The return of the Blood Feud.
The ongoing Israel-Hamas war, now a month along, has been nothing if not heartbreaking. From the vicious opening salvo to the overwhelming response, each day seems to bring new horrific scenes. Families ripped apart. Innocents slaughtered. Thousands of miles away, in every direction, the conflict has polarized and already wildly polarized world. Marches staged in support of Palestine. Marches staged in support of Israel. No mercy for anyone with a different opinion as to who is right and who is wrong.
Israel backers immediately lumped in with Nazis. Those who lean Palestinian also immediately lumped in with Nazis.
Tentacles of disdain reaching all corners from Hollywood to tech to surf.
And here, let us travel to South Africa where former Championship Tour surfer Ricky “Bobby” Basnett finds himself center stage. The junior standout, who came up for a cup of coffee during the middle 2000s, became an inspiration after leaving drink behind and re-imagining a life well lived. The stylish regular foot, and Mr. Price Pro winner, now dabbles in art, tattooing and, of course, surfing. Days ago, he unveiled a new Instinct sticker on his board, thrilling all.
But you certainly remember the 1980s brand founded by South Africa’s greatest ever surfer Shaun Tomson. While not as popular as Tomson cousin Michael’s Gotcha, Instinct made a mark. Shaun Tomson recently revived the brand and all was going well until Basnett took to Instagram to post a slide reading “From the river to the sea.”
The phrase, of course, loaded and either referencing autonomy for Palestinians or the complete eradication of Israel, depending on bent.
“Your anti semitism is disgusting to me”
Tomson, who is Jewish, became incensed, sending Basnett a strongly worded letter reading:
You can support Hamas and the kidnapping murder rape and dismemberment of babies all you want. You are parroting the same old anti semitic tropes I have heard all may life. The same old Jew hatred that has been around before you and will be around after.
Support Hamas and be proud of your choice. Initially I thought you were simply ignorant but now I know that is not the case. I will not be aligned and support an anti semite, someone who calls for the destruction of Israel. Certain things in life like values and human decency are more important than business.
Genocide – do you even know what the word means. 6 million Jews died in the 1940s. That was genocide.
Your anti semitism is disgusting to me.
Basnett did not take the lashing quietly, taking back to Instagram and emotionally declaring he will not be silenced. Bra Boy Koby Abberton encouraged him along saying, “Good for you, Ricky. Stand tall, back straight looking into the eyes of men who write emails. What’s happening in Palestine is wrong. The shift will happen and Shaun will hide under his bed just like when he was pushing the vaccine. Same people different year.”
Much to unpack in this classic return to the Blood Feud.