OPINION

BDS Coalition's proves its anti-Semitism with objection to David Unterhalter - SAJBD

There is a long and dishonourable history of Jews being targeted for boycotts and other discriminatory treatment, says Board

BDS Coalition proves itself antisemitic

In yet another shocking display of bigotry and intolerance, the South African BDS Coalition has called for a Jewish candidate for appointment to the Constitutional Court to be rejected on the grounds of his association with the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD).  In order to justify its conduct, the organisation makes the defamatory claim that the SAJBD is not aligned with the democratic values as enshrined in the South African Constitution. The reality is that it is the SA BDS Coalition, not for the first time, which is guilty of flouting these values.

There is a long and dishonourable history of Jews being targeted for boycotts and other discriminatory treatment on the basis of their religious and/or ideological beliefs. The demand by the SA BDS Coalition that anyone associated with the SAJBD be denied the right to serve on public bodies like the Constitutional Court is just the latest chapter in this shameful saga. This is in no way surprising. Throughout its existence, the BDS movement has persistently incited hatred, and even harm, against the mainstream Jewish community and its democratically elected leadership.

The SAJBD is the elected, representative spokesbody of South African Jewry. For 118 years, it has fought to uphold the civil rights of the Jewish community, combating anti-Jewish prejudice in all its forms and building bridges of friendship between Jews and their fellow South Africans. It also works closely with other human rights bodies like the Hate Crimes Working Group to ensure that all people in South Africa are protected from the evils of discrimination and intolerance. 

When calls are made for Jews who serve on the Jewish community’s democratically elected representative body to be excluded from public service it amounts to gross antisemitism. It is further an affront to South Africa’s culture of non-racial democracy.

The SAJBD is confident that all those genuinely committed to our country’s democratic, non-racial values will reject with contempt this latest attempt by BDS to sow division and hatred in our society.

Statement issued by Wendy Kahn, SAJBD, 14 April 2021