Stephen Friedman et al., try to scramble and disassociate themselves from the anti-Semitic utterances of their bedfellow Muhammed Desai, who recently led crowds in a rendition of the chilling mantra, “Shoot the Jew.”

Anyone sufficiently naïve to think that this noble call to action died with the defeat of the Nazis has received a clear signal that it continues to exist, even amongst those who are openly supported by members of our very own community.

Not that this comes as any surprise to those of us who can tell the difference between fact and fiction. The depth of the hatred directed at Jews both in South Africa and abroad, if not clearly evident, lies just beneath the surface, waiting to pop out at the slightest provocation.

Before I’m accused of oversensitivity as the target of a supposedly innocuous chant calling for my death, allow me to remind Desai that the equally harmless call to “Kill the Boer” contributed to a fair number of murders of white farmers over the past two decades.

There is little more unpredictable than the actions of an uncontrolled mob.

Until now, Jewish supporters of the BDS campaign have ducked and dived behind the claim that the focus of their organization is primarily directed at Israel’s supposed ill-treatment of the Palestinians, and ending the occupation of the West Bank. The villain was always Zionism, never Jews as such.

Happy to work for a good, recognizable cause, many intrepid Jewish do-gooders climbed on board. Nothing makes one feel better than to have a banner to wave and an underdog to support, particularly when you’re doing it from the safety of an armchair thousands of kilometers away from the site of the action.

Despite the clear warning bells, which included some hostile, anti-Jewish comments from Zwelithini Vavi, Bongani Masuku, and that doyen of the ANC, Ahmed Kathrada, our brave, committed activists, chose to plow ahead. These threats were not directed at them; they were not a component of the target. After all, were they not the ‘good Jews’ with the good cause and the right friends?

Of course, the analogy is clear;: Germany 1933-45. There were no ‘good Jews,’ only good dead ones.

What a shock to suddenly find yourself on the outside looking in. What a strange sensation to have to face the cold reality of a leading light within the BDS movement, Muhammed Desai, defending the call to shoot Jews because, according to him, “the word ‘Jews’ was not meant in a literal fashion.”

In fact, Desai claimed that the call to kill Jews was “just like you would say kill the Boer at [a] funeral during the eighties [and] it wasn’t about killing white people, it was used as a way of identifying with the apartheid regime.”

Perhaps Desai can explain that to Amy Biehl, Dr. Melville Edelstein, and the 3,000 white farmers murdered in an orgy of killing following the acquisition of new-found freedom.

Desai should also explain how the word “Jews” can be used in any sense other than the “literal.”  It is certainly no verb, adverb, nor adjective.

One can only imagine the outcry and retribution that would follow were Jews to sing, “Kill the Muslim.”

What doesn’t appear to penetrate Desai’s limited intellect is that when a mob with a cause (however misguided) is presented with an appealing and emotive slogan, the line separating rhetoric from violence is thin indeed. Ask the millions of Jews who died in the pogroms of Eastern Europe.

In their scramble to either justify or condemn this embarrassing outrage, some strange things have been said which do no more than raise further questions. For example, Professor Farid Esack, writing on behalf of the board of BDS South Africa, expressed his opposition to “any and all incitement to violence and racism – including anti-Semitism and Zionism- even if it were to come from within our ranks.”

In the context of his statement, Esack is saying that “Zionism” should not be subject to racism. This is an open admission by Esak that Zionism is not the monster that it is portrayed as being, but is in fact the respectable movement that it is.

Thank you Dr. Esack! Your supporters will be delighted with your acknowledgment of Israel’s respectability.

However, ‘the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh.’ And close behind this admission, Esack ensures that we clearly understand that it is “unfortunate but not unexpected that supporters of Israel will focus on the singing of this song. …  [as the] purpose and context [of the protest] … were and remain the larger struggle against Israeli apartheid, Israel’s illegal Occupation and its violation of Palestinian rights.”

The fact that Israel’s occupation is, according to International Law, not illegal; that Israel does not practice apartheid by any stretch of the imagination; and that Palestinian rights may be being violated, but are violated more severely by the Palestinian Authority, is obviously not understood by Esack.

Esack’s claim that it is unfortunate that supporters of Israel will focus on the singing of the song prompts the question: “Unfortunate for who?”

