Johannesburg demo against Israeli Independence Day ends in violence

ProtestIsraeliIndependenceDay15April2013
Protest Israeli Independence Day April 15, 2013
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Israeli Independence Day protest Johannesburg April 15, 2013

A protest against Israeli Independence Day at the Gold Reef City Casino in Johannesburg turned violent on Monday night after members of the South African Palestinian solidarity activist community were reportedly assaulted by the Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO). One activist suffered a concussion.

PRESS RELEASE BDS South Africa: Jewish security organization violently assaults two women protesters; one protester left in concussion

 

South African activists are pressing charges against the South African Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO), the South African Zionist Federation and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) for the recent violent assault of two young women Palestine solidarity protesters (including the daughter of a senior member from South Africa’s largest trade union federation, COSATU) . One Palestine solidarity protester was left in a state of concussion due to the assault injuries.

Last night supporters of Israel held a music concert to celebrate Israeli Independence Day at Gold Reef City Casino in Johannesburg, which was organized by the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD). The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) had insisted on arranging their own security (the “Jewish Community Security Organization”) instead of allowing either Gold Reef City Casino or the South African Police Services (SAPS) to perform the role of safety and security for the Israeli event.

Palestinian protesters contested that the Israeli celebration was essentially a “celebration of murder, expulsion and continued Israeli oppression against the indigenous Palestinian people” and arranged a picket outside the venue where over 250 members from COSATU, the SA Students Congress, BDS South Africa and several other civil society organizations were present. In addition, young activists (mostly women students) had also bought tickets, made their way into the venue of the Israeli event and partook in a direct-action Greenpeace-like protest where they released bad smelling “stinky-bombs” and wore T-shirts that read “Israeli Apartheid Stinks” in luminous green writing.

During the direct-action protest inside Gold Reef City, two young women protesters were violently assaulted by the Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO) including having their hands tied with cables, their faces covered and their heads smashed into the parking lot’s concrete paving. Other protesters were forcibly thrown down escalators and one protester was locked into a passageway where he was repeatedly and simultaneously kicked in the stomach by more than five Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO) personnel – he later suffered a concussion. Members of the Jewish community attending the event also punched a woman protester in the face several times resulting in a serious swelling injury.

 
Charges against the Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO), the SA Zionist Federation (SAZF) and the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) include:
– Smashing the heads of two young women protesters into the concrete paving of the Gold Reef City Casino parking lot;
- Illegally restraining the young protesters with cable ties and leaving them with their heads covered in the Gold Reef City parking lot;
- Locking a protester into a passage way, throwing him to the ground and then instructing over five security personnel to kick the protester, which resulted in a state of concussion;
- Throwing two young women protesters down escalators resulting in several body bruises, including a badly injured leg;
- Forcibly hurling several women protesters onto walls;
- Verbally abusing the young protesters, including threatening to “find them” and “kill them”;
- In addition, a charge of theft will be laid against the Jewish CSO, the SAJBD and the SAZF for having illegally confiscated cellphones and other possessions from the protesters.

University of Johannesburg academic, Professor Farid Esack, who witnessed the violent assaults on protesters by the Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO), commented: “Its unacceptable that any local community security organization, including that of the the Jewish community (the Jewish Community Security Organization), operates above the law and in this militarized fashion. Given that the Jewish Community Security Organization was recently guilty of racial-profiling and discrimination at Wits University, they together with all Israeli-connected security entities operating in this country, should be banned from any and all future events. They are a threat to our people and I will personally be taking this up with relevant government departments.”

The Jewish CSO, a mostly clandestine security body operating in South Africa since 1993, is led by former Israeli Defense Force (IDF) member, Colonel Amir Noy. Noy served for 14 years in the IDF before working as a project manager for the Zimbabwean government. Noy explains the role of the Jewish CSO as that of: “Protecting Jewish life and Jewish way of life [in South Africa]…[its] a bond of brotherhood”.

Another high-profile witness to the violent assaults was Chris Mathlako, the International Relations Secretary of the South African Communist Party (a member of the ruling ANC tripartite alliance). Mathlako also slammed the Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO) and added that: “I was shocked at the way in which the Jewish Community Security Organization was behaving like a bunch of thugs, carrying large semi-automatic weapons, beating up young activists and threatening to kill them. The Jewish Community Security Organization is not above the law and should not think that they can get away with this sort of behaviour in our country. This is a serious indictment on the SA Jewish Board of Deputies and the South African Zionist Federation.”

Uyanda Mabeche, one of the seriously injured protesters had this to say: “The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), SA Zionist Federation (SAZF) and their Jewish CSO must be held accountable for what they did to me and my fellow colleagues…its also a sad reflection of how Israel and its supporters deal with protests and criticism. However, I’m very deeply aware that what myself and my colleagues experienced – although very traumatic – is nothing in comparison to what Palestinians go through on a daily basis under the yoke of Israeli apartheid and occupation.”

