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« Lauren Booth: Gaza is a concentration camp! | Main | Tony Leon on the end of Mbekism »

September 21, 2008



Mike, question.

You say its time to to "stand up for itself", how do you feel this will affect the countries attitudes towards Jews and why?Secondly, how does the community "stand up".

I have my opinion but its not what you may think


What exactly might the questions in the survey have been? Would all those surveyed have been honest about vicious feelings towards minority groups? If not, might the actual attitudes be even worse? And this in a country which prides itself on multiculturalism, racial tolerance, etc?


There are some positive results from this survey too. But what's Spain's problem?


Bret,I was trying to say that we must make it clear that Antisemitism and racism are not acceptable period. We need to engage in a conversation with South Africa. But to begin we first have to admit there is a problem. That is step 1. I dont think we are there yet. So standing up is just saying to the media, government, churches etc hey look at this report we very upset.

If i was in charge of say the SAJBD, I would be extremely concerned. I would commission a study on trying to find out what the demographic make up of these people that hate us is. Are they young, old , black, white, rich, poor etc. what about Jews do they dislike? is it our horns? our money? our state? our intelligence Minister? What?

But they will not. They will just ignore or deny it I promise.


Haha...I'm sure it's our intelligence minister! At least we know he won't be in office for much longer so maybe we will become more popular?


Although Ronno Einstein ( SA Minister of Intelligence) is on the way out,
COSATU is on the way in, with a policy to boycott Israel.

Jews who supprt Israel will be dubbed as apartheid supporters. In this respect, it is likely that antisemitism will only increase.

This blog should start taking a closer look at Cosatu's policy towards Israel as, in the post Mbeki era, it is more likely to gain Govt support. There can be no doubt that the goal of South African anti-zionists is as folllows..
(1) Label Israel as an apartheid state.
(2) Impose sanctions on Israel with the intention that the rest of the world follows suit.


The Cosatu policies are well known. There is no difference between their views on Israel and those of the MRN. SA apartheid was a sunday picnic compared to Israeli apartheid remember?

- Cosatu calls for sanctions against Israel

- Cosatu opposes Olmert visit

- Cosatu: SA apartheid a sunday picnic



Agreed 100%.



Thanks for the links.

Do you think that a Zuma/Cosatu/SACP will introduce sanctions against

Might it not be inevitable?

The pil

I think one should not jump to conclusions when evaluating the results of the survey. With these types of studies it is very difficult to know the exact reasons or the underlying causes of anti-semitism. For instance high unfavourbility may be as a result of the fact that jews are seen to be wealthy etc. What needs to be done is for the SABJD to commision a study to find the reasons for the anti-semitism and than to adress it.



To a certain degree you are correct, but regardless of the reason unfavourability is unfavourability. Where you do have a point is that someone who doesn't like you because you are rich is less likely to blow up your shul than someone who doesn't like you becuase he thinks your are the source of evil in the world. That said, the violence we see in Europe today, and particularly that seen in 1930's Germany results and resulted from propaganda that centered around many of these more "civil" forms of racism and gradually worsened from there.

I agree a study needs to be commissioned, I disagree that we need to "jump to conclusions" becuase the only way to deal with the worst is to plan for it in advance

the pil

Brett, you are correct this study is very worrying and it would be foolish to ignore the results. However I still feel that for the majority of South Africans anti-Semitism is not endemic as it is in other parts of the world, such as Europe. Thus it is crucial that the underlying reasons for the anti-Semitism are evaluated and than they can be addressed. Or perhaps it will not be possible to address the main causes.

Do you feel that in the post-apartheid South Africa, Jews are more confidant to be seen and to assert there rights, and this may be a cause for some of the resentment. For example a very prominent member of the business community, Adrian Gore, is also a very prominent member of the jewish community.


I do not find this statistic surprising at all.

If you take into account that 80 percent of South Africans are black and South African Jews are perceived as being 100% white, most of your answers lie there. In my experience the average black man does not know what a Jew is and anything about Israel.

It would also be very likley to say that the Jews are seen negatively by a very large percent of the 600,000 or so Muslims in the country. Even though the statistical impact of this is negligible.


I must say that I was a little surprised by this survey compared even with other surveys on Israel that we have seen on IAS. I think it would be difficult to make a comment without knowing how they did it. I agree with the pill, my feeling is that dislike of Jews in South Africa amoungst the black community is more about ignorance than about the kind of centuries old ingrainded attitudes like it is in Europe.


Bigben, this is a serious survey from a non-partisan and international highly respected organisation.Until we the jewish community commission anther more detailed study to find out who these people are that dislike us and why, I dont think we can make statements like 'dislike of Jews in South Africa amoungst the black community is more about ignorance than about the kind of centuries old ingrainded attitudes like it is in Europe'.

