SA Organisations

IAW Day#1: "A pathetically poor show”

SAUJS’ “Give Peace Wings” campaign aimed at telling the true story in the face of the IAW campaign of US-based NGO Boycott, Divest & Sanction Israel would appear to have put the latter to shame on Monday. Read our reports from Wits, UJ, Stellenbosch and UCT, how Rhodes almost didn’t happen until the students saved the day, and the zaidas who went into the lions’ den at UJ…
by ANT KATZ | Mar 11, 2014

SAJR Online will be running daily reports on the activities of Jewish students (SAUJS) backed up by organisational Jewry in their "Give Peace Wings" campaign aimed at telling the true story in the face of the Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) campaign of the US-based NGO Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel (BDS).

And, by all accounts, the score after Day-one was Peace=1 and IAW=0 throughout the country. Read on for news from Wits, UJ, Stellenbosch, UCT and Rhodes.

IAW-Day1 CT - SAUJS member
A SAUJS member in the "Adam" tent

The SA Zionist Federation Cape Council chair Ben Levitas told SAJR Online today that "IAW put on a pathetically poor show at UCT on Monday." Levitas says that all the IAW supporters could do was to "play the victims and shout that we rich Jews have a big fancy tent."

While SAUJS’ effort at UCT was "quite amazing," Levitas’ reading is that "IAW’s effort on campus was a complete flop!"

Take a bow SAUJS UCT

Carla Frumer is the National Zionist Officer for SAUJS and running anti-IAW activities on the UCT campus this week. Cape SAUJS chair Luigi Bonfig is running IAW at Rhodes until Wednesday (SEE BELOW).

IAW-Day1 CT - Eteopian Israeli students
LEFT: Two of the contingent of Israeli students, both of Ethiopian origin, in 'Abraham's tent'

Carla reports as follows from UCT: "Day One of IAW: in my opinion was a major success for us. We engaged with many students and had Israeli students from StandWithUs and some Israel-Ethiopian students help us out.

"We used last year's idea of Abraham's tent in order to create a comfortable, inviting and non-hostile environment on campus where students can discuss Israel in a constructive manner," says Carla Frumer.

"The concept of Abraham's tent comes from the bible: When Abraham lived in the desert he had a tent open on all sides and would invite weary travellers to rest in his tent.

"He would take care of them, make them feel welcome together with his wife Sarah, and would treat his guests with the utmost hospitality, humility and respect.

"This is the kind of atmosphere we hope to create during IAW," she told SAJR on Monday evening, promising to keep SAJR updated. Carla also supplied the pictures.

Israel - dont LONG


After the fiasco over IAW which cost Rhodes dearly last year, SAUJS reformed a branch on the campus for the first time in many years.

But Rhodes looked like it was about to fall apart for SAUJS, said Levitas today, after the SAUJS organiser broke a leg. But that didn’t put the students off and SAUJS’ UCT chair, Luigi Bonfig – together with a member of the US group StandWithUs undertook what Ben Levitas described as "an epic journey" to Grahamstown.

Initially, says Levitas, Rhodes were not keen to allow the reinforcements on campus, nor were they prepared to let SAUJS put up posters.

That, too, didn’t daunt the students’ determination. They quickly established that BDS had put up posters without obtaining prior permission and, as they too were not sanctioned, Rhodes gave SAUJS permission to remove all of BDS’ posters.

SAUJS were eventually granted permission to erect a gazebo and distribute information on Israel.


Stellenbosch University decided to restrict IAW-related events on campus this year to just two events - IAW have an event this afternoon, which Levitas and some Israeli students are attending, and SAUJS get their chance to respond on Thursday afternoon. SAJR will report on both meetings.

Wits, too, was a damp squib

By all accounts the "Give Peace Wings" programme is far larger than that of IAW on SA’s most politicised campus. This is likely the result of the no-nonsense,

hard-hitting approach of Vice Chancellor professor Adam Habib who has launched a determined campaign to stamp out the hooliganism of the past.

SAJR photographer Ilan Ossendrywer said that the IAW representation on Monday was pitiful, while the SAUJS campaign was working wonders and attracting a lot of attention.

One of the coups for SA Jewry this year was bringing in ex-Ethiopian Israeli Jewish girls who are all officers in the IDF as well as students at an Israeli University. Ossendrywer said that he had seen a number of Muslim students engaging with the girls at Wits.

Launch of Israeli Apartheid Week in S.Africa with Simphiwe Dana, Mayor of Johannesburg Parks Tau, Former South African Ambassador to Israel, representatives of national organizations and others [Sunday, 9 March 2014]

Let’s talk Dialogue not Delegitimisation

National chair,

The language we use and the way in which we frame a situation defines our everyday reality. If we frame something in the positive as opposed to the negative it is very likely to change the outcome of the situation; and that in principle is one of the underlying issues that I have with the week known as "Israel Apartheid week."

Putting aside the fact that the claim that Israel is analogous to Apartheid South Africa is an insult to the very real struggle that the South African people underwent during Apartheid (in addition to being utterly false),the very title "Israel Apartheid week" presents a foregone conclusion that completely excludes the dialogue it claims to support.

This week rather than promoting a constructive dialogue regarding how a constructive solution can be reached in the Middle East incites hatred, violence and anti-Semitism. Now don’t wilfully misunderstand me-I am not saying that there are no issues in the Middle East, or that differences of opinion are not desirable, however creating a week of hate doesn’t solve any problems. It merely incites more hatred and violence and the cycle continues.

Every year on campus many students dread this infamous week because during it they feel that it provides a platform where criticisms evolve into discrimination. Hence this year the South African Union of Jewish students are running a campaign called give peace wings in the spirit of constructive dialogue, and we implore all students not to fall prey to the myth that hating those with a different opinion to yours is the only way to solve a conflict.

