Shashi Naidoo has promised to go back to Isreal and Palestine – once her 10-year ban is over
Model and television personality Shashi Naidoo has been banned from travelling to Israel or Palestine for the next decade — but has vowed to go back when it lapses.
“I hope by then there will be no military occupation of Palestine... Hopefully‚ before this ban expires‚ there will be an end to the Israeli military occupation and I will be invited by Palestine‚” Naidoo said at a press conference on Thursday evening at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
“I think this is going to have huge travel implications for me‚ but good thing I got my travelling in early. I’m okay with it.”
Naidoo departed from South Africa on Monday and flew to Jordan via Dubai.
On Tuesday‚ she visited charities and refugee camps in Jordan before she tried on Wednesday to cross into the West Bank at the Allenby Bridge. However‚ she was ultimately denied entry.
“Initially‚ it was a bit like mental warfare‚ because in the beginning I was actually offered a Fanta and I thought‚ ‘Okay‚ this is not so bad’. Then we sat down and as the interrogation went on they obviously knew who I was‚ and what was happening‚ but it got more and more intense.
“After about two hours of interrogation‚ by the end of it‚ I was in tears‚” Naidoo said. “Me being denied access clearly is to me a strong indication that there is no room for discussion here.”
Naidoo said the interrogators accused her of being en route to a BDS (Boycott‚ Divestment‚ Sanctions) conference.
“I said I was here with South African Council of Churches (SACC). All I want to do is see the sights‚ see the land‚ see some of the holy sites. I want to get a better understanding of what is happening there and just educate myself.”
Naidoo returned to South Africa on Thursday from Jordan via Dubai.
The Israeli Embassy in South Africa told TshisaLIVE the state had the right to deny entry to “those seeking to harm the country” and slammed BDS.
“The embassy of Israel can confirm that Shashi Naidoo was denied entry into Israel on the July 25 2018. Israel has passed a law that‚ like any rational sovereign state‚ it denies entry to those seeking to harm the country.”
The Israeli Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan on Tuesday apologised for rejecting Naidoo entry.
Gilad tweeted that the state had to prevent Shashi’s entry under its anti-BDS laws.
“You’re welcome to visit Israel‚ but not under threats and pressure from hate-filled BDS groups‚ on a trip organized by BDS groups‚ in order to ‘re-educate’ yourself.”
It's sad that in #SouthAfrica today, those who express support for Israel in its fight against #Hamas terror become the victims of threats & pressure from hate-filled #BDS orgs.— גלעד ארדן (@giladerdan1) July 25, 2018
When you come, you'll find that your posts were true & accurate 2/2@SHASHINAIDOO#FreeGazaFromHamas
Naidoo said she paid for own trip to travel with SACC and was not “bullied” by BDS.
South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) chairperson Shaun Zagnoev said in a statement on Thursday that South Africans from all races‚ religions and beliefs travel to Israel annually.
He said Naidoo “unfortunately” chose to travel via the BDS organisation‚ which he accused of initiating campaigns that led to “blatant anti-Semitic incidents”.
“The BDS is based on the premise that Israel should be boycotted until it ceases to exist as a Jewish state‚” Zagnoev said. “This BDS campaign of hate has led to many countries around the world‚ including Israel‚ Germany‚ Canada‚ France and the United States actively legislating against BDS activity‚ effectively recognising and rejecting the inherent racism and anti-Semitism of this organisation.”
He added that he hoped Naidoo will “renounce” BDS and return to Israel and Palestine through the “proper channels”.
The whole saga started more than a month ago after Naidoo sparked outrage by referring to Gaza as a “sh*thole” on her Instagram account.