Internet radio host Gareth Cliff has done what he’s often done before, which is to swim against the current of popular opinion and say whatever he likes.
A clip of him condemning Palestinians as “invaders” has been widely shared and strongly divided opinion on social media. South Africa’s diplomatic position on Israel is that they have condemned the recent killings of Palestinians and recalled our ambassador to Israel in protest.
However, speaking during his morning show on Cliff Central, an online radio station, on Wednesday, Cliff believes South Africa has it all wrong.
Earlier this month, at least 61 Palestinians were shot dead and 2 400 were injured after the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) fired live ammunition on the Gaza border during a protest against, among other things, the moving of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Israel was also celebrating the 70th anniversary of its founding in 1948.
Cliff has called South African media biased by apparently choosing to side with the Palestinians.
“I looked at what was going on over there and I’ve done quite a lot of reading and looked at quite a lot of the news articles from around the world. This claim that Israel shot demonstrators is just a blatant lie. It’s an absolute falsehood. This was an attempt to invade a sovereign nation and border communities to indiscriminately slaughter civilians.”
He said the Palestinian people have been hellbent on perpetrating violence against Israel and destroying the nation.
“What must Israel do? Let it happen? Let their citizens be killed by a bunch of people who are clearly hellbent on violence?”
Cliff is no stranger to controversy, having defended convicted racist Penny Sparrow’s right to free speech more than two years ago, which saw him being fired on Idols and getting a lot of flak from both fans and critics.
Take a look at some of the latest reaction below.
You're a man of the media yet you condemn Palestine? How blind do you have to be for you to make such statements? What more evidence do you require for you to see exactly what's going on? pic.twitter.com/eYpD4TDMIp
— Hoosen A #LFC (@Hoosen_A) May 23, 2018
You have your views and he’s got his, what’s the problem?
— Proud (@hncanonography) May 23, 2018
Dear @GarethCliff – I just heard a clip of you condemning Palestinians and supporting the State of Israel. You are clearly misinformed. And you condone the killing of innocent Palestinians. Shame on you! @CliffCentralCom
— Yusuf Abramjee (@Abramjee) May 23, 2018
Shame on you Yusuf, for using your religious beliefs to justify ethnic cleansing and terrorism. Either you know the facts on the grounds or you're ignorant/bigoted. It's not okay to turn a blind eye to Palestinian barbarity simply because u share the same faith.
— 4eyedcyclopse (@damienhasatan) May 23, 2018
@GarethCliff you are ignorant of the Palestinian struggle….
— ريحانة (@rihsuda) May 23, 2018
So a few days ago @GarethCliff thought Western Sahara a noteworthy cause and today thinks 9 million Palestinians should not be allowed to go back to their homes
— orange lion (@OrangeLion99) May 23, 2018
#garethCliff Israel has never declared its borders and NO you can't just move your embassy into another country. Go do some more research! And once again all of SA is on one side and Gareth Cliff needs to be educated on the issue! Just a sad attempt to stay relevant…
— Ayesha Nagdee (@AyeshaNagdee) May 23, 2018
Shame on him for what?For calling out a bigot? @GarethCliff is not a moral guru,he’s a has been who thinks he knows it all,My 10 year old has a more moral high ground than this zionist lover. If apartheid was still around, he would be praising the killing of blacks. #GarethCliff
— unyana kaYakobi (@ismailsalajee) May 23, 2018
@GarethCliff This is from the house of commons, UK. @5FM presenters must be educated, buffoons giving political commentary that is refuted by MANY independent sources r lazy, spoonfed Zionist mouth pieces& don't make 4 intelligent listening pic.twitter.com/uIislwEk1n
— Fathima Moosa (@ummosman) May 23, 2018