South African model Shashi Naidoo was denied entry to Israel due to her links to the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, BDS South Africa said Wednesday.
“Earlier today Israel prevented Naidoo 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,” BDS South Africa’s Kwara Kekana said.
Naidoo was attempting to enter Palestine on an “educational” trip with the South African Council of Churches, which promised to show her “both sides.” Naidoo’s decision was announced after being criticized for calling Gaza a shithole and saying Palestinians teach their children to hate Jewish people and are rewarded for killing Israelis in an Instagram post.
The post drew widespread condemnation, and she even lost sponsorships over her comments, which according to Naidoo were not her own but “copy pasted” from another post.
After the backlash Naidoo held a joint press conference with the director of BDS South Africa, Mohammed Desai, who suggested she should go on an educational trip to Palestine to learn about the reality in the field.
Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad said “I personally invite Ms. Naidoo to visit Israel on her own accord and experience the reality on the ground… However, given that she arrived on a BDS-sponsored ‘re-education’ trip following violent anti-Israel threats, we cannot allow her entry.”
In her apology posted on Instagram a visibly moved Naidoo said she has received 10 death threats in one day. It is unclear who is behind these threats.
After she was denied entry Naidoo said “I believe that flagging an individual, whose only intention was to push an agenda of love and light, is dubious… 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.”
The BDS movement is a non-violent initiative, inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, which seeks to apply international pressure until Israel ends the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights.