Monday, November 8, 2010

(BLOG) Antisemitism In South Africa

"The level of government sponsored anti-semitism in South Africa has reached an all time high. The wording of these speeches is very reminiscent of the speeches made by the Ugandan government approximately 35 years ago, about the Asian community, before all Asians were expelled from Uganda. Quite frankly, some of the wording and suggested courses of action reminds one even of Germany in the early 1930s. Unfortunately Jews can no longer feel safe there.

AMERICA, as well as other Western countries,is in the grip of Jewish money power, declared Deputy Foreign Minister Fatima Hajaig before a deliriously cheering crowd in Lenasia last Wednesday night.

The occasion was a rally organised by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), in association with the Palestinian Solidarity Committee, SA Communist Party, SA Council of Churches and various sundry NGOs, social movements and academic activists. One of its key aims was to generate further momentum towards the institution of an economic, cultural and diplomatic boycott of Israel by South Africa, something long endorsed by Cosatu.

Hajaig, a veteran activist in the antiapartheid struggle noted for her vitriolic anti-Israel views, was appointed deputy minister of foreign affairs in November last year, replacing Aziz Pahad. Her address was replete with emotive and hyperbolic rhetoric against Israel, such as declaring that there has not been a single day since its creation when a Palestinian had not been killed or injured by it.

Her invocation of the spectre of Jewish money exercising its malign behind-the scenes influence in shaping world events, was greeted with a particularly enthusiastic roar of appreciation by the audience and was expressed in clear, unambiguous terms: 'They in fact control [America]', the deputy minister said, 'no matter which government comes in to power, whether Republican or Democratic, whether Barack Obama or George Bush.

'The control of America, just like the control of most Western countries, is in the hands of Jewish money and if Jewish money controls their country then you cannot expect anything else.'

In addition to Hajaig’s conspiracy theorising, various other speakers at the Lenasia rally made threatening statements against the local Jewish community, inter alia that those with Zionist sympathies be expelled from the country, that 'Israeli' (in fact, Jewish-owned) businesses be boycotted and that action be taken against South African Jews who served in the Israeli military.

One presenter said: 'The common enemy is making inroads in South Africa... The Zionists in South Africa, must be kicked out of the shores of South Africa.' Another speaker praised 'our Jewish brothers and sisters' who had come out against the Israel Defence Forces, assuring them 'there is a place in the world we are building in South Africa for you'. Those who had not done so,he warned, had 'better watch out because the winds of change are blowing'.

Regarding local Jews allegedly serving in the IDF, another presenter shouted: 'We are going to become impimpis, the business that we are going to carry out with the Jews, with these Zionist entities. We are going to talk to them, we’re going to find out if their sons have gone to fight our brothers and sisters in Palestine and then we’ll say to them: ‘Come and fight us at home’.' Other speakers included ANC Provincial Secretary Nazeem Adams and Eddie Makue, general secretary of the South African Council of Churches. Makue denied that the fight against Israel and Zionism was anti-Semitic, saying that he and his fellow activists only wanted to bring their 'Jewish brothers and sisters onto the right path.

'This is a global struggle. We are inviting you to join us in it, otherwise you will be mowed down in the annals of history as people who refuse to support justice and peace,' he said, to loud applause. Earlier this year, Hajaig provoked an official complaint by Israel to the South African Embassy in Tel Aviv for her effectively describing a senior member of the local Israel Embassy staff as being a token black whose appointment was due only to his race. This took place on December 29 at the conclusion of an acrimonious meeting demanded by Hajaig with newly-appointed Israel Ambassador to South Africa Dov Segev-Steinberg, during which she had lambasted Israel for its actions in Gaza.

Referring to Israel Embassy Spokesperson Elias Inbram, who immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia in the early 1990s, she asked the Ambassador: 'When your colleagues in Europe attend a meeting like this, do they also take someone along like the person sitting next to you?' When Segev-Steinberg queried what she meant by that remark, she remarked disparagingly to her colleague: 'I think we are dealing with an Ambassador here who doesn’t understand questions.'

Hajaig’s behaviour, together with the mounting incitement against the Jewish community resulting from the Gaza conflict, were among the urgent issues addressed by the SAJBD in its meeting with President Kgalema Motlanthe in Pretoria on Friday." (source)

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