The South African Jewish Board of Deputies is appalled by the Anti-Muslim graffiti that was painted on residential houses in Eersterust yesterday (including, “F**K Muslims”). The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) has been consistent and tireless in its work to advocate for education around the dangers of hate speech and hate crimes, and calls for legislation to combat such instances of discrimination.
The recent decision by the Minister of Home Affairs to disallow homophobic and Holocaust-denier Pastor Steven Anderson from visiting South Africa is indicative of Government’s recognition of the dangers inherent in hateful language directed against any community in our country. Slogans, such as those painted in Eesterust, have no place in South Africa and should be condemned in the strongest terms.
The SAJBD calls on Government to publish the draft Hate Crimes Bill for public comment as soon as possible, to ensure that prejudice based on religion, gender, ethnicity, race or sexual orientation, is taken.
The Hate Crimes Working Group applauds Minister Gigaba’s decision today to prohibit Steven Anderson and his associates from visiting South Africa.
This bold move is a clear stand against hate and prejudice, and strengthens South Africa’s commitment to building a just and humane society where dignity, respect and equality are afforded to all.
The views of a visitor like Anderson, whose abhorrent rants have denigrated women and Africans and are homophobic and anti-Semitic in nature, would only serve to damage social cohesion, create division and promote ignorance in South Africa.
We wish to thank the Department of Home Affairs, and the South African government, for taking the concerns of civil society, the LGBTI and other communities into consideration in this matter.
We sincerely hope that this decision is a positive step towards greater progress on the issues of hate crimes awareness, education and legislation in South Africa. The HCWG looks forward to engaging with government further in combating hate in our country, in particular in the promulgation of a Hate Crimes Bill.
Issued by Alana Baranov (South African Jewish Board of Deputies).
The SA Jewish Board of Deputies notes that the Hawks have arrested four terror suspects on charges of contravening the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorism Act. We further note that that included in the alleged targets were Jewish installations. Terrorism is a global challenge that affects many countries, including our own. We appreciate efforts by our authorities to monitor and prevent incidents of terrorism, and we will be monitoring the current situation.
At a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture held in Mexico on June 27th, South African Marlene Bethlehem communal stalwart, spanning over fifty years of service, was unanimously elected as President of this prestigious organization.
The outgoing President Professor ISMAR SCHORSCH said the following: “Marlene’s international perspective, rich organizational experience, deep understanding of the Memorial Foundation, abundant wisdom and grace will be of inestimable benefit to the foundation.”
Marlene has been associated with the foundation for many years and has been instrumental in fostering close and mutually beneficial relationships with the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, which she represented.
In thanking the organization Marlene started by quoting from a significant South African proverb saying ” Ubuntu, ungumuntu,ungabanya abantu” which means people are only people through other people. In the context of the Memorial Foundation I am only accepting this enormous honour because of the wonderful people of this foundation, who I have been proud to work with over very many years. With deep regard to the learned Rabbis present I now quoted from Perkei Avod chapter 4.1 ” Ben Zoma asks Who is honored? He (or she) who honors others, as it is said: “For those who honor me I will honor.” “It is therefore my great privilege to honor the Past President, board of trustees and the professional staff of the Memorial Foundation and to thank them for the enormous trust placed in me. I hope that I will be able to carry on the outstanding commitment of the dedicated leaders who have served the Foundation with great distinction in the past.
The salient feature of the Memorial Foundation that excites me is the new emphasis in our work which is the development of the social capital of the Jewish people, its communal, cultural and professional leadership. We need competent and committed young leaders to deal with the new sociological realities and challenges that our communities are facing. It is vital that we make sure that there is continuity of purpose around the world to maintain the lofty ideals that we nurtured for fifty one years. Having had the privilege of being present to meet the fellows at this year’s program I am confident that our future is in good hands”.