Thursday, August 14, 2014

Conveying a Final Message to the Jews of South Africa

The other day, I noted an ultimatum delivered by the head of the ANC's Western Cape branch to the South African Jewish community. It gave them "until the 07 August 2014 to stop their Zionist propaganda in Cape Town, failing which we will boycott and call strikes at all of their member – and supporting companies and organisations."

On the one hand, the official (Tony Ehrenreich), gave the Jews an extra week to respond. On the other hand, he also raised the stakes well beyond a "mere" boycott:
Ehrenreich wrote that South Africa’s Jewish Board of Deputies, the national Jewish communal organization, should suffer for its support of Israel.

“This makes the Jewish Board of Deputies complicit in the murder of the people in Gaza,” he wrote. “The time has come to say very clearly that if a woman or child is killed in Gaza, then the Jewish board of deputies, who are complicit, will feel the wrath of the People of SA with the age old biblical teaching of an eye for an eye.”
And now we have a call for a pogrom. Lovely.

In case you're curious, yes the SAJBD is accusing him of hate speech and incitement. Ehrenreich, for his part, says he will sue the SAJBD "for supporting crimes against humanity in Gaza, and for being complicit through their actions or inactions, in the killing of women and children in Gaza" (emphasis added).

Finally, Ehrenreich also gets off the obligatory denial that he is in any way anti-Semitic for calling for mass violence against the South African Jewish community. While he contends he is attacking only the SAJBD for "condoning" the Gaza campaign, it is notable that his verbiage (which equates silence with active support of alleged war crimes) would apply to any Jew (really, any person, but of course Ehrenreich only focuses on Jews) who has not spoken out against the Gaza campaign in a manner Ehrenreich finds acceptable. See also Bongani Masuku's statement that "silently consenting or grumbling under tables" would not be sufficient for Jews to "imagine [South Africa] to be their home."

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