On Saturday night at The Zone, Rosebank, three Jewish teenagers were physically assaulted and verbally abused by three Indian South African men.  The teenagers were clearly identified as Jewish, wearing Kippot (traditional Jewish head coverings).  While one of the students was being hit, another assailant swore at him saying:   “You F***ing Jew” and “your f***ing people are killing our innocent children”.  Charges against the perpetrators have been laid at the Rosebank police station.  The Zone has supplied the footage and we will be working with the authorities to ensure that the men be brought to justice.

The SA Jewish community hopes that this incident was an isolated one.  Unlike many other parts of the world, Jews in South Africa have always been able to freely identify as such in public spaces without fear of being victimised.  We are determined to do everything that we can, to ensure that this continues.

We therefore call on South Africans, Jewish or not, to attend a film-screening at a cinema of your choice this Saturday night (28 March), wearing a Kippa or hat.  In this way we will demonstrate our commitment to fight against any form of prejudice and intimidation.  As proud South African citizens our freedom of movement, religion and association are guaranteed by our Constitution. #KippasAgainstHate.



An Open Letter to Mayor Tau

by SAJBD on 20 March 2015

in General

Dear Mayor Tau

I write to you in the format of an open letter due to the fact that your Chief of Staff told us that he was refusing to share with you the previous letter we sent 3 March 2015.

We note that you will be hosting a `Palestine Solidarity Week’ this week and want to voice our distress that you have elected to partner in this with BDS SA, a group that has been responsible for creating a climate of hate against Johannesburg and South African Jewry.

Their campaigns over the past couple of years have resulted in blatant Jew hatred including:

  • BDS protest against Wits hosting an Israeli Jazz Quartet resulted in protesters singing Dubula e’Juda (shoot the Jew) which was justified by their coordinator Mohammed Desai
  • BDS IAW has resulted in Jewish students on campus being called F***ing Jews and F***ing Kikes.  This year a SAUJS event with Palestinian peace activist Bassem Eid at the University of Johannesburg was disrupted and the speaker evacuated.
  • BDS campaigns against Woolworths resulted in a pigs head being placed on a Kosher shelf
  • BDS hosting of Leila Khaled on DUT campus resulted in calls for Jewish students to be deregistered from the University
  • At a BDS march in Sandton last week against the SA Zionist Federation Exhibition we saw calls to exterminate Jews, comments such as “You Jews do not belong in SA” and “You think this is Israel, we are going to kill you”.    This can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCTqxzoQqZo.

The SAJBD Gauteng Council is perturbed by our Mayor partnering with an organization that has organised campaigns that continue to result in hatred, intimidation and threats against the Jewish citizens of his city.   The BDS are creating an environment for Jew hatred to flourish, the effects of which they themselves are unable to control.

If the Mayor is truly committed to the `social cohesion’ he speaks to in his poster, we would hope that he would rather address the escalating antisemitism and hate that groups like the BDS are responsible for.  Johannesburg has the highest percentage of Jews in Africa.  The Jewish community here established its roots here over 120 years ago, and has and continues to play an important part in the city and the country’s history and future.  We are proud citizens who are committed to being an active thread in the “City of Gold” vibrant fabric.  Furthermore, the SAJBD again reiterates its support for a Palestinian State existing side by side the State of Israel with secure borders.  BDS displays of hatred against Jews in the City of Johannesburg will in no way further this agenda.

 Yours sincerely

Shaun Zagnoev

Gauteng Chairman, SA Jewish Board of Deputies


The Hate Crimes Working Group (members listed below) and Peace Action, are concerned about the growing climate of violence in South Africa. The frequent and vicious outbreaks of xenophobic violence, violence against women and violence against the LGBTQI community, to name a few, are threatening the security of all who live in South Africa. The increasing levels of intolerance and anger, expressed violently, have a devastating impact on those who are most vulnerable and marginalised in society – such as women, children, LGBTQI, foreigners and the destitute.

The recent and repeated xenophobic attacks (during the past decade) against refugees and other non-South Africans are adding to a culture of intolerance and resulting in violence, pain and suffering for victims of this violence. The government has failed to adequately respond to these incidents and do the work necessary to prevent continued incidences of xenophobic violence, and to create a safe environment for non-South Africans living in South Africa. Human Rights Day in South Africa, annually celebrated on 21 March, is a day for South Africans to remember the importance of equality and dignity as cornerstone human rights. As we remember the violence and suffering endured during the Sharpeville Massacre, all South Africans should pledge to contribute to a society that respects all people and protects the rights, dignity and security of all.

