This is just how simple it is. Black Coffee the South African DJ, and anyone else has the choice to perform just about wherever they want to. In Israel, or in Zimbabwe or in Poland. He gets to make that choice.
Over recent days there has been a public outcry over his performance at The Rocks Garden in Tel Aviv on March 31.
There is to date no policy decision about performing in Israel, and until there is, I can’t imagine how anyone considers it their right to tell him where to perform.
Until we are otherwise informed, the BDS movement does not run South Africa, despite its behaviour to the contrary.
South Africans have long been told, over and over and over and over that Israel is an apartheid state. If that is the case, then it would follow that what worked in South Africa would work in Israel.
Only there are a few facts that work contrary to this notion:
- Both Israel and the Palestinians were given the opportunity to have a State in 1948. Israel accepted, and the Palestinians did not.
- In 1948 local Arabs were told to leave their homes by the neighbouring Arab states and that they would return when Israel was defeated. It never was.
- Time and time again, the Arab nations declared war and attacked the Israeli state when it was a lot weaker and more vulnerable than it is today.
- Between 1948 when Israel did not occupy the West Bank and East Jerusalem, there was no peace. Israel was attacked repeatedly.
- Incidentally, the West Bank and East Jerusalem was conquered from the Jordanians and not the Palestinians. If there was such a need for a Palestinian state, then why was pressure never applied to Jordan to give it the territories for such a state. There were 20 years in which to do so.
- Arab citizens in Israel enjoy full rights. They are citizens of the country. They vote, have their own political parties, go to the same universities, are doctors, lawyers, judges, beauty queens and TV hosts. To suggest otherwise is plain and simply untrue.
- The so-called "occupied territories" is where much of the difficulties arise. There is little doubt that a solution needs to be found, but when one side (Abbas) is not willing to sit at the peace table and will not recognise Israel’s right to exist, then the responsibility must be shared.
Gaza is another matter altogether. It is not a prison of Israel’s doing, but one created by Hamas. Gaza borders both Israel and Egypt but since Hamas took over the rule of Gaza, borders between both were shut.
Precious millions of euros and dollars meant for the education and upliftment of the people of Gaza have been used for the good only of terror and to enrich the Hamas government. Women and children are used as human shields and gay people are persecuted as a matter of routine. There is no freedom of expression or religion.
The Palestinian Authority has not allowed elections in years and continue to enflame terror. To this day, terrorists who kill Israeli citizens are awarded a very generous stipend for life for their efforts, and if they are killed, then their families receive the funds. If this doesn’t encourage terror amongst a poor people, then I am not sure what does.
It goes without saying that just as Black Coffee has the right to perform where he chooses to, so people have the right to voice their concern over where he does. That said, the Pavlovian response of South Africans to his actions is not only sad, but also problematic.
South Africans need to understand the nuances of this conflict before defaming an artist who, by his account, just wants to feed his family.
- Feldman is the author of Carry on Baggage and Tightrope and the afternoon drive show presenter on Chai FM.
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