On Wednesday, 25 February 2015, representatives of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) met with the Young Communist League’s (YCL’s) National Chairperson, Yeshan Pillay. The meeting was at the request of the SAJBD and represented a first step towards improved relations between the SAJBD and the YCL.
Several issues were discussed during the meeting, including finding common culture and nationhood, the Palestinian and Israeli conflict, social cohesion, entrepreneurship, job creation and the role of the youth in building South Africa. In discussing the Palestinian-Israeli situation, Mr Pillay shared his views that from a class perspective the YCL supports Palestinian Statehood and SAJBD National Director Wendy Kahn spoke of the SAJBD’s ongoing commitment to the creation of a two-state solution, with a viable Palestinian State living side by side an Israeli State with secure borders. Both parties regretted the polarisation that this issue was causing in South African society and expressed the need to create forums for dialogue to find commonalities on issues important to us as South Africans.

Concern was expressed by Mr Pillay that while differing views were important, tolerance was unfortunately slipping away in our country and that it was essential to address contentious issues without excluding or targeting individuals and communities with differing views.

In finding a way to bridge the divide between different communities in South Africa the idea was discussed to bring diverse youth groups together on projects to find a common identity on matters of mutual concern, and a suggestion was made for an interfaith dialogue forum to bridge the divide between the young people. Both parties further decided that future engagements would be arranged between the SAJBD and YCL in the spirit of finding a common culture and in exploring joint projects to develop our country in areas such as entrepreneurship and job creation.

 

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Leila Khalid is not a saint. She was and still is a terrorist. She wanted to turn hijacking into a hobby, but was prevented from doing so. I was present when she and her partner boarded a plane with guns and hand grenades. Depicting Leila Khalid as Mother Teresa is like awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Osama Bin Laden. She sat in prison in the UK for only a day and a half, because a her “harmless” partners who were supposedly constantly seeking peace hijacked another flight, this time British Airways, to demand her release while threating the lives of the BA passengers.

As a young boy caught up in the hijacking, I was obviously frightened. Who wouldn’t be when you are a few thousand feet in the air and hear gun shots and screaming? You see  one of the flight crew member wounded on the floor and the plane diving as part of the emergency procedure. You witness people older than you that are completely hysterical.

But the real issue is the hypocrisy of those who give a platform to people Leila Khalid, someone who explicitly supports all terrorist attacks wherever they may be. She appraises the terrorist way. Khalid laid the foundation for many other attacks that are even happening today under the slogan “if you are not with us then you have no right to exist, and we dare you to go or speak against us”. If not, why would she have been prepared  to murder  138 passengers and 10 crew members on the flight that she hijacked? She is no different from those responsible for 9/11 or those who a month ago in France murdered 12 journalists working for Charlie Hebdo.  Supporting Leila Khaled gives the legitimacy to organizations like ISIS, Boka Haram and to terrorist organisations in general.

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The Jewish community protested the visit by convicted terrorist Leila Khaled outside a press conference being hosted for her by BDS. Protesters chanted, No to Terrorism. A message from Adam,who was on a plane that Khaled hijacked was read to the crowd. Mary Kluk noted that it was no coincidence that the day that Khaled spoke on campus, the SRC called for the de-registration of Jewish students.

 

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Media Statement from the Council of KwaZulu-Natal Jewry regarding the DUT SRC/ PYA memorandum of demand for the deregistration of Jewish students

The Council of KwaZulu-Natal Jewry is appalled by the demand from the Student Representative Council (SRC) and Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) of the Durban University of Technology (DUT) for Jewish students at the institution to deregister.

The demand was made in a memorandum handed to Vice Chancellor of DUT Professor Bawa on Tuesday February 10th. Secretary of the SRC, Mqondisi Duma, is quoted as saying, “As the SRC, we had a meeting and analysed international politics. We took the decision that Jewish students, especially those who do not support the Palestinian struggle, should deregister”.

The call is blatantly antisemitic and the singling out of any student for discrimination based solely on their religion, race, gender or political affiliation goes against the values and principles of a democratic South Africa proudly enshrined in our Constitution. It is especially saddening that such a call could be made by youth organizations in our country which has overcome a dark history of racial segregation and oppression and sacrificed much to achieve freedom, equality and human rights for all.

The SRC’s statement today has also been brought to our attention and only serves to further exacerbate and reinforce this hateful situation.

We wish to commend Vice Chancellor Professor Ahmed Bawa on his swift and strong condemnation of the student formations’ demand, which he called, “totally preposterous, unjust, unfair, unreasonable and unconstitutional”, and his commitment that DUT, “does not discriminate against any person based on their race, religion, colour, ethnicity, sexual orientation or political affiliation”. We welcome the opportunity to work with Professor Bawa alongside other civil society organizations in their programme of engagement with the SRC and PYA to address the obvious issues of intolerance and lack of social cohesion that have emerged on DUT campus.

The Council of KwaZulu-Natal Jewry reserves the right to take this matter further.

ENDS

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Advisory for Demonstration against the visit of Leila Khaled

12 February 2015

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) wishes to advise the Media that the Jewish community, together with like-minded South Africans who abhor the importing of hate and the glorification of terrorism into this country, will be demonstrating against BDS-South Africa for inviting convicted terrorist, Leila Khaled to South Africa.  It is no coincidence that […]

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SAJBD’s input into the State of the Nation Address

10 February 2015

On Thursday in Parliament, President Jacob Zuma will deliver his annual State of the Nation Address. In this keynote message to the nation, he will analyse and comment on the current political and socio-economic state of the country and outline his government’s vision for the year ahead. The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) […]

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Why the SAJBD objects to the visit of Leila Khaled

6 February 2015

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) protests the bringing out of terrorist Leila Khaled by BDS this week.  Mary Kluk, the Chairman of the SAJBD is available to provide an alternate view on this visit.  Contrary to the claims that the BDS is non-violent and that Leila Khaled and the PFLP are peace […]

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Mary Kluk reflects on Holocaust Remembrance Day, Xenophobia & Leila Khaled

4 February 2015

In carrying out our mandate as the representative spokesbody of South African Jewry, it is inevitable that we give priority to issues that directly affect us as a community. This includes dealing with antisemitism, ensuring that Jewish religious rights are upheld and helping to resolve intra-communal issues as they arise. That being said, we also […]

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Bigotry is dangerous, immoral, baseless and must be denounced: Mary Kluk in Weekend Argus

2 February 2015

The below article appeared in Weekend Argus, Sunday Edition, 01/02/2015. In November 2005, the UN General Assembly designated 27 January as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This date was chosen because it was on this day that Auschwitz, the largest and most notorious of the concentration camps established by Nazi Germany during World War II, was […]

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Wendy Kahn Responds to the MRN

29 January 2015

In her article in Politicsweb, Wendy Kahn responds to the MRN and highlights some of their offensive comments against the Jewish community:  Click here to read more.

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