Anti-Israel activists in South Africa have taken their hostility to the Jewish state to a new extreme.
At a protest organized by “BDS South Africa” last Wednesday at Johannesburg’s Wits University, some demonstrators were heard to sing “dubula ijuda” — meaning, “shoot the Jew”.
Initially, the protest organizers defended the singing, and one of them was quoted as saying that the phrase was not meant literally.
But after a media firestorm, the leaders of the organization changed course and distanced themselves from the singing. In an official statement, BDS South Africa now says “Given our history of work against racism, including anti-Semitism, we unequivocally distance ourselves from the singing of this song and its sentiments.”
While this is, of course, a positive development, it did take six days for the organization to issue its statement. And nowhere does it acknowledge that the extreme anti-Israel rhetoric common in the pro-Palestinian movement in South Africa (and elsewhere) may have contributed to an atmosphere where people felt comfortable singing about shooting Jews.
It is not clear what the relationship is between “BDS South Africa” and unions in the country, though in the past the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has promoted pro-BDS activities, including those featuring the leader of this organization, Professor Farid Esack. Its statements continue to support the BDS campaign and it does not seem to have joined the public condemnations of the anti-Semitic singing last week.