Personal tribute to a friend and ally – the renowned journalist, publisher and lover of Israel who passed away in Johannesburg South Africa in November 2018.
By Kathy Kaler, CEO and host of Afternoon Drive Show, Chai FM
Being a radio presenter, I consider myself privileged. I get to engage with thousands of people daily via ChaiFM. People share their opinions, fears and hopes with me – daily. And all are important and yet most of our listeners I will never meet.
Except for Moses Moyo!
His text messages came in to the Morning Mayhem almost every morning since 2013 until his sudden passing.
Moses’ messages were frequently in defence of Israel while at other times comments about service delivery in Johannesburg, but most often they were song requests – Yaakov Shwekey, Moshe Peretz or Benny Friedman.
He signed them all ‘Moshe’.
It was only when I received a video of Moses singing along (to Benny Friedman’s “Mazal and Brocha” nogal!!) that I realised I was engaging with someone from “outside” our often-insular community.
But I was wrong.
Moses Moyo was someone very much engaged in the Jewish community.
On every level.
He loved our culture, our music, our religious rites, our traditions and even our quirks.
And he loved Israel. Passionately.
Moses understood profoundly, the importance of the Jewish state, not only to Jews but what Israel means to the world and her place in the greater scheme of things.
Always interested in hearing the human stories, I took the initiative to call Moses up one day and invite him for a cup of coffee. And that was where our friendship began.
In a little coffee shop in Glenhazel. It was 2014.
I came to know Moses as a great defender of the underdog – whether he was standing up for Israeli actions to defend her borders or the plight of African asylum seekers in Hillbrow. Moses stood for truth and all that was right in the world. It is no secret. Anyone who knew him will tell you that.
A year ago, Moses planned to run the Jerusalem Marathon as part of the DL Link #RunForRecovery team. Due to issues with his passport, he had to forego the 2018 Marathon but had it on his radar to run this year. Moses was incredibly positive and for him it was just a postponement.
Little did anyone know…
In October last year, while listening to the Morning Mayhem on ChaiFM I heard about Moses’ untimely death. Like so many others who knew him, I was filled with disbelief. And sadness. And loss. Not only had I personally lost a friend, but as a Jewish and Zionist community, we had all lost an ally.
After his passing, the Jewish Community started fundraising for Moses’ children’s education.
Education… A tree of knowledge, right? The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) and the Jewish National Fund (JNF) will also be planting a tree in Israel in Moses Moyos’ name. I will be at that ceremony. Two trees. A tree of knowledge for his children in the form of the trust fund and a physical tree in the Holy Land.
Moses would have loved that.
What a testament it is to our community organisations to honour a wonderful man who was so loyal to our community and did so much to bring Christian and Jewish Zionists together.
This year I am part of the Jerusalem Marathon 2019 DL Link #RunForRecovery team. I will be running the 10km Marathon.
This morning I went for my early morning run on the streets of Jerusalem, and as I ran down Ben Yehuda into Jaffa road – my tears flowed.
And I let them.
They were tears for Moses Moyo.
They were tears of Gratitude.
Of Simply Being Alive. (Eventually I had to decide whether to run or cry – doing both is near impossible).
So, I ran.
This Friday I will be running for Moses Moyo to complete what he wasn’t able to.
My official DL Link racing shirt (yes, apparently a Marathon is a race!) has his name on the back along with the names of the two other warriors for whom I am running. The red DL Link Jerusalem Marathon 2019 Tour T-shirts have his name on the shirt of all 85 runners on the team.
Because we are all Moses Moyo
Champions of the Underdog. Pursuers of Truth. And Proud Zionists.
Onward and Upward. Always.
More on Moyo (By the Editor)
Moyo was the founder and chairperson of ‘Friends of the Inner-city Forum’, a community-based organisation in the inner city of Johannesburg. He was also a founding director of Ekuphumuleni hospice. He played an important role in the creation of Tirisano Inner-city Housing Co-operative – an initiative to help people buy flats in the inner-city of Johannesburg on a rent-to-buy basis.
He was a reporter with Eyewitness News.
Moyo was a pro-Israel activist and raised money by offering to run in the Jerusalem Marathon for the DL link, a cancer survivor organisation.
Moyo was the Deputy President of the Association of Independent Publishers.
Kathy Kaler is the CEO 0f Chai FM, a Johannesburg based radio station and is host of the Afternoon Drive Show.
The history of the Jewish people and that of many African countries is more similar than it is different. There are some striking parallels – tribal allegiances, love of the indigenous land and a shared history of persecution and colonialism.
In the fledgling days before the founding of the modern State of Israel, Jews fought to end the British mandate that effectively colonized their ancient land.
