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Jewish leader implicated in violent assault of Palestine activists; one left in concussion

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow morning South African activists will officially lay charges against the South African Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO), the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF), the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) as well as the SAJBD’s President, Mr Zev Krengel. This comes after the recent violent assault of two young women Palestine solidarity activists (including the daughter of a senior official from South Africa’s trade union federation, COSATU) and four others. One Palestine solidarity activist was left in a state of concussion due to the assault injuries (click here for the press statement).

On Monday night supporters of Israel held a concert to celebrate Israeli Independence Day at Gold Reef City Casino in Johannesburg. Palestinian protesters contested that the Israeli celebration was essentially a “celebration of murder, expulsion and continued Israeli oppression against the indigenous Palestinian people” and accordingly arranged a picket outside the venue where over 250 members from COSATU, the SACP, 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 non-violent, unarmed, 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 (click here for, “Israeli Opera Singer Stink-bombed during Johannesburg show”). During the direct-action protest inside Gold Reef City, two young women protesters, amongst four others, were violently assaulted by the Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO).

– Repeatedly shoving 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”, “break their necks” and “kill them”;
– A member of the Jewish community, Ms Isla Feldman (director of the SA Zionist Federation) punching a woman protester in the face;
– In addition, a charge of theft will be laid for illegally confiscating cellphones and other possessions from the protesters.
– See attached for a photo of an injured protester as well as that of CSO members who carried large semi-automatic weapons and prevented the SAPS from carrying out the role of safety and security on the night.

Rose*, one of the two Palestine solidarity victims from Monday night’s violent assault by members of the South African Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO) has identified Mr Zev Krengel (President of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies), as one of the approximately 10 people present in the parking lot of Gold Reef City in Johannesburg where she was physically assaulted. (* Not her real name. The victim wishes to remain anonymous.)

The Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO), a 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”.

In 2009 the respected human rights advocate, Geoff Budlender, released a fact-finding report that confirmed acts of racial profiling by the Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO). The “Budlender Report” quotes numerous factual accounts of racial treatment and the trauma experienced at the hands of the CSO, for example, one Wits University staff member stated that the conduct of a CSO security official “made her think of the apartheid days”. Anyone taking the law into their hands (including the SAJBD and SAZF) through violent private security (such as the Jewish CSO) in our democratic society is unacceptable – its a form of vigilantism and thuggery.

We end off this BDS email alert with the words of Uyanda Mabece, one of the seriously injured protesters: “The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), SA Zionist Federation (SAZF) and their Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO) must be held accountable for what they did…its also a sad reflection of how Israel and its supporters deal with protests and criticism. However, we are very deeply aware that what we 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.” See below this email for other comments. Finally, if you would like to send a message of support to the young protesters from Monday night, send an email to administrator@bdssouthafrica.com

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