A prayer meeting in support of Israel in Cape Town, South Africa, was canceled on Sunday after pro-Palestinian demonstrators attacked and threatened pro-Israel demonstrators with guns and knives, according to southern media -Africans.
The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) branch in South Africa helped organize the prayer rally, saying about 3,000 Christians and some Jews were expected before police ordered them to cancel the meeting. The ICEJ said Mandla Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela, was one of the main instigators of Sunday’s violence.
Reports from event attendees indicate that a Messianic Jew suffered a broken finger when anti-Israel protesters tried to tear down his flag, and another anti-Israel protester carrying a gun threatened to shoot another participant. Another man was also slightly injured by someone carrying a knife, according to the attendee.
According to the Ground Up news agency, pro-Palestinian demonstrators showed up on the Sea Point promenade before the official start of the pro-Israel demonstration and began confronting police on site. Buses expected to bring more pro-Israel protesters to the site were turned away as police used stun grenades and water cannons to disperse the violence.
Violence escalated when a pro-Palestinian protester attempted to steal an Israeli flag from a pro-Israeli protester. A photo from the scene showed pro-Palestinian protesters surrounding and harassing a pro-Israel protester in a wheelchair, according to the report. The two parties would also have questioned each other.
According to the South African Friends of Israel, some pro-Palestinian protesters were also seen waving ISIS flags.
ICEJ: They were looking for who was Jewish
“It was very shocking to see the level of threats and violence today,” said Vivienne Myburgh, ICEJ-South Africa country director. “They were looking for who was Jewish. It is rare to see this kind of hatred and threats here, but they are reinforced by the ANC government’s position. The local Jewish community is very shaken. »
Abeedah Adams, a member of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC), told Ground Up that Sunday’s protest was not organized by her organization, saying: “It was more spontaneous: people responding to posters and the media on the pro-Israel protest “I think there is a very strong feeling that we cannot allow this kind of Zionism. It is not welcome in Cape Town.”
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies condemned the violence on Sunday, posting on Facebook “In a constitutional democracy, people have the right to protest. Depriving Christian Zionists of the right to protest at Sea Point today does not make Hamas supporters are militants, but in fact criminals and thugs.”
Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis condemned the violence on Sunday, saying that although until Sunday anti- and pro-Israel protests had remained peaceful, violent disruptions targeted the planned peaceful prayer rally in support of Israel.
“This violence deserves the condemnation of all Capetonians who value freedom of expression in our open democracy,” Hill-Lewis wrote. “Any person or group, of any creed and conviction, has the right to peacefully protest in South Africa. This right is protected by the Constitution, and for good reason, because in South Africa’s past, some protests have been banned or violently repressed, and opinions were censored.”
The mayor also condemned any hate speech made during the protests, noting that he had received a video showing a representative of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) calling young Jewish children in Cape Town “murderers”.
At a pro-Palestinian demonstration on Saturday, the PAC representative said: “We know where the murderers come from, they come from Herzliya (a local Jewish school), here in Cape Town. »
“Such hateful comments should be equally condemned by all. Radical elements do not speak for Capetonians, and do not even speak for the protesters they claim to represent,” Hill-Lewis wrote.
According to the mayor, South African police seized two firearms and arrested seven people during the clashes.