Is This The Reason BDS South Africa Became What It Wished For Israel (Non-Existent)?

Back in May 2020, I broke the story about the demise of BDS South Africa. The former organization had split into two rival factions: the BDS Movement-approved South African BDS Coalition, and the renegade, Muhammed Desai-led, Africa for Palestine. At the time I speculated about the reason for the split:

So why did this split occur? I am assuming it arose out of the Muhammed Desai sexual assault allegations, in which much pressure was put on the BDS Movement to have him step down. Desai probably refused, and was angry they did not stand behind him, leading to an acrimonious split into these two opposing movements.

This might still be true, but Africa for Palestine are now claiming the BDS Movement demanded they disinvite “freedom fighter” (aka terrorist) Leila Khaled from touring South Africa, and they rejected these demands:

If this is to be believed – and let’s face it, anything they claim needs to be treated with suspicion – the question for me is was it part of a BDS movement attempt to dissociated themselves more from terrorism (even though anyone paying attention knows members and even at least one cofounder do actually support it)? Or are they involved in a feud with Leila Khaled, who has somewhat criticized the BDS movement as not being effective enough?

“BDS, of course, on the international level it is very effective. But it doesn’t liberate, it doesn’t liberate land. If there’s BDS all over the world, and the people are not resisting, there will be no change. BDS helps us to continue the struggle and to isolate Israel, and then the balance of forces changes here. It’s very important for us in the international level to have more people having campaigns, because it means the narration of our story is now on that level, people will ask ‘why are they going for the BDS?’ Now, there’s an experience, and it’s not something theoretical we are speaking about – the BDS during the apartheid era in South Africa, it helped the people who were holding arms. But if they were not holding arms it may have affected them politically, but it would not have liberated, not on the ground.”

Also, did Desai try to #metoo Khaled when she toured South Africa?


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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