Israeli envoy lecture cancelled

2012-05-21 17:50

Durban - A lecture by an Israeli diplomat at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) was cancelled on Monday, less than 24-hours before he was to speak.

In a short statement, the university said it regretted the cancellation.

It said the decision to cancel deputy ambassador Yaakov Finkelstein’s lecture had been difficult.

"The university is committed to a non-racial and democratic society where debate, dialogue and divergent viewpoints are encouraged.

"However, in view of the sensitivities of the visit and in the best interest of all parties concerned the decision was taken to cancel this lecture," it said

Invitations to the lecture were sent out on May 16.

Negative publicity

According to a news statement issued by the anti-Israeli group Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in SA, the lecture was cancelled on Sunday afternoon.

The university’s deputy vice chancellor Joseph Ayee sent a short e-mail to staff informing them of the cancellation.

In it, he wrote: "I have re-considered the sensitivities that the visit of the Israeli deputy ambassador have generated.

"Given the negative publicity that the visit will give UKZN, I hereby cancel the visit and the lecture by the Israeli deputy ambassador scheduled for tomorrow, Monday 21 May 2012.

Academic boycott

"UKZN is bigger than all of us. I believe that for an event to be held under a cloud with likely reputational damage for the institution is not in the interest of all of us."

BDS spokesperson Muhammed Desai said in a statement that Ayee's announcement came at the request of students and staff, as hosting Finkelstein would have violated the "academic boycott" of Israel.

Israeli embassy spokesperson Hila Stern said the lecture was a regular occurrence that had been cancelled in co-operation with the university.

She said a pro-Palestinian campaign of "intimidation and threats" had reached a level where "there was a genuine threat to the diplomat’s well-being".

Intellectual terror

She said it was a concern that a country which had fought hard for freedom of speech would allow a minority to shut it down.

"Anti-Israeli elements have embarked on a campaign of intellectual terror which rejects everything that academia believes in, meaning dialogue, discussions, research, understanding and freedom of speech," she said.

"The use of bullying to silence freedom of expression in an academic setting is a very sad development. As the saying goes, ‘There’s none so deaf as those who will not hear'."

The university said it hoped to host the diplomat in the near future in "a collegial environment".

  • zipho500 - 2012-05-21 18:05

    Good and thank u

      Squeegee - 2012-05-21 18:31

      Its a pity the University does not have the guts shown by the gallery displaying the presidents shortcomings. Cowardly caving to anti-Semitic pressure. Remember how history judged the Nazis.

      Jason - 2012-05-21 18:54

      Yeah keep your blinkers on dumbo.

      Ronnie - 2012-05-21 19:03

      Yes Typical South African mentallity no problem with Zimbabwe and Bob

      Fidel - 2012-05-21 20:43

      How is a cultural boycott of Israel anti-semitic? Were the millions around the world who boycotted SA anti-boer?

      Jason - 2012-05-21 20:51

      It would take a far stretch of the imagination to equate the two as being remotely similar. you would need to be fairly ignorant to buy into it but hey, the bigger the lie the more ppl believe it right?

      Fidel - 2012-05-21 21:33

      There are a lot of craftly written racist laws in Israel designed to disenfrachise the "other". Do your own homework and lets see how dedicated you are in finding the truth since you give the impression that you speak on its behalf.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-21 22:33

      Unfortunately you're harming the Palestinains, and now South Africa, with this faulty reactionary response.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-21 22:39

      Fidel, as mentioned previously, if you really care about human rights and the Palestinians, you'd be far better advised to spend your time encouraging the Palestinians to choose peace side by side with Israel, rather than hours and hours on things that will lead you, and them, nowhere. Once they choose peace and acknowledge the right of Israel to exist, there'll be peace. The more they choose to attack Israel, and teach their children at Kindergarten to do so too, the more they will suffer. It's as easy as this.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-05-21 23:45

      Fred, that's where you have it so wrong.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-22 04:04

      No Fidel, that is what it comes down to. You've tried the other way for 60 years with zero positive results, only more suffering for Palestinians. Time to try peace, don't you think.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-22 04:31

      A definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again with the same negative results. What you and many Palestinians have been doing the past 60 years, incited by the self-serving and unelected dictators in the region, is nothing short of madness. With tragic consequences, mainly for the Palestinians. It doesn't have to be this way. Continuing on the same path, doing the same things, will undoubtedly keep things the same, though, with only more suffering for the Palestinians, and no positive outcome, no resolution.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-22 05:18

      The last two message should be to Goodthing.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-22 05:21

