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April 8, 2021 1:08 pm

Outrage as South African BDS Advocate Tells Students, ‘Hitler Committed No Crime’

avatar by Ben Cohen

Supporters of the South African BDS campaign rally in Johannesburg on May 31, 2019. Photo: Screenshot

A prominent South African supporter of the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” campaign that opposes the legitimacy of the State of Israel is under investigation by the University of Cape Town (UCT) for delivering a lecture to students in which he defended Adolf Hitler.

In a pre-recorded lecture shared online with first-year political science students, Lwazi Lushaba — a lecturer at UCT’s Department of Political Studies — asserted: “Hitler committed no crime. All Hitler did was to do to white people what white people had normally reserved for black people.”

Lushaba’s comment — which became public as South Africa’s Jewish community marked Yom Hashoah, the annual day of Holocaust remembrance — was described by a spokesperson for UCT as a matter of “grave concern.”

“We are verifying all the facts,”  Elijah Moholola told the TimesLIVE news outlet. “In the meantime, the university is clear that all brutalities of genocide constitute both formal crimes against humanity and ongoing sources of pain. We distance ourselves very strongly from any other view.”

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Lushaba is known as a supporter of the academic boycott of the State of Israel who appended his signature to a petition that resulted in the University of Johannesburg breaking ties with Israel’s Ben Gurion University in 2011.

One Jewish student at UCT, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he had been deeply disturbed by Lushaba’s apologia for the Nazi dictator.

“Hitler didn’t just persecute Jews. He also persecuted black people, [Roma] and disabled people. Six million people died in the Holocaust and the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day has been a part of my life,” said the student, whose great-grandfather was murdered by the Nazis.

He added: “To think that the comment that Hitler committed no crime would ever fly and not become an issue is insane.”

Other students told TimesLIVE that Lushaba had developed a reputation for hate speech. “For anyone interested, Lushaba has been saying similarly egregious things since he got his doctorate,” said one student, while another claimed, “any time he gets hauled before the powers that be, he claims either racism or free speech.” In one episode in 2019, Lushaba received a reprimand after he stomped on ballot boxes and became physically violent towards colleagues when his preferred candidate failed to  be elected as UCT’s Dean of Humanities.

The chairman of the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) said he was “shocked by the horrific and historically ignorant comments of Dr Lwazi Lushaba about Hitler.”

Rowan Polovin told The Algemeiner that his organization had not been surprised by the fact that Lushaba “is also a supporter of the academic boycott against Israel.”

Added Polovin: “It goes without saying that antisemitism and the BDS which gives it political cover must be condemned in the strongest fashion.”

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