Statement by BDS South Africa on the Forthcoming Visit of Palestine Liberation Struggle Icon, Comrade Leila Khaled
A significant number of South African anti-Apartheid activists, church leaders, government officials, trade unions, political parties as well as civil society organisations have expressed their support for the Palestine freedom fighter and icon Leila Khaled's forthcoming visit to South Africa (6-16 February 2015). Leila Khaled has been to South Africa on multiple visits in the past, this visit is hosted by the South African Palestine solidarity and human rights organization BDS South Africa.
The Israeli lobby in South Africa, including the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), have - not unexpectedly - been trying to discredit Leila Khaled's forthcoming tour. We do not expect pro-Israeli supporters to understand the reason for hosting someone like Nelson Mandela, the South African struggle icon and former Commander in Chief of the MK, or Leila Khaled, the Palestinian struggle icon.
Back in the 1980s the SAJBD and Israel were proud supporters of the Apartheid regime that killed our people and today they are proud supporters of the Israeli regime that is killing innocent Palestinians (of which the most recent example was the Israeli killing of over 500 children in Gaza between July and August 2014).
We remind them that Nelson Mandela and South Africa's ruling party, the ANC, both remained on the USA terrorism watch list until as recently as 2008. While the South African Jewish community produced many distinguished anti-apartheid struggle heroes such as Cde. Joe Slovo, they were disowned by the leadership of that community, including the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, which preferred to be in bed with the Apartheid regime.
Mandela, it is worth mentioning, went to prison for being a member of the armed wing of the ANC, the MK, and for being part of a movement (the ANC) wanting to defeat Apartheid.