      Goodthing, you're upside down. This much is obvious. You think the US attacked itself on 9/11, Afghanistan was invaded by the CIA in the 1980's not the Soviet Union, the Rothschilds are the source of evil in our world, and central banks are arms of private banks not governments. Now you think choosing peace and living side by side with Israel is the wrong thing for the Palestinians to do.

      jaba.kov - 2012-05-22 07:51

      South African hostility towards Jews & Israel will eventually backfire in faculties from Harvard to Oxford, from Yale to Princeton. Madiba (who received his Honours from Ben Gurion University in Israel) will be disgraced by this racist organisation (BDS) that is harming South Africa more than it is aiding the Palestinians. What the Palestinians need is for a third party to bring them together not tear them apart like BDS is succeeding in doing. Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in SA uses fear and intimidation to cut ties between South Africa & Israel… and the only ones that will pay the price are South African students.

  • Vusi - 2012-05-21 18:08

    I thought Zuma and the ANC were DICKTATORS but it looks like I was wrong, why do people who are not of South African origin have to threaten and Dicktate on our soil?

      Jason - 2012-05-21 18:55

      Read the article. They are concerned over the well being of their brains trust. Mind you he would probably be wasting his time here in any event.

      Defenderfujvfk - 2012-05-25 22:50

      Thick Idiot If your land was stolen you kids killed in front of you and people occupying your land every day woul you not appreciate some sympathy?

  • Mark - 2012-05-21 18:10

    We'll bounce the Dalai Lama and the Israelis, yet we'll host North Koreans at state sponsored youth festivals - mere weeks after dropping bombs on a South Korean island. Is it so difficult to be consistent in our dealings with other countries? I think that DIRCO needs a serious policy revision.

  • Holdanigono - 2012-05-21 18:18

    These academics are blind cowards. Seems to me you can send rockets into a country and suicide bombers, that's ok, but protect your people against threats and academics will boycott you. It was the same with those who supported Mugabe, he got honorary doctorates and accolades, and look how that turned out.

      Jason - 2012-05-21 21:04

      "Seems to me you can send rockets into a country and suicide bombers, that's ok, but protect your people against threats and academics will boycott you." Oh, reeeeeally? I love this argument that ALWAYS crops up from apologists... I wonder how many of those who gave this comment a "Thumbs Up" remember this EXACT same argument being made by the NATS and Apartheid apologists? Only then the bombs were in shopping centres, night clubs, restaurants and schools, while the "terrorists" were living in townships and "homelands" under occupation by the SANDF. Hmmmm, and we all wonder why the world is beginning to treat the State of Israel like an Apartheid regime? Duh!

  • Tamaranui - 2012-05-21 18:19

    Munch on them Kugels somewhere else,

      Tamaranui - 2012-05-21 18:26

      """................campaign of "intimidation and threats" .............""" Must be referring to the Zionist,

      Jason - 2012-05-21 18:56

      Yeah keep stoning women.

  • Burtfred - 2012-05-21 18:23

    Muslims win again

      jaba.kov - 2012-05-22 08:04

      And South Africa has lost.

      Larry - 2012-05-22 09:18

      There is no tangible win. The Palestinians will lose as Israeli hearts continue to harden against their beligerence.

      Larry - 2012-05-22 20:20

      Well then, go get yourself a barf bag, Lesego. There is far worse in this world if you care to look and listen. Lying shill.

  • Fidel - 2012-05-21 18:29

    GOOD, end all cultural activities with the Apartheid Zionist state. Free Palestine now. The DBS movement is generating steam around the world. The Israelis must be made to feel like the polecats of the world they are, just like their former apartheid allies in this country.

      Jason - 2012-05-21 18:57

      You my friend have the intellectual capacity of a blow fish. You would likely do well running for the presidency. Then you can align yourself and this country with terrorists.

      Fidel - 2012-05-21 19:30

      I'm sad to learn that I'm not yet a member of the intelligentsia and won't get a tee-shirt printed until my intellect impresses someone of a higher calibre.

      Sharon - 2012-05-21 19:40

      Does this have as much to do with Palestinians as it does with Iran????

      Jason - 2012-05-21 19:44

      Dont worry Fidel over time with hard work you too can earn some brain cells. Just keep killing the innocent in the name of your religion.

      H.Les.Mitchell - 2012-05-21 20:39

      My God! You are so bloody ignorant. Are you at UKZN? It's "BDS", not "DBS". Just take a few minutes of your worthless life to prove that Israel is an "Apartheid" state. And this time, write it in your own words, not the tired cliches of your communist masters.