If you read the study in detail you will see that South Africa has one of the most religious societies in the world. There is a very good chance that they have been receiving classical European Christian anti-Semitism since the first missionaries arrived.


I write this letter to the Jewish Report
I doubt they will publish it because they hardly ever do publish my letters, but here it is anyway.

I am referring to the lead article in the SAJR entitled "Low
Anti-Semitism" in SA.
The authors of the report make several gross errors with serious
Firstly they make the error that anti-Semitism only comes from the White
right, when in fact the most malignant source today are Islamo-Fascists
and their rabid leftist cheerleaders.

Second it ignores the New Anti-Semitism which focuses it's hate on the
Jewish State, her people and her friends.
Anti-Semitism is hostility to Jews anywhere.
Hence the anti-Zionist cannot claim he is not an anti-Semite because he
"only" hates Jews in Israel any more than someone can make the claim that
they are not a racist because they only hate Blacks who live in South
When Sunday Times editor Mondli Makhanya writes that the people of Israel
are "evil, evil, evil" he is referring to our Jewish brothers and sisters
in Israel.
When Ronnie Kasrils thunders that "Israelis are Nazis". He is referring to
our Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel.
When left wing ideologue Richard Calland writes, as he did in the Mail&
Guardian a few years ago, that he quietly celebrates Israeli deaths, he is
referring to our brothers and sisters in Israel.

The enemies of Israel want the physical elimination of the Jewish people
from the Land of Israel. This constitutes anti-Semitism.
The point is that they want a Judenreihn "Palestine" the same way that
Hitler wanted a Judenreihn Europe.
The anti-Zionists claim that they are not anti-Semites but that think the
only country on the earth that must be annihilated is Israel.
The anti-Zionists claim that they are not anti-Semites but that the only
children on earth whose being blown up is okay if it serves a good cause
are Jewish children.
The anti-Zionists believe that the only conflict that must be resolved by
total dismemberment of one of the parties is the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Dismembering Israel into a single Arab dominated state means a second

It means methodical massacre of millions of Jews , of hundreds of
thousands of Jewish children.

Anyone who pushes for this '1 state solution' is actually pushing for a
second holocaust.

Denying a nation's right to exist is genocidal racism, akin to Nazism,
hence in my opinion , anti-Zionism is Nazism.

Judea Pearl a professor of computer science at UCLA and president of the
Daniel Pearl Foundation correctly reminds us that
"As a form of racism, anti-Zionism is worse than anti-Semitism. It targets
the most vulnerable part of the Jewish people, namely, the people of
Israel, who rely on the sovereignty of their state for physical safety,
national identity and personal dignity. To put it more bluntly,
anti-Zionism condemns 5 million human beings, mostly refugees or children
of refugees, to eternal statelessness, traumatized by historical images of
persecution and genocide".
Only the hard-hearted, hate-filled and cowardly will deny Israel the right
to exist and defend herself
Anti-Zionism is racism , as it involves hatred of an entire people i.e the
Jews of Israel. I believe anti-Zionism ,is in fact , far more contemptible
that traditional anti-Semitism.
The new anti-Semitism is cloaked in the language of political correctness
and academic language, but the end goal is the same, genocide of Jews. On
university campuses, in the media, in the halls of the United Nations, and
in Third World governments (like the government of SA) , prejudice runs
strong. The leaders of today's Nuremberg rallies are supposedly
'enlightened' and 'progressive' Left-wing academics, as Israel is
pilloried, without the slightest compassion for the men, women and
children of that tiny country. On the contrary, it is condemned by a
coterie of malignant narcissists for destruction.

It is a dangerous mistake to leave anti-Israel hatred out of the equation
when monitoring anti-Semitism in South Africa or any other country.

Gary Selikow


anti-Semitism is inherent to both Christianity and Islam, the Left hate the Jews (as anti-Zionism) because they see Capitalism as a Jewish plot, the Jew as the greedy rapacious banker. This is well-known by anybody who even bothers to take a cursory superficial glance at Leftwing anti-semitism, guilt at the destruction and persecution of Jews by Christians for centuries also comes into it - what needs to be "studied" here??

not surprised at Spain, a pathologically anti-Semitic country.


Interestingly Portugal has been billed as the least anti-semitic cuntry in Europe.

Castor Troye

One has to see this in context. South Africa, unlike some other nations has a history of ethnic suspicion and ignorance. Also, unlike other nations, South Africa does not have a deep historical Jewish presence, and this has to be seen in a different light from Europe.

Mike, the hatred of Jews in Europe is based on theology, mixed with ideologies that have spanned throughout medieval Europe, to the nationalist states of the modern Era, to the socialist left of more recent times etc.

In South Africa, the majority of the country, i.e. black South Africans seldomly come across Jews and their "dislike" of Jews may be a consquence of ignorance. Similarly, a Jew's ignorance of a Hottentot, or a Zulu's ignorance of a Cape Malay for example may lead to similar prejudices or stereotypes.

To many black South Africans, the term "ama Jewish" is township slang for dressing well and that is how far Jewish influence extends.

I think this ignorance on all sides leads to three important points:

1. Jews in South Africa cannot be classified in the same category of threat as Jews in France. No-one will assault you for wearing a Kippah here. There is no deep seated entrenched culture of hatred of Jews only (maybe of whites as a group) like there may be in countries like Iraq and France. We do not have to be overly concerned in this regard.

2. That said, there is a subculture in South Africa of groups that carry a dislike of Jews from Europe and Arab countries, who can influence mainstream culture against Jewish causes. The PSC's hold on Cosatu is a prime example of this. This is the area of concern

3. Jews have not broken this ignorance barrier and a black man is more than likely to come across a mosque or a halaal restaurant than a Shul or Kosher store. That is an economic and demographic reality.

It may be the Jews' partial fault for not breaking these barriers of ignorance but that said, the "dislike" of Jews in mainstream South African culture is based on ignorance rather than a proper disliking. I think we have to make that crucial distinction between the two.



I agree with what you say. From our experience of living our lives in SA we don’t feel the type of anti-Semitism we imagine in England or France. But how then do you account for these figures.

I will do a long post on it but I don’t believe it’s the PSC and Israel that are at the heart of this figure. But of course its all conjecture. We have no real detailed facts. What percentage of South Africa do u think Jews actually interact with as Jews? I would imagine a fraction. So you right ignorance could be an issue. But again what about us don’t they like.

From the risk of sounding like a broken record. Until someone (I think it should be the Board) takes this seriously and conducts proper impartial research we are really in the dark.


I have lived in both the UK and SA. I have personally not experienced any "traditional" antisemitism in either.
However, anti-zionism is certainly much more mainstream in SA than it is in The UK. I would,therefore, imagine that the apartheid/Israel analogy is partially responsible for the antisemitism in South Africa.
Of course, The SAJBD has not been particularly effective in confronting this analogy. I will leave others to draw their own conclusions with regard to this failure.
Btw has anyone read the SAJBD publication confronting the apartheid/zionist analogy? Has it been produced yet?


Just to add to the above. I would imagine that antisemitism in South Africa will be on the rise when the Zuma/ Cosatu/ SACP alliance "win' the next election.
For Jews in the diaspora, South Africa will become, if it is not already, the most antisemitic country in the world.
The SAJBD is living in cloud cuckoo land if it cannot see what is awaiting us on the antisemitic horizon.



You really should include the attached news item on the Media Review Network website. It would also be sensible to get Ronno Ex-Einstein (Ex Minister of Intelligence) to write an opinion piece. He has a gift for journalism and The MRN would be foolish to overlook his talent especially if he no longer has a regular column on The Mail and Guardian.

By the way, if Mr Ex-Einstein is not given a platform at The MRN, I will have no option but to take the matter up on his behalf with Jane Duncan(Freedom of Expression Institute). Just because Mr Ex-Einstein is no longer part of the government does not mean that he should be silenced. That would be unconstitutional and, in the circumstances, I would also refer the case to Jody Kollapen at The SAHRC. Is there a chance that Prof Karthy Govender could adjudicate?

TEHRAN (AFP) — Iranians chanted “Death to Israel” on Friday as Islamist students unveiled a book mocking the Holocaust in an Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day annual parade to show solidarity with the Palestinians.

The book “Holocaust,” published by members of Iran’s Islamist Basij militia, features dozens of cartoons and sarcastic commentary. Education Minister Alireza Ali-Ahmadi attended the official launch of the book in Tehran’s Palestine Square.

The cover shows a Jew with a crooked nose and dressed in traditional garb drawing outlines of dead bodies on the ground.

Inside, bearded Jews are shown leaving and re-entering a gas chamber with a counter that reads the number 5,999,999.

Another illustration depicts Jewish prisoners entering a furnace in a Nazi extermination camp and leaving from the other side as gun-wielding “terrorists.”

Yet another shows a patient draped in an Israeli flag and on life support breathing Zyklon-B, the poisonous gas used in the extermination chambers.