It was with philosophy that both the founder of modern Zionism, Theodore Herzl and Israel’s first Prime Minister, Golda Meir, recognized that the Jewish state was the natural partner to help beleaguered African countries.
They recognized the shared desires of the African people as well as the Jews to live free in their homelands and respected the national liberation movements of the time, sensing a mutual desire to that of their own Zionist ideals. Zionism after all, is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people.
But today, much like in many other parts of the world, anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head on the continent. A continent that has suffered more than its own share of discrimination and persecution.
From the north to the south
Many would be surprised to find out that there once were thriving Jewish communities in many countries across the continent and while communities are sparse in sub-Saharan Africa, in Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt, they once flourished.
The Lemba of Southern Africa, the Igbo of Nigeria, Ethiopan Jews, the Abuyudaya of Uganda and the Sephardi and Ashkenazi of Europe, many of whom settled in Africa to escape persecution and who can forget the Mizrahi Jews of Arab countries, who were forced to flee Islamic rulers.
Due to rising anti-Semitism and poverty, these communities barely exist anymore. Outside of South Africa which has the largest community on the continent, there were communities in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, Zaire (the Democratic Republic of Congo) and Zimbabwe. While many left for Israel, others left for Europe or elsewhere.
The continent’s massive poverty rates and political turmoil in the late 20th century led to some African national leaders blaming Jews for the problems of their countries which they claimed, “are operated by a conspiracy against the African race”. Anti-Semitism in Africa includes false rumors and allegations that the AIDS pandemic, was bioengineered by either the US, the United Nations or “the Jews” in a plot to exterminate millions of black Africans and that the disease is a part of the “Jewish” or “white Europeans’ maneuvers against Africa” or a continuous practice of “racial genocide”. African nations are prone to accept unreliable anti-Semitic reports and revisionist history that the slavery of black Africans in the new world was because of “Jewish merchants working for European colonial masters”. According to social scientists, these theories are appealing to some impoverished and downtrodden people without enough education to know the “Jewish conspiracy” myth is false and unprovable.
The South African story
In post-Apartheid South Africa, the Jewish community has not been spared. This is particularly troubling considering that the contribution made by the Jewish community during the Apartheid years was significant in the fight to end the racist regime. One famous example was that out of the 13 Rivonia trialists, 5 were Jewish.
Who can forget the inimitable Helen Suzman, the lone voice of opposition in parliament to the Apartheid government? Jewish and a woman to boot! Some of the greatest names to enter the pantheon of anti-Apartheid activists, be it through political, cultural, religious or civil action, include Johnny Clegg, Rabbi Isaacson, Joe Slovo, Arthur Chaskalson, Nadine Gordimer, Gill Marcus and Albie Sachs to name but a few. The founding fathers of the Rainbow Nation, Mandela, Sisulu and Thambo were intimately involved with Jews, having worked alongside many throughout their legal careers. Mandela famously visited Israel with “his” Rabbi Cyril Harris and met with then Prime- Minister, Shimon Peres. Mandela famously refers to Menachem Begin and the Irgun as the basis on which he hoped to model the armed wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom:
“I read The Revolt by Menachem Begin and was encouraged by the fact that the Israeli leader had led a guerrilla force in a country with neither mountains nor forests, a situation similar to our own.”
I think that these great stalwarts of human rights would be greatly hurt to witness the appalling invective levelled against South Africa’s Jewish community.
Good Jew, Bad Jew
Manifesting more as anti-Zionism rather than traditional anti-Semitism (although the two cannot be separated) the clarion call seems to be “Jews are welcome, Zionists are not.” Or are they? Over the past few years, anti-Semitism is manifesting on the Southern tip of the continent much like it is all over the world. Social media platforms have become new battlefields and threats of violence and subsequent incidents have increased.
There seems to be a division between who is termed “good” or “bad” Jew. Good Jews apparently are not Zionist and identify as Jewish by “cultural ties”, not those awful traditional, Israel loving kind. There have been atrocious incidents of anti-Semitism ranging from the BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) movement and their cries of “shoot the Jew” at a conference hosted by the South African Zionist Federation to the appalling tweets from populist Black Land First leader, Andile Mngxitama and a whole host of incidents and issues in between.
Many look to Europe or the USA as the barometer on how anti-Semitism manifests but if we ignore the South African model, we do so at our peril. It would appear that when BDS and their supporters in South Africa sneeze, their global network catches a cold. This is not to say that anti-Semitism in South Africa is restricted to BDS and the far left but the far right, perhaps emboldened by the alarming rise of their counterparts in the USA are rearing their ugly, neo-Nazi heads as well.