      Fidel - 2012-05-21 21:09

      DBS/BDS, what's the difference. I'm perplexed as to why I need to provide YOU with evidence, yet you don't seem to apply your requirement to yourself. You have the temerity of an imbecile when all you can do is penned one or two sentences of insult. I'm fond of a good swear but even I can't think of an expletive strong enough to describe your gibbering.

  • David - 2012-05-21 18:31

    Zipho,do you really have any clue to the status of the Palestinian and Israeli conflict?Palestine and its radical Islamic govt had nothing to do with yor struggle so why are you denying freedom of speech to a diplomat/

      Jason - 2012-05-21 18:58

      Patrick, you are an absolute liar. I have been to Israel many times and they suffer no freedom of speech issues.

      Ronnie - 2012-05-21 19:07


      Tim - 2012-05-21 19:19

      If we did not have a \ radical\ liberation movement then we wquld still have been ruled by an illegitimate regime - not dissimilar to the Israeli regime. If someone invades your land and occupies your house are you a radical or terrorist when you do whatever it takes to eject the invaders??

      Jason - 2012-05-21 19:45

      Patrick - many many many israeli's are openly vocal about anti government sentiment. travelling to gaza and back does not make you an expert.

      Jason - 2012-05-21 19:47

      Tim - you are blind. wake up.

      Jason - 2012-05-21 20:07

      Patrick - Israelis are the most vocal critics of their government. they are FREE to say whatever they wish. i might also add that Palestinian israelis (yes there is such a thing) are also free to express their opinions.

      Jason - 2012-05-21 20:25

      Patrick - each side can claim exactly the same stances. when i was last in israel a guy walked onto a bus full with children and yes soldiers to and blew it to pieces.

      jaba.kov - 2012-05-22 08:24

      I have read many of Patrick’s comments over time. He claims to have been to Israel – however, by the way he describes Israel would be all the proof to know that Patrick is in fact lying. As anyone who has ever been to Israel would see that freedom of speech is everyone’s right. There is more freedom to protest in Israel than in South Africa ie. when the DA march was violently stopped in Jozi last week.

      Larry - 2012-05-22 09:25

      Patrick's whole existence on these threads are a lie. I outed him months ago. He claims to be a liberal white man, who went to the army in the 1980's, and has businesses in Israel, Indonesia and other countries. His pathos and lies is so transparent, the main one being that he thinks he can pull it off. He cannot see his own 'tell's' for the BS he espouses. For example, further down this thread he states: "Mugabe is a true African hero." This is the talk of a ANC Youth League delinquent. Such words have never come out of the mouth of a South African white person. He is a pathalogical liar and of low self esteem for pretending to be what he is not.

      Larry - 2012-05-22 18:29

      You are such a funny pikinin, Lesego. More than 50% of Zimbabweans voted against Mugabe, since 2000, and yet he is still in power. There is half of the tyrants own countrymen refuting your BS. You are a bloody liar and a shill. Do you know what is a 'shill'. Go look it up. Fool.

      Larry - 2012-05-22 20:22

      Liar, liar, pants on fire.

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-05-21 18:39

    long live Israel. Long live.

      James - 2012-05-21 19:12

      Stewart check Real Zionist News and be wise. Also Rabbi Elitzur in The Kings Torah wrote; Thou shall not kill should only apply to a Jew killing a Jew. Children of Isr enemies should be Killed. Non Jews are unsympathetic and should be killed. This Guy receives $250,000 pa from Isr Govt.

  • velvybokov - 2012-05-21 18:54

    It would seem that the diversity of education and the motto of unity and diversity is not a value that this university values. Oh well.... I feel sorry for those who are uneducated. But I don't feel sorry for those who choose not to be educated. Choosing to remain uneducated is simply stupid.

      Ronnie - 2012-05-21 19:08


      Fidel - 2012-05-21 20:13

      Spoken like a real apartheid apologist! Education is not going to stop just because a deputy ambassador of Israel have been banished to his military outpost. The world existed before Israel and it will continue to exist with or without the Israeli participation, both on intl and cultural forums.

      Jason - 2012-05-21 20:26

      Fidel the blind commenting on world affairs. dumbo you wouldnt be using half the technology you find comfortable today if it weren't for the israelis or your hated jews.

      Fidel - 2012-05-21 20:37

      And Israelis invented walking upright as well.....It's quite amusing that in the absence of coherent argument you are forced to rely on insults to cover that up.

