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September 6, 2017 6:19 pm

Arriving for Volunteer Project, Cape Town Jewish High School Students Confronted by Anti-Zionist Slogans

avatar by Ben Cohen

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Anti-Zionist slogans on display at Cape Town’s Vista High School on September 5, 2017.

Jewish high school volunteers in Cape Town were confronted by anti-Zionist posters and slogans when they arrived at a public school in the city on Tuesday to participate in an ambitious building project.

The students, from the Herzlia School, represent an ongoing outreach project to Vista High, a public secondary school. Herzlia students have undertaken to upgrade Vista High’s library, build a playground area and engage in learning exchanges. But when they arrived at the campus, they were confronted by what a senior member of staff told parents was “a number of anti-Zionist posters” prominently displayed in the office window of Vista High’s deputy principal.

Among the slogans on display was “Yes to Judaism, No to Zionism” – a favorite theme of the tiny anti-Zionist Neturei Karta sect that has been adopted by the global BDS movement – and “Israel is a terrorist state guilty of ethnic cleansing in Palestine.”

“These posters were clearly designed to offend, resulting in our pupils and staff feeling extremely uncomfortable,” Geoff Cohen, Herzlia’s Director of Education, wrote in his note to parents. After being alerted to the posters, Cohen went to Vista High School where he demanded to see the principal. The principal told Cohen that both she and the Vista High students were deeply appreciative of Herzlia’s outreach, placing the blame for the posters squarely on her deputy principal. According to Cohen, the deputy principal was “completely intransigent” despite being repeatedly asked to remove the posters.

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Cohen praised the Herzlia students for “getting on with the job at hand showing incredible maturity, dignity and diplomacy.” At no point did students or staff face any physical danger, he said.

“Our pupils and teachers continued with the project in high spirits and mixed amicably with the Vista pupils,” Cohen said. “I have never been so proud of our pupils!”

But Tuesday’s incident has nonetheless resulted in a suspension of the Vista High building project. Cohen said the suspension would be lifted if the deputy principal apologizes, the offending posters are removed, and the school’s principal clearly endorses the project with Herzlia.

Vista High’s deputy principal has been identified as Ismail Esau, whose Facebook page displays a Palestinian flag flying atop the Al Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

Among the causes linked to by Esau from his Facebook page is an online petition entitled “Stop Killing the Children of Palestine!!” Among the conspiracy theories promoted by the petition is the claim that Israel operates spies at the “highest levels” of the US government and the charge that “Israel uses torture routinely in jails (only against non-Jews of course).”

Cohen emphasized in his communication with parents that Herzlia “is a proudly and unashamedly Zionist school…we do not tolerate malicious and mischievous anti-Zionist rhetoric.”



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  • ticha bm

    “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

    Nelson Mandela

  • robert Davis

    The students should give up their building project altogether to show anti zionist atttudes will NOT be tolerated no matter what. Anyway cape town is a lost cause and should be left to decay and turn into an african lousy suburb place for a miserable population in future.

  • Nuritg

    South Africa, once a good friend of Israel turned anti-Israel-anti-Semitic, Durban Conference junk, derogatively labeling Israeli product. There was a saying while apartheid was the rule, if the white people in South Africa had no problem with the black people – apartheid – they will turn against the Jews. How right they the saying was, it turned true.

  • Ita

    1) Why in the world would you send our students to a school where you know the vice principal is a rabid Anti-Semite.
    2) What kind of a profram is it where you do not send an advance team to publicize wht the incoming students are coming and what all the advantages are.

    It’s called PR. Something anti-semites are very good at.

  • F&R

    I don’t understand why the deputy principal hasn’t been fired.

  • bigrobtheactor

    Build it right their faces, add to the original plan. No whining about “apologies.” If you don’t it will be seen correctly as a surrender.

  • enufizenuf

    Gee, and to think of all those liberal Jews who worked so hard to get full rights for the blacks in South Africa! Why, it’s almost the same situation as how so many of the blacks have turned against Jews in the USA after the Jews went to considerable lengths to fight for equal rights for them. There a lesson to be learned here, if you wind up helping people who will never be able to achieve what you have, they are going to wind up hating you. Enough already, Jews should abandon the blacks and the rest of the leftist special interest and minority groups of the Democrat Party before they find themselves stuck in a party which will soon be filled with people who despise Jews and the State of Israel.