CAPE TOWN, Jan 14 — Pro-Israel South Africans have expressed their outraged over a tour organised by the pro-Palestinian group Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) which will include infamous female airplane hijacker Leila Khaled.
Khaled, who is a member of the politburo of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), made history by becoming the first woman to hijack an aircraft in 1969.
She will be visiting South Africa on Feb 6-14 on a tour of Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.
In its pre-publicity campaign, BDS depicts Khaled holding an AK-47 and presents her hijacking of a US airliner from Rome to Athens and an attempted hijacking of an Israeli airliner as something to be admired.
The South Africa Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) said its is “appalled” that any organisation intends bringing a known perpetrator of these acts to South Africa.
“By depicting Leila Khaled as a heroic figure whom South Africans should look up to and identify with, BDS is sending out the worst possible message at a time when South Africa needs to stand with the global community in confronting the scourge of terrorism,” the SAJBD said in a statement.
It noted that BDS had conclusively demonstrated yet again that it had no interest in promoting peace, dialogue, reconciliation or understanding.
However, BDS President Muhammed Desai insisted the group is not promoting violence.