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« Irwin Cotler Public Address on Genocide Convention | Main | Carte Blanche: El-Al a Front for Spooks »

August 30, 2009



Nongxwa writes: "There can be no justification for what I see as atrocities committed against civilians. My late mother taught me that, as an adult, we should treat every child as our own. The traumatic experience of the children of Gaza haunts me. "
But he condones by ommission the killing of Israeli children.

Are Israeli children not children?


To be honest, the letter was fine other than his personal reflections which really shouldn't have been in the letter in the first place.
The letter was written in his capacity as vice chancellor, and he should have kept the reply to that capacity.

I think that an investigation is in order. If I was barred from campus and I felt discriminated against, then I would also expect an investigation. However the investigation needs to be fairly executed and the results should reflect the facts of what really happened (which I hope will be the case) and not pander to a specific political leaning. I also hope that there is an investigation into the not-so-peaceful protesters that were not allowed into Wits, those who were screaming and Limmud participants that they were Nazis and child-killers.
The investigation should also check ICAM (the Wits entry control system) records for who was allowed onto campus that day - they will find many black and Muslim students allowed onto campus and were not harassed by so-called "private security". They can also check those that were denied - mainly, I suspect, PSC members who are on the Wits Main Campus but not the med school and thus are not allowed onto med school campus in any case.

Personally, I hope that external events get banned from Wits.
I am actually tired of the protests that occur each time that the community hosts an event on campus - it's a security risk to the attendees that is very easily mitigated by hosting the event in a private venue.


Points taken, though I can't separate the letter from the personal views expressed therein. There was no reason for him to air those views in communication of this sort.

I think it has been followed up with a letter from certain concerned staff also saying that anyone who justifies Gaza should not be welcome at Wits. Don't know enough to do a main entry on this.

Joe, are you sure that a normal Wits student card is not allowed entry to the Med School.


hmm 20 years ago or so, when I was a student (where the heck has the time gone geeez) a normal Wits student card would get you into the Med School campus. Of course twenty years ago you didn't need a student card to get onto either Wits East or West Campus, anybody could just walk onto campus. You just needed a student card to gain entry into the libraries if I remember right. Things change (especially in Joeys), and Wits of course is no exception. I'm sure so many other things have changed at Wits too.


Steve, I'm not absolutely sure.
Stories I heard from the gates was that the only people denied access were those who didn't have student cards, were not attending Limmud or whose student cards got the red 'access denied' light at the turnstile. Although that light also activates when one tries to swipe for a multiple entry (i.e. one letting others in with a single card).


Limmud's security certainly do have a right to 'vet' people who threaten to disrupt proceedings but next year it should probabely take place at an ideologically neutral function like one of the many convention centers, given the very stron pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel and Marxist bias that dominates Wits to the core.

The pil

Student cards do allow entry into Med school

The Blacklisted Dictator


Geoff Budlender was a member of The SAHRD. Is he impartial?

Israeli visit 'depressing and inspiring'
SA Jewish Report, by Moira Schneider, 7/17/2008

GEOFF BUDLENDER found his visit to Israel as part of a group of 23 South African human rights activists, both “depressing and quite inspiring”. A former president of Nusas and anti-apartheid activist since his student days at the University of Cape Town, he now chairs the UCT Council.

He told Jewish Report that the visit was depressing “because of the circumstances in the occupied territories, where life seems very hard, very divided and very undermining of any attempt to build consensus.

“On the other hand, we were with wonderful young Israeli and Palestinian activists who are working for peace - it was really very inspiring and very moving to see what they are doing.”

Budlender, a practising advocate who has served as an acting judge of the High Court, noted that the group only saw “one piece” of the situation, saying that its attention was more focused on conditions in the occupied territories. “We got a good picture of what was happening there, but we didn’t try to see Israel itself, neither did we really go there to suggest solutions for the problems that they have.”

The five-day trip has brought him no closer to having a view on what the answers might be, but he feels that the “seemingly perpetual occupation and the seemingly ever-greater separation” do not bode well for a consensual solution. What also struck him forcibly was the “very deep impact” that the suicide bombings have had on the Israeli people. “Now standing back, one can see that they’ve not only caused terrible suffering, but were actually a terrible strategic mistake and miscalculation by those who were carrying them out and have also made any solution much more difficult. Everybody still clearly has them in their minds and understandably so.”

He agreed that the phenomenon has “coloured Israel’s response” in terms of the security measures it has adopted. Nor, he said, could one dispute the fact that the separation wall had been effective in putting an end to the suicide bombings. “One can understand that that is a high priority for Israel, but on the other hand, it seems to have other lasting consequences which just
make settlement difficult.”

Budlender said he had “certainly” gained a greater understanding of Israel’s predicament since going on the trip. “But I have to say that it seems to me that the response is in the wrong direction - and I’m not sufficiently wellinformed to say what ought to be done - but I do think that a response which is increasing separation and what seems to be an increasingly harsh occupation, are reducing the prospects of a settlement.”

He recalls feeling despair during a visit to Hebron when ultra-Orthodox settlers rounded on the group and its three Israeli peace activist tour guides, hurling abuse at them and “causing a helluva commotion”. When police arrived, they arrested the tour guides for disturbing the peace. “This was a very vivid illustration of what we had previously been told by some Palestinians we’d met in Hebron, who said the police were not a neutral force and would not take any action against the settlers.”

Budlender has agreed to work with some of the lawyers doing human rights and peace work in Israel, by helping to set up networks of lawyers in other parts of the world that can assist them in various ways


Nice spotting BD! He has just been nominated for the Con court as well.

The pil

BD. While you, may or may not, agree with his political views, from the above article he seems to be a very level headed guy. For example the fact that he recognises that it is suicide bombings that caused the seperation barrier to be built and not racism.

He also recognises that the situation is very complicated and not simple. This seems to be completely differnt to other participants on the tour- who came out with the conclusion that Israel is pure evil.

That brings another question, how was he virtually the only one able to recognise that it was not racism that caused Israel to react in such a way, but terrorism.


It,s always the same rhetoric comparing apartheid etc. to what,s happening in Gaza etc.One problem with this logic is what possible justification could there be for sending crude but lethal projectiles at civilian housing ,not military,in Southern Israel?.
The learned Professor will blame apartheid etc. for Hamas thugs terrorising innocent civilians ,so what,s new .


What was that Swedish newspaper thinking when it allowed a reporter to publish blood libel ,blatant lies and anti-semitic propaganda.Wasn,t anyone aware of the repercussions when the story broke or was there an ulterior motive involved?Freedom of speech sounds wonderful until people take offence like the Mohammed cartoons fiasco in Denmark not so long ago.So what was the ulterior motive?We wait to hear .


Suprisingly there have be no talks ,demonstrations etc. concerning the butcher of Sudan at Wits or am i missing something.If not then hypocrisy is the order of the day which is not that suprising really.

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