South African BDS slam Shimon Peres
The BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement against Israel in Johannesburg Sunday night tried to disrupt a huge event in support of Israel with the participation of thousands of members of the Jewish communities in South Africa.
The keynote speaker and guest of honor was Israel’s ninth president, Shimon Peres, and outside the Intercontinental hotel where the event was held, BDS activists waited and clashed with police.
Some held signs against Peres that read “Blood on your hands” and “Remember Qana” ( during operation Grapes of Wrath in 1996, while Peres was prime minister, an IDF shell hit a UN shelter in Qana in Lebanon, killing 106 people)
Hours before the event a large amount of security forces were deployed around the hotel and entire streets were closed due to heavy alerts regarding violent protests. Even before Peres arrived there was a call to issue an arrest warrant against him, but Jewish community leaders made it clear that all of South Africa’s legal institutions dismissed these claims.
Peres said in his speech at the conference that “any threats or attempts to hurt us and Israel will not deter me from standing on this stage and fighting the just war of the State of Israel. I am proud to stand here tonight. You are a warm, Zionist and loving community. I know you are going through difficult times and I come to you today with a strengthening message of love from the citizens of the State of Israel.”
He addressed the political process saying that “there is no other solution that will lead to peace other than the two-state solution. Things change quickly in the Middle East, but our longing to live with our neighbors will never change.”
Earlier, Peres met with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s second wife, and he told her that “in each of us is a Nelson Mandela outlining the path to peace and reconciliation. Nelson was a dear friend of mine and his morality, nobility and courage brighten our future.”