The consequences of rising anti-Semitism in South Africa are worrying. This could mean the marginalizing of a minority group that has played a vital role in not just the fight against the injustice of the past but continues to punch far above its size in helping to build a new country. It would also result in many of South Africa’s Jews leaving for safer pastures – and along with them, investment and employment opportunities for many of the country’s impoverished.
South Africans fought against Apartheid and many paid a painful price. After the struggles of the country’s dark past, do we really want to see this vicious cycle of discrimination and racism rise again?
Silence is no longer an option and the message that Jews are just as much a colour in the Rainbow Nation as any other community needs to be heard. Loudly.
It takes its cue from an indifferent world – A shameful Silence
By David E. Kaplan
Last year, writes Raymond Ibrahim, “Christians were persecuted more than ever before in the modern era — and 2019 is expected to be worse.”
Raised in the USA to Egyptian parents, Ibrahim today is a widely published author and Middle East and Islam specialist.
He was the first to expose in 2012, an Arabic-language Saudi fatwa that called for the destruction of any Christian church found on the Arabian Peninsula. Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, declared that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.”
Raymond Ibrahim is sounding ALARM BELLS about the plight of Christians in the Arab and Muslim worlds.
Too few hear them ringing!
Writing this March in the Gatestone Institute, Ibrahim reveals that in 2018, 4,136 Christians were killed for faith-related reasons, according to Open Doors USA in its recently published World Watch List 2019 (WWL) of the top 50 nations where Christians are persecuted.
This translates on average, to 11 Christians killed every day for their faith.
Why the deafening silence?
Additionally, in 2018, “2,625 Christians were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned”, and “1,266 churches or Christian buildings were attacked.”
In 2018, 215 million Christians faced persecution and the prognosis according to Open Doors, is that this year – 2019 – over 245 million will suffer – a 14% increase, that represents 30 million more people abused for their faith.
This means that “One in nine Christians experience high levels of persecution worldwide.”
Worse for Woman
Another frightening trend is the “shocking persecution against women.”
“In many places,” reveals the report, “they experience a ‘double persecution’ — one for being a Christian and one for being a woman! Even in the most restricted circumstances, gender-specific persecution is a key means of destroying the minority Christian community.”
“At least six women every day are raped, sexually harassed or forced into marriage to a Muslim man under the threat of death for their Christian faith…”
Among the worst persecutors are those that rule according to Sharia.
In Afghanistan (ranked #2), “Christianity is not permitted to exist” because it “is an Islamic state by constitution, which means government officials, ethnic group leaders, religious officials and citizens are hostile toward adherents of any other religion.”
Similarly, in Somalia, (ranked #3),
Al-Shabaab’s primary aim is to rid Somalia of all Christianity. In 2014 when their leader Ahmed Godane died, they appointed a new leader.
Despite Pope Francis’ statement that Africa is a continent of hope and his call to engage in dialogue against the attacks that have recently occurred, there is not enough being done currently to protect Somali’s Christians. When they are not allowed to express their beliefs to the government without being killed or to celebrate holidays and customs publicly that are Christian, they are being stripped from their basic human rights from society.
Being forced to hide their beliefs from the country and having to live in fear is not an acceptable way to live. Pope Francis is correct in saying that meaningful dialogue is important to solving this problem, but in the meantime, these Christians are being killed regularly, and a change needs to be come soon.
In Iran (ranked #9), “society is governed by Islamic law, which means the rights and professional possibilities for Christians are heavily restricted.” While worship is permitted under the Islamic Republic’s constitution, conversion to Christianity can be a crime meriting a sentence of more than 10 years imprisonment.
“There are many reports,” said Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern, “that this has contributed to the government’s ever-increasing dependence on hardline Islamic ayatollahs, who naturally see Christianity as a threat to their power. For this reason, it’s not surprising that we’re seeing an increase in Christian persecution.”
It has become increasingly common for authorities to arrest worshippers, raid house churches, and confiscate Bibles.
Under Pakistan‘s notorious blasphemy laws, Christians live in daily fear they will be accused of blasphemy — which can carry a penalty of death.
Only recently, Pakistan’s supreme court struck down the death sentence for blasphemy handed down to a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, in a long-delayed, landmark decision that freed her after nine years on death row and ignited countrywide protests from Islamist groups.
Christian farm labourer Bibi, a 47-year-old mother offive, was sentenced to hang for blasphemy in 2010. She had angered fellow Muslim farm workers by taking a sip of water from a cup she had fetched for them on a hot day. When they demanded she convert to Islam, she refused, prompting a mob to later allege that she had insulted the prophet Mohammed.
In Libya (#4), Yemen (#8), Syria (#11), and Iraq (#13) war has given rise to Islamic militancy and general lawlessness, both of which prey on Christian minorities.