A “hate crime” is usually a violent, prejudice-motivated crime that occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group. Examples of such groups include but are not limited to: ethnicity, gender, language, nationality, physical appearance, religion or sexual orientation.

We recognize that hate crime violence is not simply physical and that psychological exclusion, harassment, verbal abuse and humiliation are equally destructive. The Bill of Rights is the cornerstone of democracy in South Africa. It enshrines the rights of all people in our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality, security and freedom, as well as highlighting that no person may discriminate against another based on the aforementioned criteria.

The Hate Crimes Working Group notes that hate crimes therefore directly violate SA’s Constitution and the fundamental rights that belong to all who live in South Africa. It is not simply the responsibility of Government, but also that of every citizen to ensure the constitution is respected. All violations of constitutional rights and human rights should be punished, and efforts must be taken by Government to prevent violations in the first place. On Human Rights Day in South Africa, we call on the government to take concrete action to address and combat xenophobia and other hate crimes (such as crimes against LGBQTI people) in South Africa. We also call on all who live in South Africa to pledge themselves to respect the dignity, equality, security and freedom of all people, and to take a stand against hate crimes perpetrated in our country, today and every day.


Issued by the Hate Crimes Working, consisting of and endorsed by:

• Amnesty International, Southern African Team

• Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA)

• Gay and Lesbian Network


• Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town

• Sonke Gender Justice

• South African Jewish Board of Deputies

• Sweat

• Triangle Project

• The Women’s Legal Centre


The SAJBD joins with the rest of South Africa in mourning the tragic and untimely death of one of our great young leaders.

Minister Collins Chabane was always warm and engaging in his interaction with SA Jewry, which in turn was reflective of his commitment to ensuring the peaceful co-existence of all South Africans.

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies extends heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Collins Chabane, to the South African government and to every South African citizen who benefited from his humane and far-sighted leadership.


Video reveals hatred, lack of control at BDS rally

11 March 2015

The SAJBD has repeatedly expressed concern that the BDS, by importing the Middle East conflict into South Africa, is creating a climate that encourages anti-Semitism while shutting down any possible and rational debate on Israeli – Palestinian issues. The BDS demonstration held on Sunday, 8 March 2015, shows exactly how the dynamics of intimidation are at play. […]

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Antisemitism on display at BDS Rally

8 March 2015

Protesters outside a SA Zionist Federation conference in Sandton today, yelled:  “You think this is Israel, we are going to kill you”.  From the outset, it was clear that the aim of the demonstration, in the protestors own words, was to “shut down Sandton” and ensure “no Zionist conference be held on our soil”. When […]

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More Bullying by BDS against Jewish community

8 March 2015

In a flagrant disregard of the Constitutionally-protected right of all South Africans to freedom of belief, opinion and association, the BDS movement SA continues to threaten and disrupt the efforts of those who disagree with its radical anti-Israel and antisemitic agenda. The bullying intimidation and shameless trampling of fundamental democratic values by BDS was shown […]

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Palestinian Human Rights Activist Bassem Eid disrupted by the BDS

5 March 2015

Yesterday, UJ students experienced at first hand the bullying, intolerant tactics of the BDS movement when a lecture by Palestinian human rights activist Bassim Eid had to be discontinued. Students wearing BDS and PSF tshirts barged into the venue and proceeded to interrupt the speaker, refusing to allow him to continue his address and calling him […]

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SAJBD & YCL share a vision for a future SA

26 February 2015

On Wednesday, 25 February 2015, representatives of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) met with the Young Communist League’s (YCL’s) National Chairperson, Yeshan Pillay. The meeting was at the request of the SAJBD and represented a first step towards improved relations between the SAJBD and the YCL. Several issues were discussed during the […]

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Message read out by Adam, who was a passenger on a flight hijacked by Leila Khaled

13 February 2015

Leila Khalid is not a saint. She was and still is a terrorist. She wanted to turn hijacking into a hobby, but was prevented from doing so. I was present when she and her partner boarded a plane with guns and hand grenades. Depicting Leila Khalid as Mother Teresa is like awarding the Nobel Peace […]

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