Earlier this week I attended the World Jewish Congress’s National Community Directors Forum.  My counterparts from 45 countries met in Prague to share our experiences and work together to find solutions to the challenges we all face.

I joined executive directors from countries such as Spain, Turkey, Georgia, Costa Rica, Germany, Ukraine, Ireland, Hungary, the US, France,  Greece, Finland, Norway, Moldova, The Netherlands, Brazil, the UK, Peru, Canada, the UK, Australia to mention but a few of the remarkable individuals that came around the table to address the real issues facing Global Jewry today.

We discussed the escalating levels of antisemitism internationally, focusing on ways that we can address this disturbing trend.  Frightening to note the growing neo-Nazi incidents throughout Europe, as well as the manner in which the anti-Israel activists are using this cause as a platform to launch anti- Jewish hatred.  I was asked to present a paper addressing our specific challenges in this area.

Although we in South Africa do not experience the same level of threat against religious practices in our own country, challenges to practices such as Brit Milah and Schitah are becoming serious problems in other countries, impacting on their way of Jewish life.

An issue that does affect us in South Africa alongside communities internationally is the growing phenomenon of cyber hate.  Antisemitic hatred and threats through the `anti-social media’ is certainly something plaguing Jewish communities everywhere and it was great to have an opportunity to engage on this important topic.

It was also special that South Africa’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic, HE Franki Verwey joined us for dinner during the conference.

I was asked to present a tribute to former President of the SAJBD and Co-Chairman of the WJC Policy Council Mervyn Smith , who had passed away the previous day. Mervyn had not only made a significant contribution to SA Jewry, but had also played an important role in the international platform.

The World Jewish Congress has developed some outstanding programmes and departments to support our work as communal leaders around the world and it was a wonderful opportunity to work with this important global body.  I look forward to ongoing interaction with this important forum.





Aldo Donzis (Argentina), Richard Prasquier (France) and Wendy Kahn (SA) on a panel discussing “Challenges to World Jewry Today” at the ADL Conference in Washington DC


By Jeff Katz

2 September 2012

Esteemed Rabbonim, the Hon. Dr Denis MacShane, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the Gauteng Council of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, I have pleasure in welcoming you to today’s biennial conference of the SAJBD Gauteng Council.

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Dr Denis MacShane MP addresses the SAJBD’s 2012 Gauteng Conference on New Antisemitism

Rising levels of global antisemitism and the South African government’s increasingly hostile attitude towards both Israel and its local supporters were the main themes of the SAJBD Gauteng Council conference, held at Investec on Sunday morning, 2 September 2012.   [read more]


Remarks by the Rt Hon Dr Denis MacShane MP on New Antisemitism, 1 September 2012

1 September 2012

  Remarks by the Rt Hon Dr Denis MacShane MP on New Antisemitism at the Gauteng Conference  of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, Johannesburg, 1 September 2012  

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Gauteng Conference 2012

25 June 2012

The current tensions in Israeli-South African relations affect the South African Jewish community. We have included a session at the SA Jewish Board of Deputies Gauteng Conference on Sunday 2 September 2012 to address these issues. Entitled “Choices & Challenges: What Next For SA Jewry?”, hear leaders like Zev Krengel (SAJBD), Avrom Krengel (SAZF), Chief […]

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