On the 2nd of November 2017, the EFF (Economic Freedom Front) and several anti-Israel detractors marched on the Israeli Embassy in Pretoria to protest….. the 100th year since the Balfour Declaration, which paved the way for the creation of a modern Jewish state in our ancient homeland.
The EFF claimed that they had 2000 supporters but what was counted did not exceed the 700 rent-a-crowd (free red t-shirts and a meal guarantees you a reasonable turnout). Some of the venom that was directed included accusations that “Israel was not the Israel of the bible”, the murder of children, calls for complete boycotts and a breaking off of ties with the Jewish State and more. Naturally, the press had a field day with this!
What wasn’t reported was the fact that the amount of Christian Zionists who came to support Israel outnumbered them 2-3 times over. Israel supporters were kept away from the Embassy grounds by the police that claimed fears for their safety as the EFF crowd were becoming “aggressive and militant”.
We waited to see if the media would cover both sides in a balanced manner but on closer inspection, they have failed to even mention the pro-Israel supporter that far outnumbered them (over 2000) and the manner in which they would have been treated by the EFF supporters.
If the EFF and their supporters which included BDS and members of Palestinian Solidarity organisations as well as the Kathrada Foundation are sincere about peace and the rights of the Palestinians, they would support positive discourse and dialogue between Israel and her neighbours.
South Africa is facing her fair share of challenges and events like the march against the Israeli Embassy are counterproductive and only serve to import conflict and divisiveness into the Rainbow Nation. It is time to tell them that kind of rhetoric is not welcome. For healing and peace both in South Africa and in the Middle East, the road forward needs to be constructive and positive.
Enough is enough!