Wits student bodies reject member who performed Nazi salute

Picture credit: DARRYL HAMMOND
Picture credit: DARRYL HAMMOND

Student organisations at Wits University have condemned anti-Semitic sentiments displayed during Israeli Apartheid Week‚ including a student who performed a Nazi salute.

The student bodies said that during the week there had been a number of reports of students “expressing their sympathy for the killing of Jews‚ and even for the Holocaust”.

“Furthermore‚ a video of a Wits student imitating Hitler‚ performing a Nazi strong-arm salute and goose-step march‚ has been brought to our attention. This brazen anti-Semitism is an insult to the values we share and is entirely inconsistent with our opposition to fascism in all its forms‚” Wits Palestinian Solidarity Committee (PSC)‚ Amnesty International Wits and the Wits Muslim Students Association said in a statement.

 The student in the video has been identified as a member of the Muslim Students Association (MSA)‚ which has revoked his membership.

Disciplinary processes against the student are under way. The Wits PSC‚ Amnesty Wits and the Wits MSA are “collectively evaluating the possibility of opening a case against the student at the Human Rights Commission”.

Wits PSC said it was investigating other cases of anti-Semitism and promised action against those found guilty.

“We also reiterate that this anti-Semitism is not representative of the objectives of Israeli Apartheid Week‚ or the Boycott‚ Divestments and Sanctions movement. There is nothing intrinsically anti-Semitic in criticising Zionist ideology‚ or in evaluating the evidence and concluding that Israel enforces an Apartheid system upon the Palestinians. Nor is it anti-Semitic to advocate for Boycotts‚ Divestments and Sanctions against Israel to end this institutionalised racism.

“We strongly believe that slandering IAW and BDS as anti-Semitic cheapens the charge of anti-Semitism‚ and impedes the interrogation and opposition to genuine anti-Semitic sentiment and actions.

“As organisations committed to combating racial injustice‚ we acknowledge that anti-Semitism‚ throughout history‚ has indeed been a form of racism – and hence it is incumbent upon us to expose and oppose it. It is this same refusal to tolerate racism which underpins our stance on the Palestine-Israel issue and our programme for IAW.”

Israeli Apartheid Week is an international campaign that aims to draw attention to the Palestinian cause and mobilise support for the Boycott‚ Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement‚ which opposes trade with Israel.

 

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