Olga Meshoe: Trailblazing Israel advocate from South Africa headed to Tidewater

by | Feb 5, 2016 | What’s Happening

March 2, 7:30 pm, Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus

“Dynamism, eloquence, energy and power,” are just a few words The Times of Israel’s blogger, Howard Feldman, uses to describe Olga Meshoe.

The next speaker in the 5th Annual CRC Israel Today series, Meshoe is the empowered daughter of a Reverend, proud native of South Africa, pioneering cofounder and COO of her own organization, and self motivated workaholic. The organization she cofounded fights against the Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions (BDS) movement that protests all things Israel.

The Israel Today series is presented by the Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and community partners.

A bright and passionate attorney, arts enthusiast, reliable consultant, and ardent Zionist, Meshoe coined her organization Defend, Embrace, Invest, Support Israel, or DEISI. DEISI is pronounced daisy, as in pushing up the daisies, or more appropriately “laying to rest” the notions brought forth by BDS and other anti-Israel movements that declare Israel an apartheid state.

Meshoe grew up in South Africa and knows what it is to suffer the evils of apartheid. After visiting Israel’s Yad Vashem in 2014, she said, “We know what apartheid was, because we still suffer from the scars of it and my parents were directly impacted.… How in the world seeing what we see, knowing what we know, and being educated as to truth, can we say Israel is an apartheid State?”

The inspiration for DEISI came from Meshoe’s father Kenneth Meshoe, president of the African Christian Democratic party. During a speaking tour in 2013 he witnessed the strength that the BDS movement had accrued among communities in Canada. Kenneth Meshoe was so upset after witnessing BDS in action, that he returned home prepared to properly educate South Africans about Israel. He knew the best support Israel could acquire was from people who understood and experienced apartheid atrocities and he felt it was his duty to help.

DEISI educates young African Americans about the history of Israel, as well as provides trips to the Jewish State. These trips provide the students an opportunity to see for themselves exactly why Israel is not an apartheid state. On their visit, DEISI students learn Israeli history, as well as witness modern day Israeli life, inventions and achievements.

Meshoe is adamant about what South Africa could learn from Israel’s technological, medical, and agricultural innovations. Feldman says, “She believes that real transformation in South Africa can come about through working with Israel.”

According to Feldman, “Meshoe is someone who gave hope to the South African Jewish community when they needed it most,” referring to the conflicts in Gaza during the summer of 2014.

Meshoe has a lot to share with Tidewater about her experiences, knowledge, and passion regarding Israel advocacy.

For more details, or to RSVP (required) visit www.JewishVA.org/CRCIsraelToday or call 757-965-6107.

by Gaby Grune