It was with a sense of déjà vu that the SAJBD witnessed South African Ambassador to Israel, Sisa Ngombane, being shouted down when trying to speak at a press conference last Friday. The event was held to welcome back Leanne Naidoo following her participation on the Women’s Flotilla to Gaza initiative.
For years, it has been apparent that those bent on demonising Israel at every opportunity cannot bear it when others presume to present a different narrative. We have become accustomed to BDS and its supporters attempting to disrupt Jewish communal functions and intimidate those participating in them. However, it is not just those who celebrate Israel’s existence that they are intent on silencing, but anyone who publicly supports a negotiated two-state to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The disgraceful manner in which Ambassador Ngomabane was prevented from presenting his views is the latest evidence of this bullying and intolerance. It would appear, though, that the only democratic rights that anti-Israel radicals they are really concerned about are their own. Freedom for others, be it to express their opinions on the Middle East, to deciding where and what products they would like to buy, to attending Jewish-hosted functions, are clearly fair game when it comes to resorting to the kind of disruptive and bullying tactics for which it is now notorious.