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Gaza vs Israel: You’re either with us or against us

Samantha Luiz's picture

 Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Josh Broomberg, a high school student who has taken the internet by storm.

For those of you who haven’t heard of him, Josh is the Deputy Head Boy of King David Victory Park School and an Honours pupil. As the captain of the South African National Debate team, Josh is currently representing the country at the World School’s debating Championships.

Now the reason Josh is leaving cyber footprints all over the internet is not because of his prowess as a public speaker. Instead he is the subject of an online petition by a member of web-based platform, change.org . The infamous petition seeks to strip him of all his titles and honours conferred to him by the school.

This comes after the high school student was tagged in a picture posted on Facebook. The picture showed himself and two team members from the national team wearing Keffiyehs , which are Palestinian scarves, along with badges of the Palestinian flags.

Accompanying the picture was the caption: Team South Africa wearing Palestinian badges and Keffiyehs to show our opposition to the human rights violations carried out against the people of Palestine.”

The picture that caused all the drama. Source: enca.com

So why has been ostracised for standing for “humanity and for the Palestinian people who do not have a state to protect themselves”?

Because he’s Jewish.

It is very disappointing that in an age of democracy (and all the good things that supposedly come with it) a group of narrow-minded people decided to corner a kid for standing for what he believes in- the right of all people to be free and safe.

As a Christian, I like to think that I am free to express my freedom of expression without fear of being shunned by fellow Christians. As much as I’m part of the Christian community, I am an individual with thoughts and opinions. So is Josh. He has made it clear that he’s a proud South African Jew and a Zionist yet believe “all citizens of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza have the absolute right to live in peace and security.”

When I was first saw this picture, I was sold. I saluted the stance of solidarity against the human right violations against the Gaza and Israel Conflict . Without taking any sides, I detest the images that have popped up from both sides of the battle lines. Just a few weeks ago, graphic images of the dead children and other war victims went viral on the internet, bearing testimony to the reality of war on both fronts. Not just Hamas or Israel.

Also, I was impressed that young people had taken the initiative to make a positive mark. In an age where fewer young people are getting involved in activism, we should be grateful that they spoke out. Yes, Josh and his team mates had the right idea.

I also salute Josh for defending his actions. After apologising for the incident which was not meant to ‘offend or upset’, he explained that it is not a question of whose side you’re on.

“We stand for two states. We do not stand against Israel. All of this applies to me personally as well.”

I stand with Josh.

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