Issued by Muhammed Desai for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions in South Africa (BDS South Africa)

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Israeli Independence Day protest Johannesburg April 15, 2013
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Israeli Independence Day protest Johannesburg April 15, 2013
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Israeli Independence Day protest Johannesburg April 15, 2013
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Israeli Independence Day protest Johannesburg April 15, 2013

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani
Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Nakba, Occupation

{ 20 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Fritz says:

    You should be very careful here. May be that the SA pro-Palestine activists like to exaggerate a bit just as the radical Brooklyn pro-Israel activists exaggerated the removal of the four Hillel students from the BDS event with Barghouti and Butler as an anti-semitic act.

    • fritz, why should we be very careful? they are pressing charges and this is a press release. pro israeli activists have a reputation for fabrication and exaggeration, the same cannot be said for bds south africa.

    • Ecru says:

      Pro-Israeli activists have form for “exaggeration” (read lying) about things, Pro-Palestinian activists don’t usually need to. Unfortunately.

      • Fritz says:

        Hm, I ‘ve some experiences with SA political activists, which are strange and are very different from what’s usual seen as non-violent protests in Western countries (remember the deeds of the once celebrated Winnie Mandela).
        There is also some information about the events from BDS SA, which shows more clearly the disruptive character of the picketing than the “stinky bombs” mentioned above:

        BDS South Africa Co-ordinator Muhammad Desai said the protest was directed at the celebration and not the individual performers. Some protesters managed to gain entry to the Lyric Theatre and “released stink bombs and chanted slogans which disturbed the performance that was taking place” said Desai.

        • fritz, did you read your own link?

          A statement released by the BDS

          i’ve posted the entire press release. your article is quoting from the same press release. do you see the end of it in bold above….

          Issued by Muhammed Desai for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions in South Africa (BDS South Africa)

          that so happens to be the same name in your blockquote. so what exactly does your article inform us that is not contained in the post above? that we should be “very careful” about?

          are you implying it’s okay to assault someone for this form of protest?

          link to bdssouthafrica.com

          BREAKING: S. African Jewish community leader implicated in violent assault against Palestine solidarity protesters

          Rose*, one of the two Palestine solidarity victims from Monday night’s violent assault by members of the South African Jewish Community Security Organization has revealed that Mr Zev Krengel, the President of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), was present and also involved in the violent assault of herself and her colleague.

          During a counseling session yesterday afternoon, Rose identified Mr Zev Krengel as one of the approximately 10 people present in the parking lot of Gold Reef City in Johannesburg where she was physically assaulted by security personnel belonging to the Jewish CSO. “The Jewish CSO members”, Rose explains, “had my hands tied with cables, my face forced on the ground and would forcibly lift my head up by my hair so that the man wearing a checkered shirt could take photos of my face with his cellphone camera. This happened several times”. Rose later identified Krengel as the man with the “checkered shirt.”

          (remember the deeds of the once celebrated Winnie Mandela).

          don’t you mean the allegations? maybe it’s you who should be ‘very careful’.

        • Fritz says:

          Annie : “what exactly does your article inform us that is not contained in the post above?”. I wanted to point to the disruptive character of BDS-SA protest. However, I don’t want to defend the behavior of the security personal or something like that.

          My two objections are: 1. The BDS-SA group planned to disrupt and to disturb the event. That is not clearly stated in the material above (only stinky bombs, which sound a little bit more childish than disrupting a performance with the aim to disturb the whole event). If the four Hillel student picketers of the Butler/Barghouti Brooklyn event are criticized, than the same standards should be applied to BDS-SA activists. 2. May be I’m prejudiced, because I defended Winnie Mandela in the 80ties and had to learn that I was wrong. I had also some experiences with unusual aggressive and sometimes violent behavior of SA activists. We should consider that some people act with a clear provocative and aggressive agenda which is not at all fair to other people. If I defend the rights of the minority who wants to have a BDS event in Brooklyn against the will of a majority of the Brooklyn or New York establishment, I should also defend the right of a Jewish or pro-Israeli minority in SA to have an event for Independence day against the will of the majority of the pro-Palestine SA establishment.

        • you’re being disingenuous fritz. the only ‘violence’ carried out here is by members of the S. African Jewish community. and as for ‘disruptive character of BDS-SA protest’ ‘not clearly stated’..it’s rather self evident the whole point of protesters who bought tickets to go inside and raised a stink was to disrupt the event. that is the nature of a protest of this kind. like this: link to democracynow.org

          note she is not being violent. protests are often made to be provocative, to get attention. but provocations are not, by definition, a provocation of or for violence. this was a violent assault, so mentioning allegations about mandela from decades ago is purely a hasbara tactic, it has absolutely nothing to do with this protest or the brooklyn college event (note the people asked to leave were not violently assaulted and denied their intent was to disrupt the event, which was likely a lie). big fail. and you still didn’t tell me what i better be ‘very careful’ about. not mentioning the disruptive nature of a stink bomb? very careful indeed!

