We Reject Racist Call to Boycott Jewish Businesses in SA

Article excerpt

We are members of the Muslim community of South Africa. It has come to our attention that an e-mail has been circulated that calls for a boycott of Jewish-owned businesses in South Africa as a response to the Israeli attack on Gaza.

We note that no representative Muslim organisation, nor the various Palestine Solidarity organisations, have supported these anonymously circulated messages.

We are horrified and angered by the Israeli attack and the massacre of civilians. In contrast to the widely promoted view that Hamas broke the ceasefire, the Israeli Defence Force broke the truce on November 4 last year with a raid into Gaza that killed six persons alleged to be members of Hamas.

We condemn Israel's loose definition of legitimate targets, which has included the education, interior and foreign ministries, the parliament building, a hospital, a United Nations compound and UN schools. Since the Israeli invasion of Gaza started, more than 1 300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis have been killed.

Wilfully and indiscriminately attacking civilian targets is a crime against humanity regardless of who commits it. We therefore condemn all such attacks and support a mutually agreed upon ceasefire.

We also agree with calls for the immediate and complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, the lifting of the siege of Gaza and an end to the occupation. Palestinians living throughout the West Bank, Gaza and Israel should be given full and equal civil rights.

While we remain committed to various acts in solidarity with Palestinians, we are nevertheless appalled at the occasional manifestations of anti-Semitism in our community.

We do not believe that the injury and destruction suffered by the Palestinians should be an excuse for anti-Semitism among us. All racism, including anti-Semitism, is deplorable.

We therefore reject the demand to boycott any businesses in South Africa or elsewhere simply because their owners are identified as Jews. To single out Jews for any kind of attack or action in this manner is racism, something that all of us deeply detest and many of us have fought against for much of our lives.

Our condemnation does not preclude support for a boycott of Israeli, settler- produced products or local and international companies that support the occupation. …