Claims by Zionist organisation, Likud-SA, to have influenced the outcome of the disciplinary hearings of the Wits 11 have been rubbished by vice-chancellor Prof Adam Habib.
In an article published in the Cape Jewish Chronicle, David Abel was quoted as saying that the South African Zionist movement had “strongly influenced the suspension of the Wits 11 students involved in the disruption of the Yossi Reshef concert.”
In response, Habib called the claims by Abel “nonsense.”
Habib maintains that “Wits has too many diverse voices to be influenced by a single stakeholder. I cannot account for what other organisations claim. The delusions of others must be their responsibility, not ours,” he said.
Abel, national vice-chairman of Likud SA, is quoted as saying that against “the background of rising anti-Semitism worldwide and Israel being threatened by a potential nuclear Iran,” South African Zionism is claiming a number of victories “by inflicting damaging blows against the enemies of Israel.”
One of those victories, claims Abel, was influencing the disciplinary hearings of the Wits 11 which resulted in 80 hours of community service for 10 of the students and 130 for Tokelo Nhlapo.
Members of the Wits SRC, Muslim Students Association, Wits Palestinian Solidarity and the Progressive Youth Alliance stormed the stage of the concert during a closed event on March 12 and chanted their support for Palestine.
Abel referred to pro-Zionist forces, including Jewish and Christian Zionist individuals and organisations, opposition parties, the South African Jewish press, students, sponsors and donors as having had an impact on the university’s decision.“Maybe not all of them were involved in the incident but they were at the same university,” Abel told Wits Vuvuzela. “They were also involved in the Yossi Reshef incident.”
He called it (the guilty verdict) a “wise decision” and added, “I have confidence that the university went through all the correct procedures. I’m quite happy about that.”
When asked about the students’ refusal to complete their community service hours (with the exception of one), he said, “[Their defiance] is strange to me. The university has certain rules, in my day one would never defy authority. It’s a defiance I don’t understand.”
- Wits Vuvuzela, Israel vs SRC, May 2013
- Wits Vuvuzela, Wits 11 cry foul play at hearing, July 2013
- Wits Vuvuzela, Wits 11 complain VC is “player and referee”, July 2013
- Wits Vuvuzela, Community service for Wits 11, January 17, 2014
- Wits Vuvuzela, Wits 11 defy “bogus” punishment, February 7, 2014
- Wits Vuvuzela, Wits 11 refuses to carry out community service, May 2, 2014
- Wits Vuvuzela, Cracks in Wits 11 unity, May 11, 2014