Letter to Kelly-Jo Bluen of the South African Jews for Free Palestine

Letter to Kelly-Jo Bluen of the South African Jews for Free Palestine

OCT 31, 2023, 12:28 AM

Credit: Richard Shavei-Tzion

Hi Kelly-Jo,

I am writing as a Jew, born in Cape Town, now living in Jerusalem, following your interview of 18.10.23 on SABC TV.

To my mind, the name of your organization is a misnomer. You and your cohort may have been born Jewish but, with apologies to my Orthodox friends, people with the depth of your hatred of Jews have removed themselves from the Jewish collective. In your six minutes of eloquent rhetoric, you could not find a place in your heart to utter a single syllable of sympathy for the kidnapped, butchered, slaughtered, raped, burnt-alive people who you claim to call brethren.

The lady in the studio got it wrong, describing your group as “calling for a ceasefire to the Israel-Hamas conflict.” You are calling for much more. By describing Israel as a “settler colonization of Palestine since 1948,” and Zionism as a “fascist project,” you are calling for a Judenrein Middle East. Indeed you state, “The whole entity needs to be unsettled.” You call for the return of “all Palestinians,” but omit calling for the right of return of Jews to the many countries they were forcibly expelled from and you are utterly silent on the ancient and modern history of the people you purport to belong to.

You say that you “refuse to allow anti-Zionism and antisemitism to be conflated.” Yet you well know that your words incite antisemitism, witness the mobs of your associates around the world chanting “Gas the Jews,” “Hitler was right” etc. And what is your proposal for us fascist settlers would your demonic scheme of “from the river to the sea” be fulfilled? Do we stay to be hacked to death by your liberators or do we relocate to be pillaged, tortured, expelled and gassed once again?

The extent of your violent animosity to us Jews is evident in the pride and joy you display in having Leila Khaled as the guest of honor at your event. You bestow upon her the title, “revolutionary.” I however choose to call her for what she is- terrorist. You know that Leila Khaled was a member of the gang of murderers, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and was convicted for hijacking TWA Flight 840 from Rome to Tel Aviv and an attempted hijacking of Flight 219 from Amsterdam to NYC, including rolling a grenade into the passenger section of the plane. Your desire for Jewish annihilation is repeated in a call for an arms embargo against Israel, presumably so that in the next round, like so many times before in our history, the barbaric Gazan rampage, which goes unmentioned in your interview, can more effectively murder masses of Jews.

How selective is your sense of justice when you express horror at “the cutting off of water,” without expressing a smidgen of condemnation at the cutting off of baby’s heads?

You confidently say Israel is spreading fake news. Yet you yourself lie in echoing the blood libel of the bombing of the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital. (Hand on your heart, how many really were killed in that hospital parking lot by the Jihadi failed missile?) You suggest that Israel is strangulating humanitarian corridors when we both know that it is Hamas, at gunpoint, who are not allowing their own people to move to relative safety. “Using propaganda as a precept for genocide,” is exactly what you are doing.

The Encyclopedia Britannica defines genocide as “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a group of people because of their ethnicity, nationality, religion, or race.” You made the accusation of “genocide” eight times in six minutes. What an insult to Israeli technology and ingenuity! My uneducated guess is that each of the many thousands of bombs that we have been forced to drop on Gaza in the past few weeks, would be capable of killing say a hundred citizens. That would amount to many hundreds of thousands dead. Yet Hamas claims that 7,000 have been killed and the integrity of their reporting is reflected in your own trumpeted claims re the aforementioned hospital.

Yes, a consequence of war, through history and across the globe, is that among the combatant fatalities are babies and elderly. In this battle the number of those casualties are a function of the many used as human shields by your friends, in contrast to us constantly warning civilians to move to safer areas. It is a testament to the humanity of the IDF that despite Hamas’s sadistic use of their own women and children as cannon and TV fodder and the placement of military facilities below schools and hospitals, there are so few non-combatant fatalities. According to the United Nations, in wars, on average, nine civilians are killed for every fallen combatant. Yet over the many decades of conflict, Israel’s enemies have never ever had to endure anything like that shocking ratio. Not so for Israeli casualties in the massacre of October 7th.

For people suffering genocide, the extent to which the Palestinians have been fruitful and multiplied over the past 75 years is remarkable. And how self-defeating us genocidal Israelis must be, to treat sick Gazan children in our hospitals.

Yet, genocide is indeed a word relevant to this conflict. It is given unequivocal expression in the Hamas charter.

I ask you- if you were supplying the electricity and water which sustained the tunnels and military capability of an enemy that has proven its mass-murderous bona-fides, would you continue to do so? Yes, there are consequences for the civilian population. These consequences are the sole responsibility of Hamas and Jihad who are the direct cause of their people’s suffering.

You mention Apartheid. I grew up in Apartheid South Africa but I just cannot recall Black Supreme Court judges, ministers, members of parliament, captains of national sports teams, doctors (and patients) in the hospitals and the like.

You delightedly spew your hate from the cushy confines of a Hamas cheering South Africa, but you express no desire to travel to Gaza to join the cause. I will take the liberty of guessing why that is so. Perhaps the source of your reticence is the certainty that if your brethren there saw your interview on SABC and discovered your heritage, they would not react in the same way as this fascist-settler-colonial-genocidal Israeli, by writing you a letter.  You see, it is not only Orthodox Jewry that insists that, born a Jew you remain a Jew no-matter-what. It is also the spiritual progeny of the Nazis- ISIS, Hamas, Jihad and the like, who hold this to be true.

So what would transpire is that despite your eloquent and ardent protestations, an enthused mob would form around you, cheering on as their buddies begin the pleasurable, sadistic imperative of raping, torturing, burning and finally beheading you. Then they would proudly and delightedly send the video of their profane ritual to your family. I understand that you would claim that savagery is completely legitimate in what you call resistance and what I call monstrous, genocidal crimes against humanity.

I am so grateful for the fact that the vast, vast majority of our magnificent nation which has survived, time and time again, pogrom and self-hatred, is rising united against our would be destroyers. And now we possess the means of self-defense we have lacked for millennia. It’s called the State of Israel.

Am Yisrael Chai.

Richard Shavei-Tzion


Richard Shavei-Tzion is a widely published poet and is the author of “Poetry in the Parasha” and the Prayer for the Preservation of the Environment. His articles on social, sustainability and Jewish topics have been published around the Jewish world, principally in the Jerusalem Post and his photographic images have been displayed in solo and group exhibitions. For 26 years Richard was the director of the Ramatayim Men’s Choir and now directs the Zimrat Efrat Choir. Recently retired from a career in property and medical management, he produces, “Gift of a Lifetime,” videos which preserve the stories and ethos of people for their progeny.


This article first appeared in the Times of Israel (31 October) – https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/letter-to-kelly-jo-bluen-of-the-south-african-jews-for-free-palestine/