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« South African Jewry pressured to denounce Israel | Main | Nathan Geffen accuses us of anti-Semitism and defamation »

January 18, 2009


Nathan Geffen


In all my time in politics, whether campaigning against Mbeki's AIDS policies, organising demonstrations and writing statements against the Zimbabwean government or denouncing the Chinese government's imprisonment of an AIDS activist in front of several thousand people at the International AIDS Conference, I have never been attacked with more vememous dishonesty than by members of my own community for my temperate and moderate criticisms of Israel. It is, Steve, a form of anti-semitism and I'm sorry to say a much more dangerous and insidious form of anti-semitism than most other kinds in existence today. For its aim is to ostracise and to hurt. I admit that it certainly succeeds in this aim. It is also meant to set an example to other Jews about what they can expect if they criticise Israel. However, I assure you, despite the fact that it hurts, it will not silence my criticisms.

And Steve, your particular It's Almost Supernatural blog today, is the worst yet of these anti-semitic insults directed at me. There is nothing more I can say in response to such filth, other than to print below an email I wrote and circulated widely immediately upon receiving the anti-semitic email that your anti-semitic blog refers to. You were undoubtedly aware of it, but it would not have served your propaganda interests to include it in your blog.

Here it is:


I find this email to be reprehensibly anti-semitic. It is analogous in its morality to Israel's collective punishment of Palestinians. It is also incredibly ignorant of the complexity and diversity of the Jewish community.

Because the Chief Rabbi and others released a statement claiming to represent the SA Jewish community, it does not mean that what they have said does in fact represent the SA Jewish community. That is why Doron Isaacs and I have circulated a response, which you have seen and referred to below, that already has 240 signatories on it.

I know some of the people you have listed here (some are friends of mine). They are definitely not all supporters of Israel. Some are also not politically involved and so are unlikely to sign the response by Doron and me. They're just everyday South Africans who go about their business and behind the scenes some of them do a lot more good than you realise. If you want to organise a boycott of Israeli products or settlement products that's a very different matter, but this is naked discrimination on the basis of ethnic background. Even for those on your list below that are supporters of Israel, an action like this against people in South Africa for beliefs they hold that disagree with yours is unjustified. There is no historical precedent for such an action by progressive movements.

Many in the Jewish community have emailed me and said they agree entirely with my statement but are too scared to sign it. Others are trying to make up their minds still. I have no doubt some people in your list below fall into that category. You have no idea of the risks that some people who have signed our statement have taken.

Then take, for example, Raymond Ackerman. He is a reform Jew and therefore not represented by the Chief Rabbi in any way. On the contrary, he and other reform Jews are ostracised in the Jewish community by fundamentalists like the chief rabbi.

This kind of anti-semitic approach fuels tension between Muslims and Jews, is immoral and I want nothing to do with it. I am offended by it and unreservedly condemn it. It's unprogressive, racist and disgusting. And I assure you no progressive Jews or Muslims will have anything to do with it.

Doron and I are trying to effect change in the Jewish community by strengthening the hand of progressives. If you want to drive the community into a lager and undo all our work, then this is definitely the way to go about it.



Hamas will never honor a ceasefire, and as soon as they start firing rockets again, Israel must too.

These people equating Israel with the Nazis have to be insane, and they are mostly from the Left. The Left acting like Nazis and calling for a new Hitler, and for the Jews to go to the ovens, wow! Hitler, someone even most of them would say they hate. The Left, many are anti-semitic Nazis, they should be so proud. The truth is coming out, it is getting harder to hide.

The MSM is insidious, they are instrumental in fanning these flames. We must keep trying to de-brainwash as many people as possible. As the brave Geert Wilders put it recently, "To begin with, there is already a Palestinian state, and that is Jordan. This land covers nearly eighty percent of the historic Palestine. Most residents of Jordan are Palestinians, for instance queen Rania."

Why doesn't Jordan take the poor Palestinians in the West Bank and Egypt control the nut jobs in Gaza?

They don't want them, that's why. They should be made to take them. That may be the only answer.

Hamas is what makes Gaza much worse than it could be. If they would give up the dream of destroying Israel and the Jews and stopped all missiles and suicide bombers, and all terrorist attacks, Israel would welcome doing business with them, and things would be peaceful. But they can't do this as long as they follow their Koran strictly.

There is no negotiating with a mad man, or with Jihadis who want to die to go get their 72 virgins.
I hope Israel doesn't quit too early. If Israel is destroyed, terrorism in the rest of the world will just increase, it will never stop, as long as there are Radical Muslims, or rather, Muslim Fundamentalists; who are appeased, defended, and kissed up to.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
let someone hit you

over and over again
and NEVER hit back harder

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
DO NOT defend your country

from terrorist monkeys
just let them bomb you at will

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
BOMB kindergartens

then piss and moan and whine
when their parents bomb you back

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
never mock Hamas

it's just their religion
All real freedom starts with freedom of speech. Without freedom of speech there can be no real freedom.



Hi Nathan

In a few weeks time Jews around the world will read the famous Purim story. At the end of the story we read that Mordechai is hailed as a hero for saving the Jews by helping them take up arms and enabling a massacre of those who wanted the Jews dead.
Interestingly the Megillah tells us that despite Mordechai’s achievements, his desire for peace and his personal greatness Mordechai is only accepted by the majority of his community (Esther 10:3).
Perhaps many of Mordechai’s own people could not support him because he was forced to kill others in order to save the Jews?

While I admit that the pictures and stories coming out of Gaza are disturbing, this is the nature of war being waged within a civilian population. True that many of the accounts may make one feel uncomfortable or even seem immoral, but Israel’s actions in Gaza are in fact sanctioned by International Law and the Geneva Convention.
Many international bodies have already expressed interest in charging Israel for possible violations.
A Human rights champion of your caliber of all people should recognize the inalienable right of considering suspects as innocent until they are proven guilty.

