The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) notes that in its review of the disciplinary procedures against Dlamini, the Wits University Legal Office expressed the view that Mr Dlamini’s ‘Hitler’ comments, while ‘abhorrent’, nevertheless “did not breach the exceptions to the Constitution regarding freedom of speech”. Their decision, is relevant only in respect of the internal rules and procedures of Wits University, and has no judicial relevance outside the confines of the University.
The SAJBD remains convinced that Mr Dlamini’s comments are not protected by the Constitution and will continue to pursue the cases of hate speech that have been laid both with the South African police and with the SA Human Rights Commission.
For more comment contact SAJBD : Mary Kluk or Jeff Katz
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
On Saturday afternoon, an unidentified gunman went on a murderous shooting rampage in the Jewish Museum in Brussels, killing four people. There can be little doubt that the museum was targeted specifically because it was a Jewish institution, and that the attack was an antisemitically motivated hate crime. The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) has conveyed its outrage over this cold-blooded act of terror, as well as its deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to the Belgian Jewish leadership. It further calls on the Belgian authorities to do their utmost to bring the perpetrator to justice, as well as to take whatever measures that are necessary to combat hate crime, whether based on race, religion or any other such grounds.
The SAJBD is likewise deeply troubled about the near-simultaneous attack that took place on two Jewish worshippers outside a synagogue in Paris on Saturday night. One of the victims was severely injured after being struck in the eye with brass knuckles. As with the Brussels atrocity, this appears to have been a completely unprovoked attack against those singled out solely because they were Jews.
As pointed out by European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor, “attacks on Jewish targets in Europe do not exist in a vacuum, but are part and parcel of an overall climate of hate and incitement against Jewish communities”. The SAJBD shares this concern over the steadily rising levels of antisemitic hatred in Europe, which today increasingly threatens to take a violent, and even lethal form.
For more information please contact Mary Kluk on 083 7758618
South African Jewish Board of Deputies
011 645 2547 (direct) or 082 427-2788 (mobile)
Five months ago, under the heading ‘Make Us Count’, the Board embarked on a serious of initiatives aimed at encouraging the Jewish community to become involved and in general get into the spirit of the upcoming national elections. It began with a drive to encourage first-time voters, as well as those living overseas, to ensure that they were registered. We went on to host a number of well-attended functions, including multi-party pre-election debates in Johannesburg and Durban, for community members to hear from and engage with senior representatives of some of the major parties contesting the election. The Make Us Count campaign culminated in the Board’s putting together a multi-faith, trans-national election observer team, with accreditation from the Independent Electoral Commission, to assist in monitoring the voting process and ensuring that everything was fair and above board. This was an inspiring success, and attracted much favourable coverage for the Board and for the Jewish community in general in both the local and overseas media. Around a hundred volunteers from across the religious and ethnic spectrum took part, covering over 250 voting stations in five cities.
All participants I have since been in contact with have expressed the tremendous sense of pride and satisfaction they experienced in being able to contribute in this way. We are very proud that the SAJBD facilitated this very special nation-building exercise, and I congratulate in particular Alana Baranov for heading it up so capably. Watching South African democracy at work was again an inspiring experience. One could not help but be struck by the warm spirit of camaraderie and sense of ownership in the wonderful democracy that we all enjoy. It was a spirit that transcended political affiliation, and made the elections – just like those memorable first elections twenty years ago – a truly unifying experience.
Currently, I am attending the American Jewish Congress (AJC) conference in Washington DC, along with six other South African representatives from the SAJBD. Representatives of some seventy countries are taking part in this important event on the international Jewish calendar. As always, it is an exhilarating experience to join with world Jewry in debating issues of concern to all of us. Over the years, we have established a much-valued partnership with the AJC, who have consistently supported us in times of both challenge and celebration. I look forward to reporting back more fully on the conference after my return.
One of the very complex matters our National office has been dealing with this year has been resolving problems of exams set on Shabbat and Shavuot. Fortunately, it now looks very much like acceptable alternative arrangements will be in place at all the academic institutions concerned, with students, as in years gone by, being able to write their papers immediately after Shabbat/Yom Tov at Beyachad. I will go into further detail regarding these arrangements in a future column, but I can say at this stage that henceforth, rather than having to renegotiate a solution on a year by year basis, we hopefully now have in place an ongoing arrangement that all religiously observant Jewish students will be able to avail themselves of when clashes occur.
• Listen to Charisse Zeifert on Jewish Board Talk, 101.9 ChaiFM every Friday 12:00-13:00.