ANC ‘proud’ of Jewish pupil who wore Palestinian scarf

2014-08-12 12:56

The ANC has come out in support of a Jewish high school pupil from Joburg who has enraged some in his community by openly supporting Palestinians.

Joshua Broomberg, who attends King David Victory Park High School, is representing South Africa at an international schools debating competition. He and his teammates were photographed wearing Palestinian scarves.

About 2 000 people signed a petition calling for him to be removed from the school’s students representative council and to have all his honours revoked. Counter petitions have urged the school not to target him for his views.

The South African Board of Jewish Education today confirmed that Broomberg would not lose his position at the school.

“This has been a learning opportunity for the 17-year-old pupil concerned [Broomberg] and he has both explained his stance in a later posting and genuinely apologised for the hurt it produced,” the board said.

“We acknowledge that the picture posted was insensitive and hurtful and was seen as such in the community.

“We appreciate his clarification to the community and he has further submitted an apology to his school for his actions. His apology has been accepted.”

The board considered the matter to be closed, with no further action to be taken.

The ANC’s national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said that Broomberg and his teammates’ actions “are an embodiment of ... principles that many South Africans and peoples of the world died for”.

“The African National Congress applauds the principled stance taken by these students to voice their opposition to the injustice of the Israeli aggression against the defenceless people of Palestine,” Kodwa said.

“It is with pride that we commend their actions as it is our belief that in the interests of entrenching democracy and promoting a just world order, as a nation we must produce conscious and activist young people determined to contribute to a more humane world.”

“There is no greater ideal as that captured by Joshua Broomberg in his own words,” said Kodwa.

These words, shared by Broomberg on his Facebook page and in a statement after the photograph of he and his teammates caused such outrage, were: “We stand with the thousands of civilians who have lost their lives in the conflict. We stand with a people who do not yet have a state to protect themselves. We stand with the innocents. We stand for two states. We do not stand against Israel.”

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