By Rolene Marks
CAPE TOWN, South Africa — The University of Cape Town recently hosted an event that facilitated engagement between students and Hezbollah spokesperson Ibrahim al-Mousawi.
Billed as a “year-end event and evening of resistance”, the talk was hosted by the UCT Palestinian Solidarity Forum (UCT PSF), and al-Mousawi addressed students via Zoom.
Promoting the September 15 event, organizers said, “A video message will be recorded by the participants that will be sent directly to the Palestinian resistance Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad! Come out and show South Africa’s support for the mujahedeen in Palestine!” They also advertised the event as “an exclusive message by the Lebanese Islamic resistance to UCT students.”
The event was the third allowed by UCT this year allowing speakers from internationally recognized terror organizations the opportunity to address students.
During the so-called Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) in March, members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (both internationally recognized terrorist organizations) addressed UCT students via a video call from Iran. In May, antisemite and extremist Imam Mohammed al-Assi addressed students at the invitation of the UCT PSF. Flags in support of terror organizations were waved by students.
The South African Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS), the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) and the Cape South African Jewish Board of Deputies (Cape SAJBD) have all raised concerns with the university regarding the Sept. 15 event.
“UCT has yet again provided a platform for terrorists to promulgate anti-Israel hate and propaganda to students on campus. The weakness of UCT’s leadership, which refuses to prevent and condemn the ongoing and flagrant abuse of the campus by hate-traffickers, is deplorable, and must be condemned in the strongest terms. UCT must be held accountable for allowing extremism to spread on campus on more than one occasion this year alone,” said SAZF chairman Rowan Polovin in a statement.
“UCT reiterates that student societies organize their events autonomously. Should any member of the UCT community have any issue about any event held on campus, they are urged to lodge a formal complaint through the relevant internal structures,” said UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola while responding to inquiries from the South African Jewish Report newspaper.
However, when SAUJS, SAZF and author Cape SAJBD raised concerns with the university following the incident in May in which al-Assi addressed students, Moholola stated that events hosted by student organizations were not institutional events. He said UCT management was not involved in inviting the speakers, “nor does management necessarily align with any views held or expressed by any invited speaker.”
SAUJS has also expressed its concern to the university regarding the safety of Jewish students on campus.
South Africa does not recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate
Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager