"Hands off Jessie Duarte & all Human Rights Activists"
09 March 2016
The human rights and Palestine solidarity organization BDS South Africa has observed the continuous libelous attacks, vilification and victimization of human rights activists from across the spectrum by pro-Israeli organisations such as the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) and their Israeli allies. We state categorically that an attack on individuals that are in solidarity with the Palestinian people is an attack on all us peace and justice loving people.
Human rights activists who express criticism of Israel's illegal occupation and apartheid policies are subject to abuse characterised by insults, defamation, vilification and demonization. This extends to aggressive or insulting press statements by SAJBD, usually followed by threatening and defamatory social media posters.
The latest attack has been on Comrade Jessie Duarte, the Deputy Secretary General of South Africa's governing party, the ANC. Comrade Jessie has in the past come under fire for championing the positions of the governing party, the ANC - on Palestine but also on other issues as well. The SAJBD conveniently and deliberately does not challenge the positions of the ANC as an organisation or positions of other organisations in the solidarity movement but instead identifies and targets individuals, and particularly from within the ruling party, the ANC.
The list of activists and government officials targeted by the SAJBD, for their support of Palestine, grows day by day. In the past the following have been attacked: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Reverend Edwin Arrison, Doron Isaacs, Zackie Achmat, Professor Farid Esack, Professor Steven Friedman and others.