While in Egypt, President el-Sisi has publicly expressed his commitment to protecting Christians, his government’s actions and extremist groups’ continued Christian persecution attacks on individuals and churches, have left Christians feeling insecure and extremely cautious.
Some recent examples:
In December 2017, a gunman opened fire in Cairo at a church and a nearby shop owned by Christians. Eleven people died as a result of the attack.
In July 2018, a mob attacked Christians in a village in Minya, when Muslim residents were angered by a Facebook post they believed to be blasphemous.
Many Christian girls and women have become the victims of sexual harassment, abduction and rape. In just one month (April 2018), at least seven cases of abduction were documented.
In early November 2018, Islamic State militants attacked a bus carrying Coptic Christians from a monastery in Minya, killing eight and injuring more than 13 people.
According to Open Doors, 128 Christians were killed in Egypt for their faith and more than 200 were driven out of their homes in 2017. It attributed the rise in persecution to “the overspill of Islamic terrorists driven out of Iraq and Syria”.
Home to the largest Christian community in the Middle East, Christians in Egypt are facing unprecedented levels of persecution, with attacks on churches and the kidnapping of girls by Islamist extremists, intent on forcing them to marry Muslims.
“Michael Jones” – not his real name – a Cairo-based businessman and evangelical Christian, told The Guardian there was a gulf between statements from the national leadership regarding the Christian community and actions at a local level.
“You hear President el-Sisi speaking about Christians with a lot of respect and sympathy. Just a few days ago, he made a beautiful, emotional speech when inaugurating our new cathedral. It looked like an amazing affirmation that the state is supporting the church and the Christian community, and doing everything it can to guarantee our welfare,” said ‘Jones’.
“Then you have the local authorities in villages and towns – police, judges, business owners – and it’s evident that many of them are infected with a rejection of Christianity. You see this in daily practices.”
BDS – are you hearing the cries and calls for salvation or are you callously ignoring?
The Yazidis – “We harmed nobody”
This ancient faith that has survived for centuries by living apart in a tight-knit community is facing extinction. There are less than a million Yazidis worldwide, and most are in the Iraqi heartland.
Facing extinction – they see their fate inextricably linked to the wider world.
The Yazidi narrative reveals surviving 74 genocides throughout their tormented history, but the worst, Yazidis today will say, is ISIS “that is trying to eradicate our faith and culture.” Acknowledged by the United Nations as genocide, the ISIS campaign may have dealt “the most brutal blow.”
On 3 August 2014, ISIS attacked the Yazidi community in Sinjar, northern Iraq. Thousands were imprisoned or killed, and close to 100,000 people fled to Mount Sinjar. The UN referred to the attack as “a genocide”.
Women have paid the highest price when ISIS attacked. Close to 7,000 women have been sold as sex slaves. They have been brutalised by ISIS fighters, many of them repeatedly victims of sexual assaults. They were forced to convert to Islam, and many were forcibly married off to ISIS fighters. Women who tried to escape were often punished with gang rape.
Thousands of women and children, down to the age of nine, were repeatedly sold in slave markets in Syrian cities where ISIS had a strong presence. Boys from the age of seven years and upwards were separated from their mothers and put in camps where they were brainwashed and trained to become child soldiers.
In an appeal to the world, a priest, Sheikh Ismael Bahri, catches sight of a rare group of foreign journalists and wails:
“All humane countries of the world must see our situation. We’ve not harmed anyone. All we want is help and protection.”
While the Yazidis’ plight has moved some countries such as Australia, Canada and Germany that offered refuge to a limited number of victims, notably the women brutally enslaved by ISIS, most the world remains silent.
“We feel threatened here, we don’t have a future here,” cried out Tuli Bahri Evo, whose family crossed the border from Syria where the Yazidis’ presence is also dwindling.
Alarmed by a potential exodus which could endanger the very survival of this tiny community, Yazidi leaders are begging the world to help them stay in Iraq.
“We need our own Yazidi force so we can protect ourselves,” the Yazidis’ religious leader, Baba Sheikh says. “The world is only talking about Yazidis but doing nothing.”
Wake up world – the Yazidis are an “Endangered Species”!
Asia Bibi: protests erupt in Pakistan after blasphemy conviction overturned – video
Feature picture: Yazidi Kurdish women chant slogans during a protest against the Islamic State group’s invasion of Sinjar city, in Dohuk, Iraq, August 3, 2015. (AP/Seivan M. Salem)
With movements like Times Up which advocates for gender parity and #MeToo which has sent a resounding message to the masses that women will no longer be silent about sexual abuse and harassment and that the perpetrators will be brought to justice, it would appear that the time for women is now!
