South Africa University Hit by Anti-Israel Protest

Witwatersrand U. Erupts in Conflict Over Israeli Jazz Show

wikimedia

By Geoff Sifrin (Haaretz)

Published September 04, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A proud bastion of anti-apartheid, the University of the Witwatersrand, found itself the target last week after the Johannesburg school hosted an Israeli jazz quartet - triggering a round of protests by anti-Israel activists.

During the era of apartheid, the 1960s to the 1980s, Wits University in Johannesburg seethed with protest. The school offered academic studies into apartheid. Anti-apartheid NGOs proliferated, run by students and faculty, many of them Jewish. Students mounted picket lines and police broke up demonstrations and made arrests.

Last Wednesday evening, Wits’ tradition took an ironic twist. Jewish erstwhile activists, now in their 60s and 70s, revisited their alma mater for a concert featuring Israeli saxophonist Daniel Zamir and his quartet in the Great Hall – the venue where they had attended anti-apartheid meetings – and found themselves walking through picket lines manned by demonstrators with white tape over their mouths. Placards condemned ‘apartheid Israel’, and accused the newly appointed Wits’ principal, Professor Adam Habib, of ‘silencing’ them.

Five months earlier, during “Israel Apartheid Week” on campus, the Israeli-born pianist Yossi Reshef had abandoned his concert at Wits after 15 minutes as BDS demonstrators stormed the hall. Reshef was escorted out by security. The university had apologized for the debacle and billed last week’s concert as a replacement for it, as proof of its impartiality.

For more, go to Haaretz


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.