Open letter from Shaun Zagnoev, Gauteng Chairman, SA Jewish Board of Deputies, to Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau, March 22 2015
Dear Mayor Tau
I write to you in the format of an open letter due to the fact that your Chief of Staff told us that he was refusing to share with you the previous letter we sent 3 March 2015.
We note that you will be hosting a `Palestine Solidarity Week' this week and want to voice our distress that you have elected to partner in this with BDS SA, a group that has been responsible for creating a climate of hate against Johannesburg and South African Jewry.
Their campaigns over the past couple of years have resulted in blatant Jew hatred including:
BDS protest against Wits hosting an Israeli Jazz Quartet resulted in protesters singing Dubula e'Juda (shoot the Jew) which was justified by their coordinator Mohammed Desai
BDS IAW has resulted in Jewish students on campus being called F***ing Jews and F***ing Kikes. This year a SAUJS event with Palestinian peace activist Bassem Eid at the University of Johannesburg was disrupted and the speaker evacuated.
BDS campaigns against Woolworths resulted in a pigs head being placed on a Kosher shelf
BDS hosting of Leila Khaled on DUT campus resulted in calls for Jewish students to be deregistered from the University
At a BDS march in Sandton last week against the SA Zionist Federation Exhibition we saw calls to exterminate Jews, comments such as "You Jews do not belong in SA" and "You think this is Israel, we are going to kill you". This can be viewed here.
The SAJBD Gauteng Council is perturbed by our Mayor partnering with an organization that has organised campaigns that continue to result in hatred, intimidation and threats against the Jewish citizens of his city. The BDS are creating an environment for Jew hatred to flourish, the effects of which they themselves are unable to control.
If the Mayor is truly committed to the `social cohesion' he speaks to in his poster, we would hope that he would rather address the escalating antisemitism and hate that groups like the BDS are responsible for. Johannesburg has the highest percentage of Jews in Africa. The Jewish community here established its roots here over 120 years ago, and has and continues to play an important part in the city and the country's history and future. We are proud citizens who are committed to being an active thread in the "City of Gold" vibrant fabric. Furthermore, the SAJBD again reiterates its support for a Palestinian State existing side by side the State of Israel with secure borders. BDS displays of hatred against Jews in the City of Johannesburg will in no way further this agenda.
Gauteng Chairman, SA Jewish Board of Deputies
Issued by the SAJBD, March 23 2015
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