        • Fritz says:

          Your democracynow link shows the codepink people protesting drone-war during a Congress hearing. Ok, Annie, You made a point about disruptive protests.

  2. According to LinkedUp, Col. Noy worked in Zimbabwe in the field of “security and investigations” for Glamer International, apparently a policing and security firm. Perhaps the democratic opposition to Mugabe knows something about him. No doubt this is not his first experience as a hired thug.

  3. An International backlash against Israel is imminent. I can feel it in my bones – and it can’t happen soon enough!

  4. a blah chick says:

    Back in the 90′s I recall seeing a report on TV about some to do in South Africa for which the government had invited Arafat. Some reporter asked why the new South African government would invite such a person and the South African guy said we don’t forget the people who stood by us during those dark times.

  5. Sumud says:

    Love the banner!!

    APARTHEID
    South Africa’s History
    Palestine’s Current Reality
    Boycott Apartheid Israel

    Powerful stuff.

  6. hophmi says:

    You neglected to mention that a protester rushed the stage and threw the stink bomb there, and that security was extra tight because the Israeli embassy had received multiple warning that there would be protests in the hall.

    So as usual, you’re not telling the truth.

    link to ynetnews.com

    • Sumud says:

      So as usual, you’re not telling the truth.

      Read the article next time bozo:

      In addition, young activists (mostly women students) had also bought tickets, made their way into the venue of the Israeli event and partook in a direct-action Greenpeace-like protest where they released bad smelling “stinky-bombs” and wore T-shirts that read “Israeli Apartheid Stinks” in luminous green writing.

    • Sumud says:

      Noted you don’t seem bothered by:

      - Smashing the heads of two young women protesters into the concrete paving of the Gold Reef City Casino parking lot;
      - Illegally restraining the young protesters with cable ties and leaving them with their heads covered in the Gold Reef City parking lot;
      - Locking a protester into a passage way, throwing him to the ground and then instructing over five security personnel to kick the protester, which resulted in a state of concussion;
      - Throwing two young women protesters down escalators resulting in several body bruises, including a badly injured leg;
      - Forcibly hurling several women protesters onto walls;
      - Verbally abusing the young protesters, including threatening to “find them” and “kill them”;
      - In addition, a charge of theft will be laid against the Jewish CSO, the SAJBD and the SAZF for having illegally confiscated cellphones and other possessions from the protesters.

      What is it with zionists and stealing things…?!? Parasites.

    • Cliff says:

      This is not unusual for pro-Israel/Zionists.

      They regularly treat Palestinians and Palestinian solidarity activists who defy their propaganda in this violent way.

      We get harassed and called STALINISTS by hysterical Zionist Jews like yonah something but our activists get blindfolded and bound and beaten til they have a concussion.

      link to youtube.com

      link to youtube.com

      Zionist trolls on-line and Zionist trolls IRL.

    • Ecru says:

      Hophmi you wouldn’t know the truth if it smacked you round the face with a wet halibut.

      However as to your complaint about stink bombs and t-shirts. It may come as a surprise to you but reasonable people don’t think they constitute and existential threat to any one or any thing. Only Zionists and their equally vile fellow travellers would think repeatedly slamming somebody’s face into a concrete surface is a reasonable response to that type of protest.

  7. Djinn says:

    Try actually READING articles before commenting Hophmi, you’d look less stupid (not much admittedly)

  8. gamal says:

    “University of Johannesburg academic, Professor Farid Esack, who witnessed the violent assaults on protesters by the Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO)”

    I met Dr. Esack, in the ’90′s and was fortunate to get him to deliver a talk at the seminary i ran on “The Pain of Being A Muslim in Modern World” while he was studying for his doctorate at Sellyoak college in Birmingham, UK.

    He was forced out of the leadership Muslim Youth Movement the pretext being that he gave his copy of “The Satanic Verses”, which was banned in SA, to Nadime Gordimer.

    he was a leader of the ANC youth wing and being a cape Malay lived under Apartheid in conditions of considerable oppression, twice caring alone for his single mother after she suffered gross and very violent assaults, and engaged in very dangerous protests against the South African regime, he stayed in my home and developed a cordial dislike for me, i am a ghetto boy i dont make friends with scholars, unless they are paying me, he didnt like my Pitbull and thought me a bit of an irreligious hooligan, the Tanka’s and smell of weed smoke didnt help us bond, he was the only one i ever had to my home who was not a relative, though he was always too polite to directly express his contempt, that the Jewish community, that did quite well out of Apartheid, is willing to act with such brutal stupidity in the presence of such individuals is a sure sign they are finished. I hope that some of those fools are severely punished for these acts. Perhaps the Jewish ethical tradition is not all its cracked up to be, certainly one can see why Goldstone recanted, if the Jewish community cant free itself from Zionism its doomed, and no one is going to miss it.

    link to en.wikipedia.org