Unfortunate for the veracity of the BDS movement, which sails on the so-called victories of ‘persuading’ visiting performers to cancel their tours of Israel through threats and coercion, or the visit by Professor Steven Hawkins, who has yet to explain how he can hypocritically allow himself to use an Israeli designed microchip that enables him to speak?

The victories of BDS are small and hollow, and, other than an inconvenience, do little to nothing in advancing the cause they claim to pursue. Their actions, as we have now seen, are grounded in bigotry, hatred, and intolerance. In calling for the killing of Jews, they have revealed the evil within their ranks and the corruption of their aims.

Another Jewish advocate of BDS, political analyst Professor Steven Friedman, has rushed to say, “A series of organizations that support the boycotts have made it clear they don’t think it’s a remotely acceptable slogan. … It is very important that those of us who support the boycott make it clear it’s about the denial of rights and the denial of self-expression and self-government for the Palestinian people. It’s not targeted at a particular ethnic group.”

But that’s not true, Professor, otherwise what was sung would not have been sung. What do you not understand about “Shoot the Jew?” All the spin in the world cannot change what has been said and against whom. Even as an avowed opponent of Israel, you, as a fellow Jew, must feel a little niggle of discomfort at the thought that such bigotry can surface so easily from the mouth of one of the leaders of an organization that you openly support.

Finally, prominent anti-Israel activists, Nathan Geffen and Doron Isaacs lamely bleat that, “Anti-Semitism, besides being personally insulting to us, scores an own-goal. It undermines the struggle for Palestinian freedom.”How touching. Perhaps you need to reassess who your real friends might be.

My closing question to those Jews who swell the ranks of BDS is simple:  With the identification of the undeniable true feelings of your fellow travelers, where is your self respect?

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter Email This Article

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner
  • Steve Apfel

    The lid was off; the emperor was stripped of his clothes, his unlovely soul bared to public gaze. Hence the ungainly scramble to higher ground. Farid Esack and company had to distance themselves from Dubula iJuda as far and as fast as they could. Frankenstein, their work of years, their indoctrinated monster taught to execrate devil Jews, had cut loose and was out of control.

  • Victor Gordon

    Gavin, I make no claim to be an authority on international law and base my belief that Israel’s occupation of the so-called Palestinian territories is not illegal on the knowlege of those recognised experts in this field. In this, I can only steer you to the outstanding 714-page work by Howard Grief, “The legal foundations and borders of Israel under International Law”. Howard Grief passed away very recently and an excellent obituary can be found on

    Further, may I respectfully suggest following up some excellent lectures by Prof. Eugene Kontorovich as well as Dr. Jacques Gauthier (check YouTube). Either, one accepts what these very erudite experts have to say, (all of which is backed up by undisputable and meticulously researched facts), or one does not. The one thing that has always stood out for me is that when those opposing Israel claim to base their argument on international law I have yet to find one who backs this up with a single statement of fact. They seem to believe that by throwing in this weighty term (International law) it gives their claim a certain gravitas that the average reader will never think of challenging. The same applies to the mantra, “Israel practises apartheid”. Sounds good, so who am I to question? However, if you have not lived in South Africa during the years 1948 – 1991 I would suggest that the vast majority have no idea of what apartheid actually means and how impossible it is for a full democracy like Israel to simultaneously practise a system like apartheid. Democracy and apartheid can not possibly co-exist. They are anathema to one another.

    • Gavin

      Thank you Victor, for your answer.

      I was born in (then) Rhodesia and have lived in South Africa under apartheid, I now live in Israel and understand that there is no apartheid here.

      Having said that, there are many South Africans, e.g. Tutu, who lived under apartheid oppression (i.e black)that do claim Israel practises apartheid. The reasons for this, in my opinion, lie in (a) being “politically correct,” (b) hatred, and (c)ignorance of the facts.

      The fact that these people throw their lot in with this rabble, adds much unneeded weight to their cause….

      The belief that throwing in the term “international law,” makes these claims somehow more “correct” is a major stumbling block in Hasbara, especially, when sites like wikipedia uphold them!

      Which brings me back to my original question, does the wiki need to be edited, and who is authoritative enough to do this?

  • Gavin

    I am confused, I have read many articles, and am also of the firm personal belief that Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria are not illegal, because, in my opinion, the so called “palestinians” repudiated any claim to that land when they declared war on Israel in 1948.

    I have also read many legal texts, including “who owns Jerusalem,” and the Levy report (not in their entireties though I must add) which support this position.

