Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Jewish South African Student’s Kaffiyeh Facebook Post Causes Outrage

A Facebook picture of a South African Jewish high school student wearing a traditional Palestinian scarf has triggered outrage and a petition calling for his removal from an honorary position, as well as a dueling petition in his defense.

Joshua Broomberg, deputy head boy of the King David Victory Park High School, a Jewish day school, and the captain of the South African national debate team, was tagged in a Facebook photograph wearing a traditional Palestinian scarf and a badge of the Palestinian flag, according to the Independent Online, a South African news website.

The caption of the photo stated: “Team South Africa wearing Palestinian badges and Keffiyehs to show our opposition to the human rights violations carried out against the people of Palestine.” Broomberg and the debate team were in Thailand competing in the World Schools Debating Championship.

In response to the posting, a petition was posted online at change.org calling for Broomberg’s removal as deputy head boy, an honorary student post. The petition quickly garnered 2,000 online signatures. In response, an opposing petition was also posted at change.org, opposing Broomberg’s removal. That petition has garnered more than 4,000 signatures.

Rabbi Craig Kacev, general director of the South African Board of Jewish Education, which oversees King David Victory Park, said that Broomberg would not be suspended and defended the student’s right to free speech, telling South Africa’s Eyewitness News, “We encourage critical thinking, we encourage our learners to debate and there’s no censorship in our school.”

In a post on Facebook, Broomberg apologized for creating an “uproar,” which he said he did not intend, but defended himself as a proud Jew and as a Zionist, and stated, “While I apologise for the hurt we seem to have caused, I do not apologise for standing with Palestine on this issue.”

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.