Naidoo was turned away by Israeli authorities on Wednesday when she tried to gain access into the country to fulfil a promise made last month to visit both territories to school herself around the ongoing conflict in the region.
“Earlier today, Israel prevented Naidoo’s passage to Palestine. Israeli authorities control access to Palestine and blocked her on the orders of Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deriand the recommendation of Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan,” Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel in South Africa’s (BDS South Africa) Kwara Kekana said in a statement.
Naidoo came under attack last month for a controversial remark made on social media where she referred to Gaza as a “s***hole”. This resulted in social media backlash and the local celeb being dropped by several sponsors, including Glam Palm and Lil Jewels.
Horseracing and betting company Gold Cirle also dropped her, cancelling her scheduled appearance at this year’s Durban July.
At a teary press conference held with BDS South Africa last month, she apologised for her ignorance on the matter, explaining that she “stupidly copied and pasted” the response from a friend in a feeble attempt to appear “smart” on social media without reading it comprehensively.
She then committed to visiting the conflict-ridden region.
Kekana said it was clear that the Jewish state was only interested in allowing entry to people who praised the country.
“Israel also blocks Jews who are critical of Israel, like Rabbi Alisa Wise of Jewish Voices for Peace. This repressive behaviour is how Israel treats Palestinians who are subjected to similar, but worse forms of restriction and denial of many other freedoms, similar to the way we South Africans once were treated by the apartheid regime,” she said.
“This is a clear indication of Israel’s refusal to allow freedom of movement, expression and association. This behaviour by Israel infringes on our diplomatic relations and is a further indication of the need for South Africa to implement the ANC’s resolution for the immediate and unconditional downgrade of the SA Embassy as Israel. There can be no doubt that Israel is a hostile state to South Africa.”
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Israel’s Deputy Ambassador to SA Ayellet Black said Israel was well within its rights to deny Naidoo access into the country.
“Israel has passed a law that, like any rational sovereign state, it denies entry to those seeking to harm the country. A BDS-planned mission such as this obviously intends to do just that,” Black said.
Naidoo joins a long list of other South Africans who have been denied passage to Palestine, including Transport Minister Blade Nzimande, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and World Council of Churches leader Isabel Phiri.
According to the SA Jewish Report, Naidoo was informed about the Israeli government’s decision to ban her last week, following a meeting with the Israeli Embassy.
“I believe that flagging an individual, whose only intention was to push an agenda of love and light, is dubious,” she wrote. “I have said numerous times that I have no desire to be a political tool. My only hope was to meet the people, experience the land and give aid to those in need. It was never a BDS itinerary. I really am devastated,” she told the publication in a WhatsApp message.