South African Muslims condemn Jewish boycott

CAPE TOWN (JTA) — A group of more than 100 South African Muslims has condemned calls to boycott Jewish-owned businesses.

In a letter to the daily Cape Times, the group refers to an anonymous e-mail making the rounds calling for such a boycott in response to Israeli attacks on Gaza. In the letter, the Muslim group says it is "appalled at the occasional manifestations of anti-Semitism in our community."

While the group says it is "horrified and angered by the Israeli attack" and the "willful and indiscriminate" attack on civilian targets, it says it does not believe that this should "be an excuse for anti-Semitism among us. To single out Jews for any kind of attack or action in this manner is racism, something that all of us deeply detest and many of us have fought against for much of our lives."

While the group supports a boycott of "Israeli, settler-produced" products and companies that "support the Occupation," the letter says it is "unacceptable to link such a boycott to the ethnicity of people living in South Africa." Such a call, the letter says, "sullies the history of our community’s struggle for equal rights during apartheid" and also "tarnishes the struggle for freedom and justice for the Palestinians. Let us not become the evil that we abhor."

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