Racism in the name of religion

 The Jerusalem Post   Sep 23, 2008 19:53 | Updated Sep 24, 2008 10:08
There are moments when I find myself truly ashamed to be part of Israeli society. I had a moment like that recently as I stood outside the Supreme Court with women from Ahoti, a Sephardi feminist organization, waiting for a ruling on the religious girls' school in Emanuel where racism is so entrenched that parents will do all it takes to keep antiquated Jim Crow-like separations in place.
What is happening in the Beit Ya'acov school is nothing less than the formalization of racism. Here the school implements a policy in which Sephardi girls are not allowed to be in a class with Ashkenazi or hassidic girls, and they have different teachers, different classes and even different recess times and a fence between their yards just to ensure that the two groups do not mingle during the breaks.
It's not just Emanuel, but in other religious girls' schools around the country, such as Elad, where parents protested to ensure that a Sephardi girl would not be allowed in to the class. Protested! There have been reports from around the country of girls being rejected or ejected from schools because of the color of their skin or their last name. And even though the High Court ruled last week that the apartheid has to end, the school and parents are refusing to comply, thus rejecting civil as well as moral obligations. This is not the post-Civil War South, but Israel of 2008, where I would have expected more people to be outraged by this blatant racism.
"WHAT'S HAPPENING in the Beit Ya'acov is outrageous," said Yael Ben-Yefet, one of the leaders of Ahoti. "The girls get the message that they are deformed, that they are less good, that there is something inherently wrong with them. This happens everywhere in Israel, but it is the most prominent in this school."
This story comes on the heels of a similarly shocking exposure of racist practice in a religious school in Petah Tikva. Earlier this year, in a state religious school, the school physically and academically separated the Ethiopian girls from the rest of the school - separate teachers, separate curricula, separate rooms, separate recess.
My kids and I spent some time last year at a predominantly Ethiopian preschool in Mevaseret Zion, shortly after the Petah Tikva events came to light. One morning, as the kids all played together in the sand, the teacher said, "This community is very hurt. It just doesn't understand how such a deep-rooted hatred can exist in the country that its members dreamed of coming to."
The teacher suggested that as a form of healing, kids from around the country come and play with Ethiopian kids in preschool. It sounds so basic, and yet that basic sense of morality and equality is so profoundly lacking.
It's no coincidence that many these stories of racism take place in religious schools. Religious schools are drenched with practices that created social hierarchies between those who are "more" and those who are "less," or those who are "in" and those who are "out." Indeed, for my doctoral research on religious school culture, I discovered multiple hierarchies intersecting and intertwining in religious schools via a discourse that takes for granted Ashkenazi culture as morally, intellectually and religiously superior to Mizrahi or Sephardi culture.
The demeaning of Mizrahi kids is sometimes subtle, but often strikingly overt. Discrimination may take the form of teachers casually referring to "Ashkenazi intellect," and "Mizrahi emotion," or where the highest tracks become predominantly Ashkenazi and the lowest tracks predominantly Sephardi, based presumably on "intelligence." Mizrahi students are typically penalized and suspended more often than Ashkenazi students; they are reprimanded for the same offenses that Ashkenazi kids get away with, and are lectured on how to avoid things like dropping out, getting pregnant or turning on a light switch on Shabbat. Mizrahi students are assumed to be "problems," on the margins of society, teetering on the edge of an abyss or at high risk of being deemed the worst of all - non-religious.
Indeed, in religious schools, as opposed to state schools, discriminatory practices are rationalized on the basis of "religiousness." That is, whereas in non-religious schools, discrimination revolves primarily around academics and class, in religious schools, there is an entire extra level of patronizing in which Mizrahi kids are assumed to be less religious. Thus, for example, United Torah Judaism MK Avraham Ravitz, in an attempt to "explain" the events in Emanuel and Elad, said that "the ethnic discrimination stems first and foremost from the desire to maintain the school's educational atmosphere... We educate on internal and external values and there are differences among the different ethnic groups."
IN OTHER words, Sephardim have different "values" that threaten the "educational atmosphere." Mizrahi students are thus viewed as being on the margins educationally, economically and morally - and in religious schools, these hierarchies ultimately conflate into the view of Mizrahi students as less "religious."
This language of Sephardi culture as "threatening" to religiousness is rampant. Yair Sheleg, in his book Dati'im Hadashim (The New Religious), documents Ashkenazi fear of "contamination" by Mizrahi families. He writes that the 21st-century version of "white flight" is among Ashkenazi religious families. That is, as soon as parents see that Mizrahi students are entering "their" schools, they open up a new elitist "torani" school in the name of creating a "higher" religious level, but is in fact simply Mizrahi-free.
These religious hierarchies are the latest version of 19th-century colonialist racism of the "Great Chain of Being" and "Social Darwinism." Shlomo Deshen and Moshe Shokeid brilliantly write in Dor Hatemura (Generation in Transition) that Mizrahi and Ashkenazi religious identities take different forms - not superior and inferior, but simply different. Mizrahi religiousness is transmitted via people, families and traditions, while Ashkenazi religiousness is transmitted via the written word.

Ronald Daniel Auerbach

On arriving back in South Africa, I attempted to discuss the prospect of anti-semitism in post-apartheid South Africa with Franz Egon Auerbach and Harry Schwarz. Neither were prepared to discuss the matter, and attempts to address it were systematically evaded by the South African Jewish community.
The crocodile has eaten many, but is still hungry.
ex-A.N.C. frontline combatant.

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