      Jason - 2012-05-21 20:45

      At what point did I insult you? maybe if you read a bit of history as you claim you would realize how much has actually been invented. and as a matter of fact i invented walking upright so stick it.

      jaba.kov - 2012-05-22 08:27

      Fidel what’s next? You going to call Madiba an apartheid apologist?

  • Tim - 2012-05-21 18:57

    Would those objecting to this invitation have also objected to a withdrawal of an invitation to Mugabe? l

      Ronnie - 2012-05-21 19:10

      Never ever not by our Government, Universities such as UCT KZN Stellenbosch

      Larry - 2012-05-21 22:13

      Ja right, and you are a white person. LOL

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-21 23:00

      To Patrick, the mad dictator Moamar Gaddafi and the violent autocrat Robert Mugabe ate true African heroes. :)

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-22 21:18

      It's a ridiculous thought only valid to you and those who value violent dictatorships over human rights and freedoms.

  • Charles-Bronson - 2012-05-21 18:58

    The real God of Israel will show the moron goverment and the anCancer they are not gods!!

  • Gilad - 2012-05-21 19:03

    Muhamed Desai and his cronies support terrorism, and SA is buying 1/4 of its oil from Iran. Our foreign ministry has long been run by Muslims as well. Why?

      Fidel - 2012-05-21 19:25

      The ANC, unlike you, doesn't view its leadership in terms of race. You really have no idea on the history of the ANC regarding tribal and race relations within the organisation.

      Jason - 2012-05-21 19:49

      Yeah fidel - when they were terrorists they were supported by real terrorists and china. what is the deep mystery you are referring. our government supported every known terrorist organisation known to man.

      Fidel - 2012-05-21 20:05

      And both you and Israel supported the subjugation of Africans and apartheid. You are in form indeed! I've studied history and know who the real oppressors and terrorists have always been.

      Jason - 2012-05-21 20:10

      Yeah - what history book was that - mein kampf? ppl read books and take what they wish, very few look at things with an open mind. you are flawed by your religious outlook. it was always going to read one way for you.

      Fidel - 2012-05-21 20:29

      Assume what you like about my character, but let's try sticking to the issues. If you disagree, then say so, no need to make any assumptions about my non-existant religious non-beliefs.

      Jason - 2012-05-21 20:40

      Yeah Fidel - Like i needed to guess your religious persuasion.

  • Wally - 2012-05-21 19:24

    This is just what we have come to expect. Oh, and plz, the little shouts of "away with Israel" just don't cut it. Wishful thinking by Muslim leaders and their followers. And the African states are buying into this absolute lunacy. Probably because the moral values among Muslims are screaming in their absence. All of these are meant to happen. Plz show me where the country of Palestine is? Show me where ever such a country existed? Why does our govt choose to align itself with countries that have proven records of non-existing human rights; where they interfere in other countries' affairs by force; where dictatorships are at the order of the day...yet, in SA it is preached to have respect for human rights; not to be told by others what we should do; refuse to take advice from true democratic states. My goodness, how can we have such blatant double standards without being ashamed of ourselves? Plz take note, that the land of Israel is God-given - believe it or not. It will never be wiped off this earth. You may choose to oppose Israel and its ppl; you may choose to hate them; you may choose to endorse attacks against them: just remember, you will come up against the One and Only Almighty God; you will answer to Him; believe it or not. your choice.

      Jason - 2012-05-21 19:49

      With you wally.

      Fidel - 2012-05-21 20:19

      Myths may only serve mystries!

      Comrademayete - 2012-05-23 08:49

      @ Wally.."Following the adoption of a resolution by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 29 November 1947 recommending the adoption and implementation of the United Nations plan to partition Palestine, on 14 May 1948 David Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization and president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel, a state independent from the British Mandate for Palestine. Neighboring Arab states invaded the next day in support of the Palestinian Arabs. Israel has since fought several wars with neighboring Arab states, in the course of which it has occupied the West Bank, Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. Portions of these territories, including east Jerusalem, have been annexed by Israel, but the border with the neighboring West Bank has not yet been permanently defined. Israel has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, but efforts to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict have so far not resulted in peace."

  • alexandra.nett - 2012-05-21 19:32

    OMW....The university is spineless.....quite befitting to this banana republic! Would have been a waste of time anyway.....they would not have understood a word.....tantamount to throwing pearls before swine.....rather give them a drumstick and a demonstration!

  • grove.smith.90 - 2012-05-21 19:42


  • Hilda - 2012-05-21 20:23

    Freedom of speech and all that.... As long as it suits the ANC

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-05-21 20:27

    Let's show these students how doublespeak is supposed to work in practice.

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