Monday, December 07, 2009

COSATU Signs on to PSC Letter, Accuses the SAHRC of Lying

Well, it's official: COSATU has formally signed on to the PSC statement blasting the hate speech ruling of the South African Human Rights Commission, which found that a senior COSATU official, Bongani Masuku, had engaged in hateful speech directed at Jews. Hilariously, they still concede that only "in the main" were the comments not targeted at Jews -- in which case, I say, I have no problem with Mr. Masuku's "main" point, whatever that was, only his apparently tangential diversions into Jew-hatred.

The claim that the SABJD's complaint was "a pack of lies" also remains in-text. Actually, what they call the SABJD's claim "that Bongani's comments 'advocate and imply that the Jewish and Israeli community are to be despised, scorned, ridiculed and thus subjecting them to ill-treatment on the basis of their religious affiliation'" is actually a direct quote from the SAHRC's ruling -- so really, they are saying it is the Human Rights Commission that is the liar.
It is through such lies and intimidation that the SAJBD, the South African Zionist Federation, and other apologists of Israel have sought to chill free expression in South Africa and to prevent any critique of Israeli war crimes. Their repeated accusations of ‘hate speech’ against criticisms of Israel have become wasteful of public resources, and trivialise the very serious charge of ‘hate speech’.

Furthermore, their constant, frivolous, and false accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’ against critics of the state of Israel and the calumny of ‘self-hating Jews’ against those Jews who support the just struggle of the Palestinian people against racism and oppression is an attempt to silence and intimidate those who, using their own experience of racism and oppression in Apartheid South Africa, feel they can contribute to a just resolution of the problems in the Middle East.

The first paragraph is straight out of the playbook of the National Review -- complete with the concern trolling about trivialization. The second paragraph is the most pathetic excuse for a left argument I've heard yet (though it would do fine on Muzzlewatch or other such sites which find nothing so appalling as the silencing of flagrant anti-Semitic activity).

It is tragic, but somehow unsurprising, that COSATU finds such niceties as human rights law and intolerance to suddenly be outrageous when applied to them. It is a provincialism we've observed often with respect to this conflict, on all sides. One would have hoped they'd decide to take the high road, drawing on their experiences to oppose racism and oppression. Instead, they decided to align with it. Tragic.

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