Israel bans South African model after Gaza 's***hole' apology
South African supermodel Shashi Naidoo says she has been declined entry to Israel after apologising for calling Gaza a "shi*hole" because of the way it is run by Hamas.
Naidoo last month apologised after receiving backlash for supporting Israel's killing of Palestinian protesters in Gaza during ongoing The Great Return March demonstrations.
She has also called Gaza a "s***hole" because of Hamas' governance.
Since then, she approached the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement in South Africa and agreed to go on a trip with the organisation.
Israel responded by denying her entry to the besieged Palestinian enclave.
"After my meeting at the Israeli Embassy, I have been declined access," she told the South Africa Jewish Report earlier this week.
"I believe that flagging an individual, whose only intention was to push an agenda of love and light, is dubious," she said in a WhatsApp conversation.
She insisted that she did not want to be used as a political tool.
"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," she said.
Naidoo added that she being banned from entering was especially distressing because she planned to convert to Judaism.
The nonviolent BDS movement says it is inspired by the campaign that targeted South Africa's apartheid regime and is seeking an end to Israel's brutal occupation of the West Bank.
Israel sees BDS as a strategic threat and accuses it of antisemitism - something activists firmly deny, calling it an attempt to discredit them.
But the movement, which adheres to peaceful resistance, aims to pressure Israel to adhere to international law and human rights by lobbying various states, institutions and individuals for a better understanding into the oppression of Palestinians.
BDS also operates by pressuring corporations, artists and academic institutions to sever ties with Israel.
Israeli officials have recently clamped down on groups seen as supporting the global campaign to pressure Tel Aviv to end its occupation of the occupied Palestinian territories.
A new law was introduced by Israel in March 2017, barring access to the country for individuals and groups who have previously expressed support of the BDS movement.
This includes those who want to enter Palestine, as they must also pass through Israeli border controls.
The BDS movement is seen by many activists as one of the few remaining avenues of effective non-violent resistance to the brutal and persistent Israeli occupation.