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A leader of the South African Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel justified calls to "shoot the Jew" during a protest last Wednesday at a concert by an Israeli musician, saying he wasn't speaking of all Jews, but just those who subjugated Palestinians, the Jerusalem Post reported
Protesters, who gathered at Wits University in Johannesburg last Wednesday in opposition to a performance by jazz saxophonist Daniel Zamir, screamed slogans at concertgoers including "Israel is apartheid" and "down, down Israel." Some also threw paper at the Jewish attendees.
The comments were condemned by University Vice Chancellor Adam Habib and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD). But BDS coordinator Muhammed Desai defended the call to shoot Jews and told a student newspaper that the word "Jews" was not meant in a literal fashion.
The call to kill Jews was "just like you would say kill the Boer at [a] funeral during the ‘80s," Desai said. He added that slogan "wasn't about killing white people" but about identifying supporters of the apartheid regime.
The call for shooting Jews "unmistakably shows . . . that BDS-SA’s real agenda is not to stand up for the Palestinian cause but to incite hatred, and possibly even violence, against Jewish South Africans," SAJBD National Chairman Mary Kluk said.
In a statement sent to the Post on Monday, 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."
Esack wrote 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."
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