Elder of Ziyon: From the Wits (Johannesburg) Vuvuzela: Israeli-born pianist Yossi Reshef was escorted off stage by Wits Campus Control last night as students protested his presence on campus during Israel Apartheid Week.
“This guy coming here is trying to undermine Israel Apartheid week,” SRC vice-president (internal) Tokelo Nhlapo told Wits Vuvuzela. Members of the Wits Student Representative Council (SRC), Muslim Students Association (MSA), Palestinian Solidarity Committee (PSC) as well as Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), called for the protest as they did not want the concert to happen during international Israel Apartheid week. Campus control had initially prevented the group of about 50 protesters from entering the Atrium Hall in the South West Engineering building where the concert was being held. Students chanted and banged on the doors. The protesters sang songs such as “Dubula ibhunu” a song that was previously under review due to what the AfriForum referred to as “hurtful lyrics”. Once Campus Control opened the doors students stormed into the hall. They disrupted the performance by jumping on stage as well as blowing their vuvuzelas. Student activist Mbuyiseni Ndlozi addressed the crowd after they stormed the hall. “Our visitors must understand that we are Wits students in good standing. They must understand that in this university Zionism will not enjoy (sic) anymore. They will not bring anything related, sponsored, corroborating with Israel and will expect it will be romantically accepted.”
Reshef does not even live in Israel – he lives in Berlin and spends most of his time in Europe and the US. (The concert was partly funded by the Israel Embassy. Horrible, I know. Although according to MyShtetl, the Israel embassy was not involved.)
The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, deeply regrets that a concert held on its campus last night was disrupted by some members of the University community and representatives of external organisations. In light of this incident, the University takes this opportunity to issue a public apology to all those who attended the concert. The disruption of this event points to intolerance on the part of some members of the University community and goes against the core values espoused by the University. The University is investigating this matter and will take the necessary action based on its policies, processes and procedures. The University reiterates that the views and opinions expressed by the Students’ Representative Council or any other student groups on campus do not represent the official views of the University, nor are they necessarily an accurate reflection of the views of the majority of students, staff and alumni. (h/t Steven Z) UPDATE: Here is a description of the events: Eventually all the doors were closed and the concert was finally allowed to begin. However, as Mr Reshef began to play the protestors outside were blowing vuvuzelas and chanting loudly as a means of trying to disrupt the piano recital. During this time, the security remained outside to guard the main door. After some time, things became quiet. Suddenly, while Mr Reshef was in middle of playing Beethoven’s “Tempest” Sonata, another door within the concert hall burst open. The protestors started streaming into the venue whilst chanting and making loud noises as they attempted to sabotage the recital. It was later discovered that the protesters had actually broken into a fire exit and come in through that door. Security swiftly arrived on the scene and managed to push the protesters out of the hall for a time. Nevertheless, the protestors became so forceful that the security officers were actually pushed backward and once again they came into the main hall screaming, jumping and blowing vuvuzelas. Yossi Reshef was ushered out of the venue very quickly as chaos began to reign within the hall. An eyewitness who wished to remain anonymous even stated he saw the Vice-President of the Wits SRC, cheer one of the protestors who began to violently hit the piano keys of a Steinway Piano that was being used by Mr Reshef. One of the music professor’s, who was truly horrified by what was taking place quickly, ran over to close this very expensive piece of musical equipment. By this time, five members of the Wits SRC, including the President were present in the hall watching this all take place but were doing nothing to put a stop to it. The guests were all forced to leave as security was unable to get a handle on the pandemonium taking place within the venue. As the guests left in a hurry, the protesters began to shout in unison “down with Israel.” Eyewitnesses have described the protestors as “hooligans” who were purposefully trying to destroy a beautiful evening that was supposed to be memorable; unfortunately for the wrong reasons. It must be noted that Yossi Reshef resides in Berlin and is not in any way politically affiliated with Israel. This hate action against Mr Reshef and the guests was done purely because he was just born in Israel.