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BRICUP, UCU, War on Want Tour Hate Speaker Around Britain

You will have read yesterday about BRICUP’s tour of Bongani Masuku around British Universities. The purpose of the tour is to call for a boycott of Israel.

That tour is being supported by War on Want.

It is also being supported by Tom Hickey, of the UCU NEC. According to the Facebook page advertising the event, it is being supported by the UCU itself.

Bongani Masuku has been found by the South African Human Rights Commission to have deliberately incited hatred and violence between different student groups on campus.

And now, BRICUP, War on Want and the UCU are bringing that incitement of hatred and violence to British campuses.

Here is an extract from the South African Human Rights Commission’s findings:

The second inquiry is to determine whether the speech constitutes an incitement to cause harm, which does not only amount to physical harm but may also constitute psychological and emotional harm.

On the day in question Mr Masuku was speaking to students who included both Jewish Zionists and Palestinian supporters. There appeared to already have been noted tension between these two groups. Therefore by Mr Masuku making those remarks he surely intended to incite violence and hatred that was already potentially imminent amongst these two groups. COSATU members of Palestinian supporters present at this rally could easily have been incited to hate, and even attack their Jewish counterparts. This is exactly what Section 16(2) of the Constitution seeks to prevent.

Mr Masuku’s heated statements made amidst an already tense audience appeared to advocate hatred against Jews and all other supporters of Israel. This is inciting violence based on religion, an area which freedom of expression does not protect.

Mr Masuku in his response to the allegations put to him by the South African Human Rights Commission, states that he was heckled by what he refers to “as a particular section of the audience – most of whom seemed to be members of the South African Union of Jewish Students”. This statement leave little doubt that the references made by him referred to Jews.

The statement that “it will be hell” for any group of students, taken in its proper context is intimidatory and threatening. It is conveyed as a warning to the effect that should one support Israel, one would suffer harm. Harm for the purposes of Section 16(2), as confirmed in the Freedom Front11 decision is wider than mere physical harm.

In responding to the allegations relating to the emails sent by him, Mr Masuku fails to deal with the context in which he used the words “…whether Jew or whomsoever does so, must not just be encouraged but forced to leave…” These words in effect come across that unless South Africans agree with his views they should be forced to leave South Africa.

In view of the content of the speech made and emails sent by Mr Masuku it is clear that the expressions amount to the advocacy of hatred and thus would not fall under the protection of Section 16(1) of the Constitution.

The comments and statements made are of an extreme nature that advocate and imply that the Jewish and Israeli community are to be despised, scorned, ridiculed and thus subjecting them to ill-treatment on the basis of their religious affiliation. A prima facie case of hate speech is clearly established as the statements and comments by Mr. Masuku are offensive and unpalatable to society.

Finding:

In light of the above, the Commission hereby finds that the statements made by Mr. Bongani Masuku amounts to hate speech.

Well done War on Want.

Well done UCU.