In the words of Nelson Mandela-"If you want to make peace with your enemy you have to work with your enemy. Then He becomes your partner". So don’t fall prey to the rhetoric, rather join SAUJS wits in giving peace wings.

Lukud sent the ‘zaidas’ to UJ

On Monday night Likud-SA chair, Leon Reich together with members Sergio Kowensky and Basil Platzky attended a BDS-hosted talk at UJ by Israeli author Miko Peled who, said one SAUJS member who asked not to be named, "appears to be on a book tour to sell his books." Peled wrote "The General's Son."

Reich Leon"His talk dealt with the history from 1948 as seen by the PLO and was full of inaccuracies," Reich told the SAJR Online today, "he didn’t deal with Apartheid in SA and what he called Apartheid in Israel – he just made sweeping general statements."

Likud-SA chair Leon Reich

Reich says the turnout was poor and there were 170-odd chairs and only 120 attended.

When it came to question time, says Leon, Basil stood up and called Peled a liar "and he told him that the information he was giving was wrong," says Reich. "Sergio and I asked him not to get involved, but Basil said that he had come to insult Peled and he intended to do so."

We were in the fourth row – the crowd behind us were in uproar. The chair and two members of the committee got up and waved their hands up and down to quieten the audience. The chair asked them to speak and through the chair.

After the meeting, says Reich, he went to speak to the chair, bought a book and gave his e-mail address after the chair assured him she would get him to see the real truth.

IAW-Day1 CT - Israeli students & StandWithUs reps FULL
Israeli and US students at UCT Monday to support SAUJS


  1. 8 Gary Selikow 12 Mar
    'you stole their land' , 'You killing Palestinian kids' 'you are an Apartheid regime' , 'Israelis are war criminals', 'Israelis are fascists' At the end of the day all the pro-Palestine/Burn Israel/BDS lobby has are repeated cliches WICH ARE NOT TRUE
  2. 7 adam levy 13 Mar
    I  went to Tuesday and Wednesday's events at UCT. The rowdy individuals were the Zionists who failed to respect meeting protocol, attempted to hijack the floor, show disrespect to the chairperson and introduced all kinds of red-herrings. Alan Fishers facts are taken from a story book and is not documented in any historical or archival text. Peled is a brave man - who went against his indoctrination to be able to see the other side and then the truth of the other side. Hope more of your readers can do the same and move beyond their own apartheid mindsets.Or and by the way both meetings were packed out!
  3. 6 Israeli 13 Mar

    I have one question for all at S.A.U.J.S.

    Give me one good reason why you continue to persist in staying in this country , even if there was no anti-Israel sentiment.

  4. 5 Beryl B. Bloch 15 Mar
    From fllowing all of them on Jewish sites in the past:

    Selikow is a rightwing Zionist

    Levy is either not a Jew or a Jew-hating Jew
    Israeli is a SA-Israel-SA Jew becos he thinks hes the only one of 80 thousend who has a good reason to be.

    Why do all of you think only your opinion of history counts for everything?

    Ive got news for you all. There are 20 thousend born Israelis living in SA by choice making life better for themselves and SA. Thats not my opinion evryone must follow. Its the truth. My family's among them.
  5. 4 Israeli 15 Mar

    So Beryl, now that you have analysed some of the users, please let us have some constructive opinions of your own on the issues at hand regarding S.African Jewry.

    In view of the very unfortunate events now taking place in Europe, especially the Ukraine, against Jews and Jewish institutions, I am of the opinion that young S.African Jews should focus their activities away from fighting anti-Semitism, and anti- Zionism, and seriously consider mapping out their future in their own Land.

    Beryl, Even if there were a million Israelis living in the galut trying to better themselves and their families, this does not deter from the fact that the exile is over, and the Diaspora is "dead in the water"

    This is not an opinion, but the truth. There is no enduring, meaningful contribution to our spiritual life to which Diaspora Jewry can take credit. When the history of our times will be written, Diaspora orthodoxy will probably be credited with no more than a footnote.

    By the way, have you asked the "20,000" Israelis living here if they are really happy to be living in exile.

  6. 3 Beryl B. Bloch 17 Mar
    What a silly question you end with. Of course they are here because they WANT to be. They can go hiome any time thay want to and Id think most of them will eventually.

    By the way, do you know tht you are one of very many Olim who have returned to SA? I am one. Were they really happy to be living in Israel? Were you?

    Do we not all have our reasons and rights to live where we want?
  7. 2 Israeli 17 Mar

    First off Beryl, I use a nom-de-plum, because the editor has chosen to forbid any comments in my name.

    Any way this article we are debating is not about me or you or olim or yerudim. It is about the future of South African Jewry, especially the young students.

    Would it not be great if our students did not have this dark shadow of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism continuously hovering over them. Of course each Jew will determine his own future, but is not the duty of our Religious and lay leaders to point out the dangers of choosing to remain in such a hostile environment.

    For the first time in nearly 2000 years young Jewish people have the choice of living their lives in their own sovereign state, something their ancestors never had. Should they not be made aware of this? Are we not reminded nearly every day of the rising anti-Semitism in the Diaspora?

  8. 1 adam levy 03 Apr

    I respect your views. But tell me one thing that i have said that makes me a self-hating Jew. Opposing Zionist and its attendant racism does not define my Jewishness as it does not for most of the Jews in the diaspora. Our lives are lived as loyal citizens of whichever state we live in contributing to the larger civilisation  that we are all part of, and identities that we construct us, and not some parochial navel-gazing that is typical of 'Israeli'.

    if his passion and loyalty is to Israel then let him leave our country and emigrate - hopefully never to be seen again.


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