This International Women’s Day, as we focus on the importance of these issues, we have to consider whether or not ALL women are included in the conversation about these decisions that affect them.
With the rise of global phenomenon’s like the Women’s March and #MeToo that continue to gain momentum, so it seems that there are significant groups of women who are excluded.
In the case of the Women’s March, it was made abundantly clear to Jewish women who are proudly Zionist, that they were not welcome.
In fact, one of the founders, Linda Sarsour, had this to say:
“It just doesn’t make any sense for someone to say, ‘Is there room for people who support the state of Israel and do not criticize it in the movement?’ There can’t be in feminism. You either stand up for the rights of all women, including Palestinians, or none. There’s just no way around it.”
It begs the question – are Zionism and feminism on a collision course?
Comments like this are fast alienating Jewish, Zionist women from participating in tthe growing feminist movement in the USA.
During the Dyke March in Chicago in 2017, Jewish marchers who displayed the Star of David of their rainbow flag were asked to leave. Organizers defended their decisions saying that they did not want anything “that can inadvertently or advertently express Zionism” and that it made other marchers feel “unsafe”. This was not a display of the flag of Israel in all its blue and white glory but a rainbow flag with a Magen David (Star of David). So it was LGBTQ women’s rights for everyone – save for Jewish lesbians?
The Women’s March has fast become a growing cesspit of anti-Semitism, disguised in its new, trendy form anti-Zionism.
Three of the leaders of the Women’s March, Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory and Carmen Perez are rising media sensations. They are articulate, camera-friendly and are very busy appearing to do good. They are “woke” and a draw card for young women who care about the growing importance of gender equality.
They organise rallies, clean up cemeteries, and protests at every conceivable opportunity. They are veritable pin-ups for girl power. They are also sadly, the new faces of ‘intersectionality’.
Intersectionality can be described as “the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups” (Merriam-Webster dictionary).
Fraternisers Of Farrakhan
All suffering and discrimination are equal – except for that of Jews.
Unfortunately, these feminist poster girls have chosen to align themselves with some of the most vociferous anti-Semites.
While rallying against the “patriarchy” – they feel no compunction in cozying up to misogynist and arch anti-Semite, Louis Farrakhan, who features at number 2 on the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s list of top Jew haters. Number one was the Pittsburgh Massacre. Farrakhan is known for his trafficking in gross anti-Semitic tropes like these:
“I’m not mad at you because you’re so stupid. So, when they talk about Farrakhan, call me a hater, you do what they do, call me an anti-Semite. Stop it, I’m anti-Termite.”
“It is now becoming apparent that there were many Israelis and Zionist Jews in key roles in the 9/11 attacks. Israelis had foreknowledge of the attacks… We know that many Jews received a text message not to come to work on September 11”
Tamika Mallory referred to him as GOAT – Greatest Of All Time. Greatest hater perhaps, but certainly not someone to whom women fighting for equal rights should embrace like these leaders have.
As a result of this, many chapters of the Women’s March are divesting themselves from the greater movement and have joined well know celebrities like Debra Messing and Alyssa Milano in condemning the anti-Semitism that is spreading.
Feminism is very much a part of the fabric of Zionism and the story of the modern state of Israel and as a Zionist feminist woman, I am free to pretty much say what I want – unlike my Palestinian sisters!
Feminism predates the modern state of Israel and weaves through Jewish history with feminist heroines like Yael and Devorah and they have continued the tradition of strong, outspoken women in modern times. Zionists wrote the book on feminism. Literally! Have you read the bible? Some pretty strong women in there!
Zionist women are the ultimate feminist rebels, pioneers and trailblazers. Before the formal establishment of Israel, women were establishing the systems and institutions that would improve life for her citizens. Organisations like WIZO (Women’s International Zionist Organisation) were at the forefront of the suffragette movement that took place in Europe at the time. The struggle for political suffrage for women is regarded as first wave of feminism.
Women’s rights in Israel are amongst the most progressive in the world and it would be remiss of me to not mention the iconic Golda Meir, one of the first female Prime Ministers in the world.
A powerful leader and orator, Meir was one of the first to recognise how Israel can help impoverished countries in Africa, and this was very much in line with the father of modern Zionism, Theodore Herzl’s, vision that he wrote in his manifesto.
Zionist women are free to criticise any policy that we may disagree with because an Israel that stands up to the tenets of Zionism is what we strive for.
Israel is a vibrant and flawed democracy just like any other country and women are very much a part of the fabric that has and continues to build the country every day.
We are pioneers in many fields. We are trailblazers in business, politics, volunteer organisations, the arts and sciences and so much more.
