The irony is that “the girl who initially stood up for Israel’ and that turned her back on the Apartheid State ‘will now no longer be able to go there at all’, writes an Al Qalam Reporter.
South African celebrity Shashi Naidoo who last month announced that she would go to “Palestine” to “re-educate” herself was on Wednesday denied entry by Israeli border police when she tried to enter the Apartheid state with her entourage via the Allenby Bridge from Jordan.
Naidoo, a model, businesswoman and TV personality, came under fire last month when she defended Israel in an Instagram post. It led to howls of protest. However, she contacted BDS-South Africa to publicly express an apology and said she wished to educate herself on the Palestinian crisis.
Kwara Kekana, spokesperson for BDS-South Africa, said Naidoo’s entry into Israel, and that of her entourage, was blocked by Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deriand on the recommendation of Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
“Israel is yet again exposing its lie that it is open to ‘objective’ visitors. Israel only allows its own praise-singers. This is a clear indication of Israel’s refusal to allow freedom of movement, expression and association. This behavior by Israel infringes on our diplomatic relations and is a further indication of the need for South Africa to implement the ANC’s resolution for the immediate and unconditional downgrade of the SA Embassy as Israel. There can be no doubt that Israel is a hostile state to South Africa.
“Embarrassingly South Africa has never blocked entry to even the most right wing, extremist Israeli and shows the urgent need for South Africa to protect its dignity, sovereignty and put an end to the farce of diplomatic relations. This is also a complete violation of the sovereignty of Palestine, evidence of attempts to hide their oppression and an insult to us by denying the right of South Africans to travel.”
Naidoo joins a growing list of South Africans who have been denied passage to Palestine including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Minister Blade Nzimande, World Council of Churches leader Isabel Phiri and many others South African citizens.
Last week Naidoo told the SA Jewish Report via WhatsApp : “After my meeting at the Israeli Embassy, I have been declined access.
But Naidoo was determined to go – whether she was allowed into Israel or not. Her entourage included her mother and members of the Council of Churches and the SA Jews for a Free Palestine.
Before her departure, she told the paper: “I believe that flagging an individual, whose only intention was to push an agenda of love and light, is dubious. I have said numerous times that I have no desire to be a political tool. My only hope was to meet the people, experience the land and give aid to those in need. It was never a BDS itinerary. I really am devastated.”
She later wrote: “I was moving to Israel to do my Orthodox conversion. And now, nine months later I am not allowed entry.” Naidoo had been married to a Jewish man, Mark Sandler. They divorced in 2011.
Israel’s deputy ambassador to South Africa, Ayellet Black expained: “Israel has passed a law that, like any rational sovereign state, it denies entry to those seeking to harm the country. A BDS-planned mission such as this obviously intends to do just that.”
After her public apology and media statement through the BDS-SA platform, Naidoo orientated herself about the Palestinian fight for freedom. She had also declined to meet with the South African Zionist Federation.
At the time, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies and South African Zionist Federation released a statement, saying: “It took less than 48 hours for the BDS to do a complete turn-around over Shashi Naidoo… Indeed, the intention now is to set her up as a poster girl for the BDS movement.”
The newspaper said: “Israel clearly took notice of this, and the irony is that, thanks to BDS-SA, the girl who initially stood up for Israel will now no longer be able to go there at all.