When freedom of expression runs contrary to "core values"

2014-08-10 17:23

Explanatory memo

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Dialogue ,even between bitterest enemies, is vituous.We started this in Dakar, Senegal and it culminated in the TRC which ushered in an imperfect but promising start as we find our way across the bridge of many sighs with the minimum loss of lives.

So I believe we should give Joshua Broomberg support to give dialogue a chance. He says " We took a stand for the thousands and for those without a voice,but we do not condone violence."

Yes, Joshua, "We have to talk to the other side" and yours is a courageous step which must not falter.

The Issue:

Should we condone and support Joshua Broomberg? I believe we must.

King David Victory Park’s Deputy (KDVP) Head-Boy Joshua Broomberg is a very courageous young man whom we and the media should be feting for having the courage, as a young conscientious Jewish South African, to express his feelings against the action of Israel against Palestinians in Gaza.

I don't know who Joshua is. I didn't know whether this was a hoax or a genuine or real issue,until I read the full story in the Mercury (11.8.2014) but what appeals to me is the constitutional protection that every person enjoys especially vis-a-vis freedom of expression.

I was alerted , on line, to his plight through a counter petition being launched to save the honour and integrity of Joshua who is being threatened through a petition that was submitted by a "concerned Zionist" insisting that Joshua be removed as Deputy Head Boy and all his honours be revoked!

For his sins Joshua was seen on a public forum, namely Facebook, draped in a Palestinian scarf (“Keffiyeh”) as well as a Palestinian Flag in the form of a badge, with the caption being “Team South Africa wearing Palestinian badges and Keffiyehs to show opposition to the human rights violations carried out against the people of Palestine".

Joshua currently holds the portfolio of Deputy-Head Boy at KDVP.

The petitioner wants Joshua removed allegedly because he dared violate the core Jewish values of KDVP and all the traditions that accompany it and to support the school in all its "Zionistic and Judaic activities such as school prayers and Chagim."

What are these "core values" I am sure will surface through the medium of this blog as readers respond. Honestly, I'd like to know.

One thing , I can vouchsafe is that the Constitution represents the supreme law of the land and any law or conduct contrary to it is unconstitutional and in breach of the foundational principles underwriting our Constitution.

In summary, he is alleged to have breached certain obligations of a contract that, I submit could be challenged as being in breach of the very core values of our Constitution. If that is so, then as our courts intervened in cases where racist clauses in wills were expunged, then arguably so will any clause that runs contrary to the values, the ethos and the spirit of our constitution.

That unnamed petitioner alleges that Joshua's conduct I "brings the school into disrepute" by any such actions or omissions. Pray tell us in what way and lets engage instead of resorting to sterile snide remarks or comments whichI know will follow in a torrential downpour.

Have we become so immune that when our own kind stand up and take a position at odds with our position, that we see to excommunicate him as had happened to former judge Richard Goldstone who was forced to retract his support against Israeli conduct during Operation Cast Lead in a report that alleged crimes against humanity and in breach of the Geneva Conventions to cite a few?

Our collective silence damns us.

Hence my response.

Wow! Such courage and daring that Joshua has exemplified is hope for the future of our country.

By our silence we too become complicit in the very evil we seek to eradicate.

I hope that the media, and everyone who is reading this, doesn't abandon the story and the plight of a courageous young man who publicly has shown extraordinary leadership and principle that is rare in a rutted society which treats as hostile any criticism from its own membership.

Saber Ahmed Jazbhay

Follow me @jazlaw24

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