We are religious and secular and everything in between. We are warriors and defenders of our country on land, sea, air and airwaves and we are homemakers, entrepreneurs and creative genii. We are changing the political landscape and we represent over 80 different ethnicities. We can vote, drive, and own property and business. We can make decisions that govern our bodies and our communities and if we want to, raise a little hell.
The hypocrisy of the Women’s March that while castigating and excluding Zionist feminists, they are not advocating properly for their Palestinian sisters. If they were concerned about the rights of Palestinian women, they would be holding the leadership accountable at every possible turn. They would be demonstrating outrage about domestic violence and honour killings, gender Apartheid which prohibits women from owning property or businesses, driving, voting and pursuing careers of their choice. They would march against underage brides forced to marry men before they reach puberty. They would be outraged about genital mutilation; genocide of Christian women and the unspeakable torture women are enduring in the Middle East under ISIS.
It is important that when it comes to discussing women’s issues, that the table is inclusive and that Jewish, Zionist women are included. Exclusion is not just discriminatory, it is hypocrisy.
Zionist women are happy to meet these organisations and movements at any intersection. Standing up for the rights of women regardless of religion or political leanings is what feminism is all about.
Senior Researcher at NGO Monitor – the globally recognized research institute promoting democratic values and good governance.
On February 28, 2019, the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the riots along the Israel-Gaza border, which began in March 2018, alleged that “Israeli soldiers committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law… and may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity.” The COI created a “confidential file” of “which is recommended be given to the International Criminal Court (ICC)” and to be used by governments to “consider imposing individual sanctions, such as a travel ban or an assets freeze.”
In contrast to professional fact-finding standards, the COI clearly established pre-determined legal and factual conclusions and merely gathered “evidence” to fit its desired outcome.
In preparing its report, the COI relied heavily on Palestinian sources, including Hamas and terror-linked non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Notably, the COI uncritically adopts the NGOs’ application of a domestic law enforcement paradigm – erasing the context of the armed conflict with Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups – to analyze cross-border violence.
The COI used anonymous and unverifiable “testimonies.” When asked during a press conference to provide details about how many of the 325 the interviews it conducted itself or how it selected the 325 individuals reportedly interviewed, the Chairperson of the COI was unable to answer the question and stated he would have to provide that information “at a later date”.
The information provided in the published summary is a near copy-paste from NGO submissions to the COI. For example, all names of Palestinian children killed were provided by Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), an NGO with ties to the Popular of Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group, i.e. one of the parties to the conflict in Gaza. (DCI-P’s submission was prepared in partnership with the CUNY School of Law Human Rights and Gender Justice Law Clinic.)
Reflecting the COI’s lack of expertise and muddled analysis, throughout the report, the COI mixes up the concepts of “international human rights” and “humanitarian law” and applicable rules and standards. For example, according to the Commission, the violence along the Israel-Gaza border was not a “military” or “combat” situation and therefore human rights law was the appropriate standard. Therefore, its conclusion that “human rights violations” may also constitute “war crimes” is baseless, since war crimes can only occur where the laws of war are applicable.
The UN’s shoddy researching and reporting led them to write identical paragraphs about the same fatality, Mo’min Hams, on different pages of the “protected groups” section of the report.
Minimizing Palestinian Violence, Erasing Palestinian Terror
The COI largely erases the dimension of Palestinian violence along the Gaza border, as well as Hamas’ leading role in orchestrating the attacks. NGO Monitor’s two submissions to the COI provided significant detail regarding the presence of violence – including use of guns, Molotov cocktails, stones, burning tires, incendiary kites, etc. as well as the exploitation of children to perpetrate these acts – along the Gaza border. These and other evidence of violence are freely available from open sources. The COIignored and minimized these armed attacks and reconstituted the riots as “peaceful protests.”
According to a statement made at a press conference, the COI deliberately focused on five main riot locations during the specific times of protests. This means that the COIignored essential context including that the riots were used as diversions to attacks occurring elsewhere at the same time as well as military attacks, shootings and other violence that occurred at other times, particularly at night.
Although the COI acknowledges the involvement of terrorist organizations in planning the events along the border, it absurdly insists that “the armed wings of these parties were not represented on the [planning] committee.” In Gaza in particular, the distinction between “armed wings” of terror groups and other branches of these groups is meaningless.
The COI whitewashes statements made by Hamas officials that demonstrate Hamas’ role in organizing and directing the violence along the Gaza. On May 17, 2018, Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar stated that “when we talk about ‘peaceful resistance,’ we are deceiving the public. This is a peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies and enjoying tremendous popular support.”
On May 16, Hamas spokesman Salah Bardawil claimed “I am giving you an official figure. Fifty of the martyrs in the recent battle were from Hamas,” referring to clashes that took place on May 14.
