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Symptomatic of a Larger Concern

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Issued:  13 August 2015


The Media Review Network (MRN) is utterly disgusted by events that took place at the Virgin Active Gym in Houghton on Wednesday evening, 12 August 2015.

Muhammed Desai of BDS South Africa was kicked out of Virgin Active for wearing a BDS T-shirt that angered Zionist patrons of the gym. The T-shirt had the logos of BDS South Africa, the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA) and a picture of our struggle icon, comrade Chris Hani.

Virgin Active succumbed to the pressure exerted by the Zionist lobby and declared that this type of paraphernalia are not allowed to be worn and that Desai would not be allowed to enter any Virgin Active establishment if he chooses to wear a BDS Palestine T-shirt.

While this incident is naturally concerning it also raises highly pertinent issues that must be aggressively considered and debated.

This incident is merely a symptom of a larger malaise the Zionist lobby in South Africa is experiencing. The Palestinian solidarity campaign, which includes the BDS, is an initiative that stands for freedom and justice, and opposes the racist Apartheid ideologies of Zionist Israel. The solidarity movements do not propagate anti-Jewishness but on the correction of gross human rights violations and the defiance of International Law perpetrated by the Zionist entity.

The pro-Palestinian solidarity structures including the BDS challenges the right of Israel to exist as a ‘Jewish State’. The Zionists have not given a definition of what is meant by a ‘Jewish State’. The pro-Palestinian solidarity movements have shifted the terrain by questioning the legitimacy of Zionism, which is racist and discriminatory.

The banning of Muhammed Desai again throws open the discussion around the democratic principles of freedom of speech and expression and open discourse. We also recognise that the BDS is part of a broader solidarity campaign very active in South Africa. This campaign is a people’s protest against the political, economic and cultural environment within the Zionist Apartheid Israel.

The pro-Palestinian solidarity movement will not be stymied, stifled or deterred from its objectives. We will remain steadfast in our conviction for the freedom and justice of Palestinians.


Issued by:

Nabila Ismail

Researcher, Media Review Network

Tel: (+27) 011 837 3220