Questions are being raised as to why the CEO of the Zionist organization, Jewish National Fund, is pushing hard for Miss SA to participate in Miss Universe pageant in Israel despite opposition, writes an Al Qalam Reporter.
Amidst growing calls for Miss South Africa to withdraw her proposed participation in the Miss Universe Pageant to be held in Israel next month, alarming media reports are now emerging that the head of the Miss SA Pageant, Stephanie Weil has links with the pro-Zionist group, the Jewish National Group.
Now media commentators say the reason why Weil whose public relations company represents the Jewish National Fund, has been pushing hard for Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane not to be swayed by pressure, “makes perfect sense”.
One twitter user, Bongani Bingwa, made a two word statement: “Dot’s connecting?”
Weil, who is the chief executive officer of the PR company Nine Squared, is yet to respond to the allegations.
Media commentator Dr Haroon Jazbhay wrote in an opinion piece (see page 8).
“Her insistence (in sending Mswane) to Israel brings up suspicions of vested interests on the path of the CEO of Miss SA, Stephanie Weil. Weil needs to make full public disclosure what she or the organizations allied with her have in defending and promoting Israel.
Despite immense pressure from Palestine activist groups and others, Mswane remains mum about the controversy swirling above her head.
Earlier, Nathi Mthetwa, Minister of Arts and Culture had urged Mswane to withdraw from the Miss Universe Pageant in Israel. In a statement he said she would be better off not going.
He said: “If anything, by withdrawing, Miss South Africa’s reputation and overall standing will be far more advanced in South Africa and internationally in comparison to a once off event in Israel that can prove disastrous to her future and public standing as a young, black woman…our first preference was to try and find each other so as to issue a joint media statement. This has regrettably been unsuccessful, hence the decision now to publicly distance the South African Government and the people of South Africa from Miss SA pageant organiser’s stance on this matter.”
Meanwhile, The South African Muslim Network (SAMNET) has sent a letter to Nathi Mthetwa, Minister of Arts and Culture, applauding the Government for taking the “moral and ethical stance” in calling for Miss South Africa to withdraw from the beauty pageant in Israel.
Dr Faisal Suleman, Chairperson of SAMNET wrote: “The South African Muslim Network supports the call by the South African government for Miss SA South Africa, Lalela Mswane to withdraw from the Miss Universe pageant to be held in Apartheid Israel, in keeping with the call of Palestinians themselves as well as various other human rights groupings globally.
“Notwithstanding the support of the pageant by the very well organized, resourced and financed Zionist lobby in South Africa, we applaud our government for taking the moral and ethical position of calling on Miss Mswane to withdraw from the pageant and not normalizing the Apartheid regime in Israel.
“Just a few weeks ago, South African diplomat Lesiba Machaba was harassed, intimidated and assaulted by Israeli police for showing solidarity with Palestinian farmers whose olives and farmland were being destroyed by the illegal Israeli occupation forces.
“We hope our government will continue to be resolute in support of the BDS movement against Israel”.
Muhammed Desai, spokesman for activist group, Africa4Palestine, said in a statement that there are clear and negative consequences for the image of South Africa with Miss South Africa proceeding to participate in this year’s Miss Universe.
He said they were expecting the withdrawal to happen earlier last week, before the u-turn and backtracking by Mswane, “presumably under pressure from her boss Stephanie Weil – the CEO of Miss South Africa”.
“The calls to boycott this year’s Miss Universe were initially made by Chief Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela and the Royal House of Mandela and Mveso, followed by civil society groups including #Africa4Palesitne, PSAYL, YH4P, Y4P, KZN PSF, ANC, EFF, Al Jamah, COSATU, SACP, ANCWL, ANCYL, MYM of Venda, NFP, ANC and many others.
“Stephanie Weil and the Miss South Company have done damage to our image as a nation and threaten to undermine our principled government position by being “ambassadors for South Africa” in a country where we have no official ambassador – and for good reason. We hope that Weil and Miss South Africa, the company, allows Miss SA to withdraw from the competition due to take place in Israel on the land of disposed Palestinians.
“If the Miss South Africa organisation does not allow a withdrawal, we as Africa4Palestine, will proceed with our major planned protest in Johannesburg.