Christian Pro-Israel Rally in Cape Town Disrupted by Violent Counter-Protest
By: David Parsons, ICEJ Vice President & Senior Spokesman
The ICEJ-South Africa branch helped organize a pro-Israel rally at Sea Point park in Cape Town on Sunday afternoon, and were expecting about 3,000 Christians to attend, along with some Jewish community members, in order to stand with Israel and pray for the release of the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. But police called off the event due to the violent threats of an unapproved counter-protest by hundreds of pro-Palestinian supporters.
According to ICEJ-South Africa national director Vivienne Myburgh, the pro-Palestinian crowd had held their own large protest in the city center on Saturday, and called on their supporters to come and disturb the Christian prayer rally for Israel the next afternoon. Video footage of the ensuing rampage showed the mob turning over the stage, and aggressively attacking several people before setting upon the police as they tried to arrest unruly demonstrators. Police eventually dispersed the mob by firing water cannons as well as using stun guns against the pro-Palestinian demonstrators.
“It was very shocking to see the level of threats and violence today,” said Myburgh. “We could not hold our event and had to send our buses from various churches back home. They accosted some of our people, including an elderly Jewish man whose finger was broken when they grabbed his flag as they were approaching the event. A number of guns and knives were taken off the protestors and even more worrying was that they started asking who was Jewish.”
She added that a person was lightly injured in the arm with a knife. Someone in a wheelchair was accosted and their prayer shawl forcibly grabbed away and gleefully burnt. Another participant was threatened with being shot by an Imam who had a gun on him.
“Cape Town crossed a line,” Myburgh explained. “We always knew there were Islamic militants around but never experienced real violence or antisemitic attacks. It is rare to see that sort of hatred and threats here. But the war in Gaza has triggered unbridled hatred, and they also are emboldened by the position of the ANC government in favor of Hamas. The local Jewish community is very rattled.”
Apparently, one of the main inciters of the violent counter-protest was Mandla Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela, who converted to Islam and has become a leading anti-Israel activist in South Africa.
Despite the violent response, the ICEJ-SA and other pro-Israel Christian partners are going ahead with a planned pro-Israel prayer rally in Pretoria next Sunday.
The ICEJ’s global network of national branches and activists in some 170 countries are standing up as never before to defend Israel and combat the wave of antisemitic and even jihadist incitement now sweeping the globe.
Over recent weeks, ICEJ leaders and members have organized and joined numerous rallies around the world, including pro-Israel rallies in Berlin and Stuttgart in Germany, London, Liverpool and Manchester in the UK, Copenhagen in Denmark, and Paris in France. Our Christian followers have rallied for Israel in Albania, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Fiji, Finland, Georgia, Honduras, India, Italy, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, the Philippines, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, the United States, and so many more countries.
You can show solidarity with Israel by organizing or joining rallies for Israel in your hometowns and capitals. Also be sure to let your government leaders and media know of your stand with Israel. Learn more on how you can express your support for Israel at: http://icej.org/solidarity
The ICEJ is continuing to respond to the urgent needs of Israeli communities along the Gaza border and throughout the nation. Please join us in these worthy efforts by giving a generous donation to our Israel in Crisis fund.