Not for the first time, local anti-Israel activists have been caught in a lie.

Over the past week, organisations like BDS SA and the Media Review Network and sectors of the media have been loudly proclaiming that SAPS has agreed to enforce arrest notices issued by Turkey against four Israeli military commanders should they enter South Africa. They have also claimed that they have documentary evidence that conclusively proves this.

Both of these claims have since been shown to be outright falsehoods. SAPS have made no such undertaking. All they have done is confirm that they have received a formal request from Turkey asking that the four Israeli Defence Force commanders be arrested if they enter South Africa.

In terms of how international police cooperation works, South Africa will in any case only enforce an arrest warrant for crimes committed outside its borders once Interpol (the International Criminal Police Organization) issues a ‘Red Notice’ in that regard. It is completely contrary to South African policy to undertake to enforce an arrest warrant issued by another country in the absence of such a Red Notice.

As for the ‘written proof’ that SAPS has supposedly provided showing that it intends to enforce the Turkish arrest notices, it can now safely be concluded that it does not exist. This became quite clear at a press conference convened on Monday by the Media Review Network and Palestine Solidarity Alliance. It had been promised that this documentation would be made public at this event, but nothing whatever was produced in the end.

Yet again, therefore, local anti-Israel extremists have been shown to have deliberately misrepresented the facts in order to push their obsessive agenda against the Jewish State. They have done so in this case to fool the public into thinking that South Africa endorses attempts to hijack and manipulate international law as a political weapon against the State of Israel. This shows not only a flagrant lack of integrity on their part, but a contemptuous disregard for the South African public as a whole.


Statement issued by the SA Jewish Board of Deputies and SA Zionist Federation


by SAJBD on 26 November 2015

in General

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies arranged a series of high level meetings for Ambassador Lauder while he was in South Africa for the conference.  Issues of importance to South African and global Jewry were discussed in addition to discussions of importance to all South Africans.

Throughout the day of the 22nd of November meetings were held with President Zuma, ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe and International Relations Committee Chairperson Edna Molewa, African Union Commission Chairperson Dr Dlamini Zuma, Mr Tokyo Sexwale and Minister Jeff Radebe.














President Jacob Zuma meeting with WJC President Ronald Lauder













SAJBD leadership meet with Former President Kgalema Motlanthe prior to the SAJBD conference.


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Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma meets with Robert Lauder and Robert Singer (World Jewish Congress), Ann Harris (Chairman African Jewish Congress) and Zev Krengel from the SAJBD.


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Ronald Lauder and SAJBD leadership meet with ANC’s Secretary General Gwede Mantashe.

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SAJBD meeting with ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe, International Relations Committee Chairperson Minister Edna Molewa and Billy Masetlha.


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Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe meeting with Ronald Lauder and SAJBD Chairman Jeff Katz and Deputy Chairman Doron Joffe.



The number one question that those present at Sunday’s SAJBD national conference will have wanted President Zuma to answer would doubtless have been why his party not only invited Hamas to South Africa, but bestowed upon it the legitimacy of a bona fide liberation movement little different from the ANC itself. Predictably, there was no hint in the president’s address that his government may have rethought its position, nor that a reciprocal invitation to an Israeli delegation was being envisaged. Zuma nevertheless departed briefly from his prepared script to concede that the manner in which Hamas had been received and the lack of consultation with the Jewish leadership in that regard had caused concern in the Jewish community and that this had been ‘noted’.  This was evidently in response to what was conveyed to him by the SAJBD leadership a private meeting just prior to the event.

Zuma also confirmed that the country would continue to interact with both sides with a view to helping to get the peace process underway again.

“We believe that as SA we can play a role and we are in processes of trying to make stronger interaction on both sides and I hope we will work together as we did before with many from the Jewish community” he said. He stressed that in the view of his government, its support for a free Palestine was “in no way against the existence of the State of Israel and the safety of the Israeli nation”, but that on the contrary its establishment would “lay a solid foundation for lasting peace in the Middle East”. There was nevertheless a palpable rumble of dissent from the audience when Zuma said that East Jerusalem should become the capital of a future Palestinian state.

As has become standard in addresses by government spokespeople at SAJBD events, Zuma paid fulsome tribute to the many Jews who had taken part in the anti-apartheid struggle and urged the Jewish community to bring its skills and resources to bear in helping to address the pressing social and economic challenges that South Africa faced.

The garish décor of Gold Reef City’s Lyric Theatre, combined with the gaudy winking of the slot machines in the casino outside, may have had something to do with it, but the mood at the SAJBD conference was unusually uninhibited. Spontaneous outbursts of clapping and cheering erupted throughout the event, with guest speakers Ronald Lauder and Bernard-Henri Levy receiving standing ovations and even President Zuma eventually receiving a generous round of applause.

In her introductory address, outgoing SAJBD Chairman Mary Kluk pledged the Board’s commitment to helping ensure that South Africa remained a non-racial, multicultural democracy, where all minorities felt safe and accepted. She attributed the country’s relatively low rate of antisemitism to “the strong culture of antiracism” that underpinned it, as well as to “the fundamental decency, generosity and spirit of tolerance that characterises the South African people”. That being said, she noted that while antisemitism levels in South Africa remained relatively low, they were clearly on the rise.

