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Yesterday noon, the South African Jewish community held a protest outside the Seapoint Woolworths against the placing of a pig’s-head by COSAS, in what was assumed to be the kosher section of the shop.  Keeping to a limit of 50 people as required for the permit to hold the demonstration, the Jewish community stood shoulder to shoulder, wearing t-shirts with the words by Nelson Mandela “South Africa belongs to all who live in it” emblazoned on them.  Waving South African flags, they held placards that read, inter alia: “Free Speech Not Hate Speech”, “Proudly South African, Proudly Jewish”, and “Say no to Antisemitism”.

Wendy Kahn, National Director read a strong message to the crowd and the media, saying that

“We gather here as fellow South Africans to express outrage against all forms of hate.  What happened here exactly a week ago with a pig’s head being smuggled in a baby’s pram and placed in a fridge that was assumed to contain kosher meat shows a vicious and vulgar hatred that cannot be tolerated by South Africans in our country.  Every South African citizen that cherishes our democracy should be horrified by this incident.  In the words of Nelson Mandela, ‘SA belongs to all how live in it’.  Hatred against any minority group does not end there. It needs to be stamped out now.”

The crowd chanted “No to Hate”, while cars passing by in the Main Street, hooted in approval.  The SAJBD has lodged a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission against the perpetrators.

Links to some of the Media Coverage of the event

http://www.iol.co.za/capetimes/call-for-action-over-pig-s-head-insult-1.1773230

http://ewn.co.za/2014/10/30/Jewish-community-protest-anti-semitism-outside-Woolworths

http://m.news24.com/news24/Live/SouthAfrica/News/Jewish-community-fights-back-after-pig-incident-20141030 

http://dispatch.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/showarticle.aspx?&article=8785f735-a458-48cd-bd7d-0bc2729c654a&viewmode=2&page=5 

 

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SAJBD ADVISORY

by The SAJBD on 30 October 2014

in Media, Notices

ADVISORY
The South African Jewish community will be holding a demonstration against rising antisemitism and intimidation in our country. There has, over the past few months been an escalation of levels of antisemitism and hate speech against members of the Jewish Community. This has included direct verbal threats, anti-Jewish grand-standing by political and civil society leadership, as well as physical threats of violence through social media. The climate has been created that led to the crossing of the line last week, with the placing of a pig’s head in what was thought to be the Kosher meat section of Woolworths by the Congress of South African Students (COSAS).
The demonstration will be held on Thursday 30 October, from 12:00 – 13:00, outside the Woolworths Corner Main Road and Fort Road (opposite Mr Price), Cape Town.
Members of the Jewish Community, and fellow- South Africans who stand for the values as enshrined in our Constitution will come together to say that Hate Speech in this country, irrespective of which minority it is directed at, will not be tolerated and accepted. Nor will South African Jews be intimidated by this rising form of racism.
South Africa has traditionally had low rates of antisemitism compared to other countries. Alongside all South Africans, including fellow minority groups SA Jewry has been able to affirm their own cultural and religious beliefs, whilst simultaneously fully identifying with South Africa, and what it stands for. It is for this reason that the Jewish Community, and like-minded South African will take to the street and highlight this growing and worrying trend.
The SA Jewish Board of Deputies yesterday lodged a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission against COSAS and their Western Cape Provincial Chairperson Siphakamise Ngxowa for their antisemitic demonstration and hate speech.
This protest seeks to highlight the un-South African nature of this act by Cosas, and to uphold the South African values of tolerance and inclusiveness.
SAJBD National Director Wendy Kahn will read out a statement calling for South African solidarity against hate.
We invite the media to attend.
For more information, please contact: Charisse Zeifert on 082 427 2788

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Disregarding all standards of basic decency, the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) today chose to send an ugly message to the Jewish community of South Africa. This morning, as a protest against Woolworths for stocking Israeli products, COSAS members in Cape Town deposited a pig’s head in the kosher meat section of a Woolworths food store. A press statement issued by COSAS Western Cape chairperson Siphakamise Ngxowa, inter alia declared that Cosas “will not allow people who will not eat pork to pretend that they are eating clean meat, when it is sold by hands dripping with the blood of Palestinian children”.

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) is appalled by this hate-filled demonstration. We have seen “Shoot the Jew” being chanted at public gatherings and explicit threats made to carry out revenge attacks against the Jewish community for events taking place in Israel and Palestine. Now we have been presented with yet another case of anti-Israel activism crossing over into blatant antisemitism.

It is common knowledge that pork is strictly forbidden according to Jewish dietary laws. This is why depositing pigs’ heads at places associated with Jews and their religion has long been a tactic of those wanting to offend and intimidate the Jewish community. In the past, however, such acts were carried out anonymously. By contrast, Cosas has not only done so in full public view, but has gone about widely publicizing this gross act of bigotry. It is further noteworthy that BDS-SA, which is heading up the campaign to boycott Woolworths, not only failed to condemn the incident but have assisted Cosas in publicizing what it had done.

The SAJBD regards this incident as a hate crime and is investigating its options regarding taking the matter further.

Cosas’ actions have nothing to do with human rights activism. They are acts of racial and religious hatred aimed at causing maximum offense to Jewish people. They are also completely at odds with South Africa’s proud tradition of tolerance and decency and have crossed the moral divide.

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