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« From Ancient Tradition to Modern Israel | Main | SA Betrays Gay People »

August 23, 2007


The Blacklisted Dictator

Paula Slier's SAJR opinion piece has effectively cut The SAJBD into shreds.
It is, unfortunately (or fortunately?) difficult to see how The SAJBD can
mend, having ignominiously withdrawn the Icasa complaint regarding The
SABC's anti-semitic treatment of Paula Slier.

The SAJBD's shabby / appalling treatment of Paula is, in actual fact,
shabby / appalling treatment of us all. As a result, we should not just be
outraged about the way that Paula has been treated. We should be outraged
about the way that we have been treated.

Wendy Kahn's SAJR letter, stating that "we need to let go of our
mindset and commit ourselves to a process of engagement with those around
us" misses the point. The issue at stake is bigger than the SABC's
reporting of the Israeli / Palestinian conflict. It is actually about
the protection of the democratic and constitutional rights of all of
South Africa's citizens. And for those who think that such rights are
not worth fighting for, let me remind you that, without them, the road
to Harare is unblocked.

Wendy Kahn has erroneously explained The SAJBD"s dilemma as being between
"confrontation" and "constructive dialogue". The real dilemma was,
however, was whether The SAJBD should be standing up for democratic and
constitutional rights in post apartheid South Africa. Of course, when
put into this context, any rational citizen would realize that there was
no dilemma at all.

Wendy Kahn has stated on the "It's Almost Supernatural" blog that, in
return for the SAJBD's withdrawal of The Icasa complaint, written
were given by The SABC:

"In making our decision, we had to make a judgment call as to what would
best serve the interests of the constituency we represent. It was decided
to provisionally meet with Dr Zikalala to see whether the core dispute we
had with him could be resolved without the matter going to a formal ICASA
hearing. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that we did not decide to
withdraw our complaint on the basis of a single "feel-good" meeting and
a few verbal reassurances. We asked for, and received, a number of
concrete undertakings by the SABC to work with us in addressing the
problem of anti-Israel bias within the organisation. " (Wendy Kahn)

So The SAJBD have returned from their trip to Dr Snuki Zikalala with
peace in our time" ?...Ich don't think so!

Joel Pollak

Ve'nomar... amen.


I saw Antony's letter yesterday in the J-Report (available online Joel, so you too can keep up with the political vicissitudes of the home and birthplace that kept us before moving ... home)

Wendy too has another response in the 24 Aug edition. Like the Chief Rabbi's principled stance at the Yom Hashoa event, the "not in my name saga" and a couple other prize incidents, this too appears to be on the way to degenerating into a mud-slinging, "but I'm so righteous" parley. People don't seem to take criticism too well, and certainly have lost the graciousness to concede, if not in point, then at least on the last word.


Well said Mike.

Good point Hillel.

A less strident approach with a hint of an apology or at least a promise of a more consultory approach would have gone a long way to softening tensions.

I just feel that its unfortunate the the professional leadership instead of the lay leadership (who are the real decision makers) are getting the raw end of the stick.

I think many letters are too unfair on Wendy. One reader asked how she got elected. She didnt get 'elected' she got hired. The Lay leadership needed to hire a new national director and after a process of interviews they selected their candidate. And her history shows that she definitely has the credentials for the job. (I think she started He'atid.)

The lay leadership makes decisions and the professional leadership implements.


Spot on Steve.

Wendy is in the unfortunate position of getting the blame, (as the professional face and mouthpiece) but not the credit, which others (the "lay" leadership") will covetously protect.

The Blacklisted Dictator

Are you suggesting that dissidents now join "Not in Our Name"?? Please
set the record straight before Ronno Einstein uses it to subvert
Supernatural's position.

No certainly not Anthony. I have not been reborn as a Kasrils apparatchik, dont worry. I used the small lettered not in my name. I was not referring to Kasril’s organization. But from whatever side of the political spectrum, Jews will start to disassociate themselves from the Board as Kasrils has if they dont change their behavior.


The last commment was me

The Blacklisted Dictator

The SAJBD has not resolved the underlying problems that emerged when
Yehudah Kay had to resign, at the bequest of Tony Leon, from his
position as SAJBD National Director.

Ironic, moreover to consider that Tony Leon addressed the SAJBD's
conference, once again making the same point (subtly?) that the
SAJBD's pro-ANC political strategy is flawed.

It is no coincidence that Wendy Kahn has quickly found herself is in
a similar position to her predecessor, facing the flack, but this time
re Paula Slier, over the board's willingness to cut a deal with Snuki
Zikalala of The ANC.

Whilst The Board sought to emphasize that two government ministers had
accepted invitations to address the conference, the grim reality
emerged that the govt is doing little, or nothing, to allay our fears
re crime and Middle East foreign policy.

I conclude that the Board hasn't learnt the lesson that led to
Yehudah Kay's sacking, and it seems inevitable, that the strategy that
it is following, will once again ( if it has not already), end in

If evidence is needed to prove this thesis , let me refer to the
following statements from Wendy Kahn:

(1) "As a courtesy to Ms Slier, The SAJBD should have communicated
the details of its meeting with The SABC to her, given that the matter
under discussion involved her personally."

(2) "At our meeting with The SABC, we stated categorically the The
Board did not want to address the specific questions of Paula Slier's

(3) "It was decided to provisionally meet with Dr Zikalala to see whether the core dispute we had with him could be resolved without the matter going to a formal ICASA hearing."

Spot the contradictions?

The SAJBD, moreover, cannot have it both ways. If the blacklisting of
Paula Slier was not addressed at The SABC meeting surely the
withdrawal of the Icasa complaint should not have been used to secure
written undertakings ?

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