WE WON THIS ONE TOGETHER!
|Following the apology by Virgin Active, BDS SA National Coordinator Muhammed Desai said: “This is not my victory nor that of BDS South Africa but of all those thousands of South Africans who took to social media and other platforms in anger against the blatant violation of basic constitutional rights." Click here to read a personal message on the issue from Muhammed Desai.
BUY YOUR OWN BDS GYM SHIRT (R100)
BDS gym-shirts (R100) are available from BDS SA offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Alternatively send an email to shop@bdssouthafrica and we'll arrange for it to be mailed to you at a minimal cost. All BDS SA sale proceeds (of hoodies, golf shirts, tshirts, scarves, books etc.) go toward the running costs of BDS South Africa. Click here for more information or to buy.
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VIRGIN ACTIVE APOLOGISES FOR BANNING BDS BOYCOTT ISRAEL TSHIRTS FROM THEIR GYMS
Last week, following a nationwide outcry, Virgin Active eventually took responsibility for its wrong-doing and apologised for initially denying access to BDS South Africa’s National Coordinator, Muhammed Desai. Desai was barred access by the company (to Virgin Active’s Old Eds gym) after complaints from pro-Israeli gym-goers who took offence to Desai previously wearing BDS Free Palestine/Boycott Israel tshirts to the gym (click here for a Radio 702 podcast with one such pro-Israeli gym-goer, play from 11 minutes).
The apology and backtrack by the company is welcomed (click here for relevant BDS SA press release). This is a victory for freedom of expression as well as a victory against the Israeli lobby and its supporters consistent pressuring, bullying and harassing of businesses, academics, journalists, students and members of the public who voice (or even simply allow) support for BDS, the Palestinian people or criticism of Israel.
In this instance, the pro-Israeli pressure (which Virgin Active was wrong to succumb to) back-fired with thousands taking to social media and other platforms and eventually leading the company to back-track and apologise. Many more supporters now, more than before, wear BDS tshirts to gym and thousands more now know, more than before, about the non-violent boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel movement.
FULL ANALYSIS ON VIRGIN ACTIVE ISSUE
Above is the tshirt that Desai was wearing when Virgn Active had called-in the police to remove him.