Background checks are to be conducted on people who wish to attend the concert happening at Wits this Wednesday to ensure they are Jewish.
This is according to a set of recordings released by the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) which they say is proof of ethnic racism and profiling practiced by some of the organisers of the Daniel Zamir concert that will be held in the Wits Great Hall on August 28.
Witsie and BDS member Alex Morung Freeman allegedly first called to buy tickets for the event but was asked if he and the friends he would be bringing were Jewish. He then decided to call the organiser once again but this time to record the telephone call, according to BDS. In one of these voice recordings the “students” asked the “organisers” if they are making sure that “this is a Jewish only event.”
“Yes. It is.” said the “organiser”. This would be done by taking the identification (ID) number of anyone who wants to attend the event. One of the “organisers” said to a “student” who wished to buy a ticket that they needed full names and the ID number for security reason.
This is after the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) sent out an email saying that the concert is open to everyone. Wits vice chancellor Adam Habib said the concert was organised as a way to make up for the concert that was “disrupted” in March and for which 11 Witsies were charged.
Buying out tickets
In another recording a “student” asks the “organiser” about the tickets for the events being sold out. The “organiser” then tells the student that the tickets have not actually been sold out. “What happened is that we have bought out the tickets. The Beyachad has bought all the tickets, it’s not sold out at all,” said the organiser.
According to the recording the Beyachad bought the tickets so they could control who came to the events by doing background checks. BDS claim that the background checks would be conducted by the Jewish Community Security Organisation (CSO) which is led by “a former general of Israeli forces”. The validity of the recordings has not yet been verified and the organisers of the concert have not responded to the claims made by BDS.
In response to questions from Wits Vuvuzela, Habib said the University did not support ethnic concerts of any sort, “Jewish or other wise”. He said the allegations could not be true. He added that the tickets were sold by an independent ticketing organisation and he had no idea what regulations were imposed by that organisation. “What organisations do in relation to their own members I have no control over,” said Habib.[pullquote align=”right”]Habib said he would not give into the demands and the concert would go on as planned[/pullquote]
Eitan Egdes from SAJBD said they had no comment to make regarding the allegations and also confirmed that the concert will go ahead as planned.
Freeman, a member of the Wits University Palestine Solidarity Committee said his organisation, together with BDS South Africa and Wits university staff and students call upon Habib and university management to cancel the concert. They also want the University management to distance itsself from and “not partner with either the SAJBD, the South African Zionist federation or the CSO.
In reponse Habib said he would not give into the demands and the concert would go on as planned. Freeman called upon “peace-loving” members of the public to join them in a protest outside the event on Wits University on the day of the concert.
National Education Health and Allied Workers Union, international relations secretary Lucian Segami said he called on all South Africans to denounce an event that insulted their constitution by profiling concert candidates: “We condemn Wits management for choosing this garbage event.”
This is the clip released by BDS:
- Wits Vuvuzela. Israel apartheid concert round two. August 23, 2013.
- Wits Vuvuzela. The charges against the eleven will not be dropped. May 17, 2013.
- Wits Vuvuzela. SRC members face charges. April 19, 2013.
- Wits Vuvuzela. SRC responsible for Israeli pianist “disruption”. April 12, 2013.