Both Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, and celebrity French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy invoked South Africa’s success in achieving a negotiated, peaceful transition to multiracial democracy as a model for the international community at a time no-one could feel safe from the continued spread of radical Islam. South Africa, Lauder said, was “a beacon of hope in a very troubled world”. It represented one of the few cases where then warring parties had peacefully resolved their differences, and it had happened in the end because South Africans themselves had decided, “enough hatred, enough division, enough conflict”. By contrast, Hamas had “absolutely no intention of living alongside a Jewish state”, and the Jewish experience showed only too clearly that when murderous dictators said they wanted to kill you, they meant what they said. South Africa could play a role in advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects by engaging with all the parties and explaining why violence had to be rejected.

Levy recalled how the fight against apartheid had been one of the great causes of his generation and how proud he had been when apartheid was overthrown, not least because so many Jews had been at the frontline of the struggle to defeat it. By contrast, today’s BDS movement only pretended to be conducted in the name of peace, democracy and human rights when in reality it was seeking Israel’s destruction through political means. Addressing Zuma directly, Levy asked how BDS activists dared to describe Israel, the most successful multi-ethnic society that he knew and where Arabs, Africans, Europeans, Kurds, Turks and so many other races and ethnicities co-existed in peace and equality, as the “new apartheid”. Today, he said, no-one was safe from the new terror of fascist Jihadism, and BDS were the useful idiots of this new fascist way.

At the SAJBD’s National Executive Committee meeting held in the morning prior to the conference, the following senior office-bearers were elected: National Chairman – Jeff Katz;  National Vice-chairmen (respectively representing Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal) – Doron Joffe, Eric Marx and Ronnie Herr; National Treasurer – Raymond Goss; Chairman Country Communities – Marlene Bethlehem. Immediate past chairman Mary Kluk assumes the position of National President, while Zev Krengel remains on the executive committee in the capacity of National Vice-President.




Veteran trade unionist Leon Levy was involved in some of the most significant initiatives of the Congress Movement during the 1950s, a crucial decade that in retrospect laid the building blocks for a future democratic, non-racial society. As President of the SA Congress of Trade Unions, a position he held for nine years, he helped to organise the famous Congress of the People, and on behalf of the independent trade unions, was one of the six original signatories to the Freedom Charter that was formerly adopted at that gathering. For this, he was one of thirty activists who was tried, and eventually acquitted, on charges of treason. He was the first person to be detained under the 90-day detention law and, like many other Struggle activists, was finally forced by state harassment to go into exile in the UK. On his return in the 1990s, he resumed his work in the trade union movement, inter alia playing a key role in COSATU’s submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

At its national conference on Sunday, the SAJBD honored Levy by presenting him with the Rabbi Cyril and Ann Harris Human Rights Award. The award, inaugurated in 1999, is presented at each biennial Board conference to Jewish community members who have made a particularly noteworthy contribution to the advancement of human rights and social justice in South Africa. The award was recently renamed in honor of the late Chief Rabbi Cyril Harris, whose tenth yahrtzeit was in September this year, and his wife, Ann, both of whom were prominently engaged in various aspects of South Africa’s transition to democracy from their arrival in the country in 1987 onwards.

On coming up to receive the award, Levy was warmly embraced by President Zuma, whom he had known during the years when both were in exile in London. The award itself was presented by Ann Harris, who praised Levy for having been one of only a small minority of whites who refused to accept the unjust, racially discriminatory system that denied the majority of the population the most basic human rights.

“The name of Leon Levy has an honoured place in the history of the liberation struggle. Tonight, the Jewish community recognises, and lauds you for the part you played in bringing freedom to our beloved country” she said.

Prior to this, legendary philanthropist, business achiever and Jewish communal leader Bertie Lubner and the professional staff of the Community Security Organisation were presented with the Eric Samson Mendel Kaplan Communal Service Award by Eric Samson and Jill Kaplan respectively. CSO National Director Jevon Greenblatt accepted the award on behalf of his organisation.

Leon Levy receives his award













Dr Bernard-Henri Levy








20 November 2015

The Star publishes article: BDS Leads Campaign of False Claims. Click here to read the full article.  

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The Mercury reports on the SAJBD’s case against Snowy Smith in Durban.

16 November 2015

The Mercury  reports on the South African Jewish Board of Deputies against Snowy Smith in Durban. View the full article here. 

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David Saks writes for the Mail & Guardian: “ANC Naive to Trust Hamas’s Advances”

16 November 2015

David Saks from the South African Jewish Board of Deupities writes for the Mail & Guardian. View the article here.

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The SAJBD condemns the heinous attack on innocent civilians and stands with the people of France at this tragic time

14 November 2015
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SAJBD hate speech case against Snowy Smith gets underway  

12 November 2015

On Wednesday, a long-anticipated hate speech case laid by the SAJBD against right-wing conspiracy theorist Snowy Smith at last got underway in Durban’s Equality Court. The case was lodged by the Board in April 2013 following the alleged mass posting by Smith of dozens of antisemitic emails over the previous three years, including to Jewish […]

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SAJBD National Director Wendy Kahn explains in an opinion piece in the Star Newspaper today why the Hamas visit was so troubling.

2 November 2015

So why all the fuss? What is the problem with rolling out the red carpet to welcome Hamas to South Africa? There seems to have been a real confusion as to why Jewish South Africans specifically, but also many other citizens were outraged by not only the visit but the royal treatment that Hamas leader […]

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