The COI claims that Israel “intentionally shot” children, health workers, journalists, and those with disabilities, “knowing” that these people were “recognizable as such when they were shot.”
It is unclear how the COI could determine intent of or the information known to IDF soldiers at the time of a given incident.
One such disabled individual is identified as deaf. Obviously, an Israeli soldier, at a distance of 150m away, could not possibly know of this person’s condition.
In its press conference, COI members admitted that “maybe some of them weren’t visibly children.”
Illegitimacy of the COI
None of the COI members has any expertise in international humanitarian law or military operations. Not surprising then, the report ignores the applicable legal framework and instead lazily refers solely to human rights law, making the absurd claim that “the demonstrations were civilian in nature… and despite some acts of significant violence, did not constitute combat or a military campaign.”
The COI was marred by a lack of transparency and accountability. It was allocated the massive sum of $1.5million to complete this report yet kept secret how this money was spent. The identities of the staffers and any consultants employed are not disclosed, making it impossible to independently verify their professional qualifications.
The COI was established by the notorious UN Human Rights Council – a body controlled by dictatorships and authoritarian regimes and known for extreme anti-Israel bias. Therefore, it is not a true “inquiry,” but rather a rigged effort to recycle the claims of partisan NGOs and to grant them the legitimacy of the UN. This is another round to target Israel via such pseudo-investigations, including the notorious and subsequently discredited 2009 Goldstone report.
About the writer:
Shaun Sacks immigrated to Israel from South Africa in 1998. He received his BA from Bar Ilan University. Before joining NGO Monitor as a Senior Researcher, Shaun was the Senior Project Manager for NETSOURCE, an Israeli firm that specializes in providing technology employment opportunities to Ultra-Orthodox communities, and emerging market manager for McAfee Inc.
Israel’s paltry trade with South Africa during Apartheid era
By Rolene Marks
Israel Apartheid Week will wind its hate filled way across the world in March and April – one of the main accusations is Israel’s support of South Africa during Apartheid. Lay of the land sets the record straight.
Israel’s detractors love to compare the Jewish state to Apartheid South Africa. This is not a comparison based on facts but rather part of a greater campaign to paint Israel as a pariah state and deal out the same sort of isolation through boycotts and sanctions as was done to South Africa during the height of Apartheid.
Many try to single out Israel as the only country during those years to have had any dealings with South Africa but on closer inspection, trade and co-operation between the two countries was so minute to that of other countries whose trade with the Apartheid government registered in the billions of dollars.
While Israel’s cooperation with the Apartheid regime is a cause of much embarrassment to me as both a South African and an Israeli, Israel’s role in not standing up to Apartheid is insignificant in comparison to other countries.
Focus on the Facts
Israel’s total amount of trade with the then Apartheid government was a mere $200m dollars per annum compared to:
– U.S.A – $3.4 billion
– Japan – $2.9 billion
– Germany – $2.8 billion
– U.K. -$2.6 billion
– Arab countries – $3 billion
The Arab countries could have brought the Apartheid regime to its knees – if it wanted to! It didn’t.
It was the oil tankers from Iran and Saudi Arabia which kept the wheels of Apartheid oiled. Arab oil exports to South Africa totaled more than $3 billion per year and, if that supply had been cut off, would have ended apartheid in the 1960’s!
The Saudi and Iranian human rights records are abysmal and constitute some of the worst human rights violators in the world today. Nonetheless South African government officials frequently visit both countries. The singling out of Israel for opprobrium smacks of a horrendous double standards when one considers that in Iran, homosexuals are hung from cranes, and the ruling government has no compunction in denying the Holocaust or calling for the destruction of the Jewish state.
This occurs all the while parading their ballistic missiles through the streets of the capital, Teheran!
France supplied Apartheid South Africa with weapons, nuclear material and financial aid, Switzerland the USA and Britain funded the Apartheid regime, Germany supported the racist regime in extensive trade. I include a few of the thousands of examples that can be sited:
Royal Dutch/Shell’s subsidiary, Shell South Africa, was involved in extensive operations in the petroleum, mining and chemical industries of South Africa and Namibia, with an estimated turnover of more than US$2 billion in South Africa in 1989.
In 1962 Britain’s ICI and South Africa’s De Beers each put £5 million into AECI (African Explosives and Chemicals Industries) to set up three new plants producing tear gas, ammunition for small arms, anti-tank and aircraft rockets.
British Leyland’s South African subsidiary supplied Land Rovers that were used by the South African police against students in the 1976 Soweto uprising.
