Johannesburg, 18 June 2018: For hard-core haters of Israel, merely defaming and demonising the Jewish state is no longer enough. Now, they are using blatant threats and intimidation to punish and silence anyone who dares to challenge their bigoted narrative.
Shashi Naidoo has become the latest victim of this thuggish vendetta. For tweeting comments expressing support for Israel and condemning its enemies, she has become the recipient of multiple death threats, in addition to being subjected to a flood online abuse. This hysterical invective continues unchecked, despite Naidoo having since apologised for at one point using an expression that she concedes was insulting.
The SA Jewish Board of Deputies is appalled by how flagrantly the right to freedom of expression is being abused when it comes to debating the Israeli-Palestinian question. When it comes to Israel, it is a case of “anything goes”. Those who hate the Jewish state are permitted to express themselves in the most virulent, over-the-top terms, without fear of harassment. It is a very different question for those who take a stand on Israel’s behalf, particularly when they are public figures.
One does not have to be a supporter of Israel to deplore how extremists on the other side are hijacking the conversation with a view to ensuring that their side only is heard. It is something that needs to be condemned across the board, not only as a threat to fundamental democratic freedom, but as an affront to common decency.