    This article, also supports that position – “The fact that Israel’s occupation is, according to International Law, not illegal etc….” brings me to the point about which I need clarification.

    Wikipedia (

    holds completely the opposite and much of what they write seems dependent upon resolutions passed by the U.N. although they also claim that this view is supported by Den Hague.

    Does the Wiki need to be edited, and who really is authoritative enough to do such editing ?

  • Karsten Bannier

    These so called “Jews” in the BDS are a disgrace & an absolute embarrassment to our people,here in SA and the world over. G-d forbid I should meet one at our shul,I would spit in there face !!!

  • judorebbe

    To my “progressive friends” – So, you still think that BDS is about “Israel”? Really?

  • Sandy Brown

    I really detest these anti-semetics. They need to get a life.

    • Jill McNiff

      It’s so easy to target Israel and Jews, claiming Israel is an apartheid state and the Palestinians have not any rights, etc. Divest, divest, divest. Never mind life saving technology is coming out of Israel at a faster pace than anywhere else on the planet. Never mind that Israeli farmers, doctors and engineers are feeding the world, caring for the sick from other countries ( first on the scene at the Haitian earthquake were Israeli drs) and of course we couldn’t be discussing this on the internet if it weren’t for the Israeli processors from Intel).
      But one thing that the pundits and so called liberals fail to address is the GENDER APARTHIED that exists in the Arab World. Why isn’t that targeted? Arab women in Israel have a lot more freedom than they do in the majority of Arab countries.
      Gender apartheid. Women as second class citizens. The Arab World.
      But we can’t live without oil, can we?

  • Bella

    ‘ First they came for ……

    Then they came for me,
    and there was no one left to speak for me.’
    (Pastor Martin Niemöller)

    … I’ve always thought it would be much better if it were the other way around…

    “First they came for the BDS people,
    then they came for the ‘Shoot the Jews’ people,
    then they came for other racists and warmongers,
    and then we looked..’And saw that it was Good'”

    …. but the BDS, racists and butchers and murderers seem to be winning all over the world, so we must be doing something wrong, or it’s simply a way to keep world population numbers down.

    The world we are leaving our kids is terrifying.

  • Terrorism is the response of an inferior culture whose leadership feels itself threatened by the loss of popular confidense. The technology, scholarship, and politics of the Western peoples was not a concern in Islam as long as it was contained by the Communist power of the USSR. But, soon after the collapse of the Communist system in 1991, al qaeda terror commenced with the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. The Imams feared that the American model had to be discredited or Islam would lose face. Terrorism, being the cheapest and easiest form of machismo, it was chosen. Military victory is the proven tactic to reinforce religious conviction.
    Israel’s success internationally is the greatest threat now perceived by the Muslim powers of the Middle East. The plight of so-called Palestinians does not move these powers who could have solved this problem long ago. The Palestinians are mere pawns in their game.
    It is, however, sad to witness the wretched ignorance in academe of what is at stake now in the Middle East.

  • newsel

    To paraphrase:

    “My closing question to those Jews who swell the ranks of the (Obama faction) is simple: With the identification of the undeniable true feelings of your fellow travelers, where is your self respect?”

    It boggles the mind.

  • Fred

    Do the BDS adherents. Rant at Syrias abysmal treatment of its citizen. Do they rant at the dismal treatment of the Coptic Christians in Egypt. Do they rant about the murder of Christians in Pakistan. Do they rant at open slavery in Arab Gulf Countries. Do the rant about the Sectarian murders in Irak. Do they rant at religiously approve paedophilia in Islamic countries.

  • Ron

    Once again, the warped-minded “leaders” of the cesspool of hate known as South Africa are bleeding that nation of anything even remotely resembling a sense of humanity, decency and self-respect. And the Jews who are supporting BDS, whether in South Africa or any other country, who would even dare to show their faces and identify themselves as Jews in virtually any Arab country would soon learn the irony of their ignorance. It is simply breathtaking that Jews would center their senses upon what they believe is inequality in Judea and Samaria, knowing that Israel is the singular nation whose citizens represent the very best of ethical and moral values. The mantra sung by Mr. Desai and his supporters, including Desmond Tutu and the rest of the hordes of Jew haters, as well as self-loathing Jews, is as clear as Krystallnacht. Only this time the Jews will make certain that those who might attempt to eradicate them simply because they’re Jews will feel the harsh sting of retribution.

  • Mel

    What does a Sadist do to hurt a Masochist? Nothing at all!