The human rights records in Iraq, Libya, Syria have resulted in many hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths. Once again, South African government officials have no problem visiting these human rights violators, and those that purport to be human rights activists, like the BDS movement, remain silent and raise no issues of concern?
One must ask if a special standard is applied to the Jewish State and why?
It appears that perspective has little to do with the assumptions made about the historical relationship between Israel and South Africa. It also looks as if human rights are not a factor when dealing with bilateral relations between South Africa and other countries. When South African leaders visit Russia, perpetrator of some of the greatest crimes against humanity in modern times in places like Syria and Chechnya, and which in 2014, invaded and then occupied the Crimea in the independent Ukraine, they never raised any issues of concern.
Why does South Africa – that maintains that its “legacy” obliges it to take issue wherever and whenever human rights are grossly violated – remain silent against gross violations by Russia?
When the ANC hosted internationally criticised Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in South Africa – a man responsible for attempted genocide against the Jewish people – there were photo ops and soundbites instead of condemnation.
And therein lies the rub!
When a special standard is applied to Jews and the Jewish state, it leads people to ask some very troubling questions.
Israel is a free, vibrant albeit flawed democracy. Is the Jewish state culpable as its detractors try make out?
The facts speak otherwise.
When it comes to historical trade relations between the two countries, Israel’s opponents are intentionally defaming the Jewish state ‘making mountains out of molehills’ by way of lies and deception.
Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) is an international annual series of events held all over the world around February, March and April with the stated purpose of spreading information regarding the plight of the Palestinian people and rallying support for their cause. The 2019 series of events takes place from 16th March until 14th April. On April 1st 2019, the South African IAW shall commence.
There will be rallies, speeches, protests, presentations, workshops, even concerts, poetry readings and films, a huge festival of sorts, all designed, according to their website, to ‘raise awareness of Israel’s apartheid policies’ and ‘gain support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign’.
This movement has much support especially in South Africa where it is known what the racist apartheid regime was and so it is easy to attract local support to an ‘anti-apartheid’ cause. People in South Africa and throughout the world jump onto the BDS bandwagon genuinely wanting to support the apparent underdog. Who wouldn’t want to support the underdog?
If you are reading this and happen to be one of the very passionate people fighting for the rights of the Palestinian people, I implore you, as free-thinking and passionate individuals who care for the well-being of others, to consider the below responses to the arguments generally put forward:
“Israel is practicing ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Palestinian people”
How is it possible for the Palestinian population to have grown from around 650,000 in 1948 to over 4.6 million now if Israel is engaged in constant ethnic cleansing? And if there is this ethnic cleansing going on, how is it that Israeli society is made up of millions of Muslim Arab and Christian citizens? It does not make sense.
“The Palestinian people are denied having a Palestinian State”
“Jews build / expand settlements in disputed areas”
Why is there a push to support the Palestinian people to be such ethno-fascists that it is somehow deemed ‘understandable’ if someone ‘loses all sense’ and murders people (including stabbing children to death) because of not wanting Jews to live among them or even build a shed on their own properties, for example? Should we not be more concerned that non-Muslims are, to put it euphemistically, not welcome in Palestinian areas? If those areas become a Palestinian State, then those Jews who live there should have the option of deciding whether to move in order to remain citizens of Israel, or become citizens of Palestine. Much like what should happen in the formation of any state.
“Israel can end the conflict by giving land over to the Palestinian Authority
Israel has given land in the past, but nothing has changed with regards to the Jihad waged against Israel and the stream of rockets being fired into Israel. Why is this not questioned by those wholeheartedly standing against Israel by default of standing for the Palestinian people?
(Courtesy of MEMRI)
Be a courageous game-changer and question this. Supporting any boycott of Israel without investigating for oneself whether or not these allegations against Israel are true, not only puts supporters of Israel (or Jewish people in general as has been seen in many incidences around the world) in danger, but also prevents growth, learning, understanding and dialogue. It prevents the ingredients needed in the first place for peaceful resolutions.
Comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa does a gross disservice to those who suffered through apartheid.
Don’t simply jump on the IAW and BDS band-wagons. Be for the Palestinian people by questioning their leadership, not by being against countries which help them, including Israel. Supporting BDS ironically hurts the Palestinian people by putting the blame on others for their leaders’ crimes.
Courtesy of Israel Collective
“Sharon Salomon is a South African, Israeli living in Johannesburg. She is the granddaughter of Auschwitz survivors, and of those who were smuggled from Iraq to Israel in the 1950’s. She remembers little bits of Apartheid as a young child and her parents being fiercely against. She is passionate about being a voice for truth and dialogue believing it to literally save lives. She is the director and founding member of Race Against Extinction supporting tiger conservation. She holds a BSc in Mathematical Sciences and consults as a Business Analyst.”