Our present Jewish leadership proudly represents the overwhelming majority of the community.
The 300 or so signatures on your petition do not even reflect 1% of the SA Jewish community.
Perhaps you would receive a bit more support if you condemned Hamas directly, instead of just being “opposed to the Hamas rockets.”


Hi Nathan

Although I appreciate your coming on to the blog it would be nice if you would do so without all the name calling. I understand that you were the victim of such behavior, very possibly by members of this blog, I see no reason for an intellectual such as yourself to respond in kind.

My question to you is this, what is Israel supposed to do.
Let me elaborate.
They've been shooting rockets deliberately at civilians for more than 8 years.
We tried diplomacy, we tried targeted assassination on terrorists and it didn't work.
In 2005 we said, ok, you know what, we'll reward terrorism and leave - we removed Jewish residents from their homes and pulled every single soldier out of Gaza. The rockets did not stop.
We then started limit military activity, targeting specific houses and tunnels. It didn't work, the rockets carried on raining down.

It is a fact that in this campaign Israel had done its utmost to minimize civilian casualties, phoning the houses of terrorists to warn them to leave before firing the missile. I understand that even 1 civilian casualty is a tragedy, but given that we are fighting an enemy that fires rockets at us from schools and hospitals, non combatant casualties have been lower than any other major conflict.

So Nathan, I accept that you have a right to criticize Israel, but then you have a responsibility to say what they should be doing, and do not do yourself the intellectual discredit of suggesting options already tried and failed.

My second question requires on a yes or no answer, although I'm sure we would all appreciate elaboration: Given that Hamas missiles deliberately target civilians, do you believe Haniyah should be charged with war crimes?

the pil

Unfortunately this email just proves what Jews have known for time immemorial. Some Jews believe that they will be accepted by the world outside of the Jewish community when they support the opinions of everybody except the Jewish community. However another thing that history has proven is that even those jews who express support for the opinions of anti-semites and even join them in denouncing jews it is never enough for anti-semites- eventually even these compliant Jews will be singled out for abuse.

This email is an attempt to intimidate the majority of the Jewish community to conform to the views of the anti-israel community and it is as insidious and dangerous as historic anti-semitism. I believe that the SABJD should call on the muslim community to denounce this vile piece of literature, if Muslim bodies such as the MJC refuse it must be assumed that they agree with the sentiments expressed in the email and than must be denounced as an anti-semitic body that sows discord between the Muslim and Jewish communities.

Steve carry on the good work, i love reading your anti-semitic blog.


Nathan Geffen, you and your fellows essentially criticise Israel for war crimes committed by Hamas (using civilians as human shields - a recognised war crime by the Geneva convention). Hamas openly boasts about using civilians as human shields, and thus is ultimately responsible for their fate. If not for Hamas's ever increasing number of rocket attacks on Jewish civilians prior to the outbreak of this current war, there would be no war in the first place - simple. I notice that you and your like-minded fellows did not send a letter to the SA press condemning Hamas for their promise to institute and enforce Sharia Law in Gaza with all its associated barbarity and the denial of human rights entailed; the clerical sponsored violence, murder, misogyny and allround bigotry Sharia law sanctions, prior to the outbreak of the war. I mean if you are so concerned with the well-being of Palestinian civilians...

Whilst Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other extremists have rained thousands of rockets down on Israel from Gaza, you condemn the Jews for the unfortunate, albeit unavoidable consequences of eventually fighting back. If you pretend to be so concerned for Palestinian civilians who are killed then you should hold those cowardly using them as human shields responsible, and that is Hamas. Your predictable "not in my name" style letter (which Gary and myself predicted would come on this very forum when the war started) would obviously earn support and approval from SA Muslims who share the sentiments calling for the boycott of Jewish businesses! What does that tell you Geffen, that you have the support of all these anti-Semites, who don't have a problem with Hamas terrorism, with Sharia law and associated tyranny and bigotry, and with the mass murder of Muslims and infidels by Muslims around the world?

If you don't believe me or beg to differ, contact those Muslims in SA who support this boycott of Jewish businesses (easy enough, there are so many of them as a perusal of SA Muslim newsletters, SA Muslim radio and the anti-Semitic pronouncements of many SA Muslim imans over the years tells us, and the throngs of Muslims attending anti-Israel rallies in South Africa over the years tells us for that matter, not that they ever attend anti-Islamic terror and anti-Sharia law rallies), and see how they regard your "not in my name" style letter...

Get back to us with the feedback will you Geffen?

From the above e-mail from these Muslim Jew-haters:
"Some Jews have distanced themselves from the statements by the Chief Rabbi and the SAJBD . None of the prominent business leaders above are in this group."

Geffen do you even vaguely get the implications of what the above tells us?

Geffen writes:
"Doron and I are trying to effect change in the Jewish community by strengthening the hand of progressives. If you want to drive the community into a lager and undo all our work, then this is definitely the way to go about it."

Geffen, your Orwellian language would be laughable if it were not so tragic. What you call "progressives" are appeasing fools in denial about the extent and depth of Islamic radicalism in the Middle-East and the very real existential threat to Israel's very survival. You advocate the path of Neville Chamberlain, well at least some of us are not so blind as to not know where that led. What "work" have you done Geffen? Your "work" has won the support of many anti-Semites and anti-Zionists in South Africa. (I personally know of one South African WASP who has nothing but praise for you and Isaacs and the SAHRD. This self-same individual believes the Protocols of Zion is a genuine document - why I had nothing to do with him back in SA - but he doesn't consider himself anti-Semitic, after all he is a "liberal" gag gag). Can you give me the name of a single Muslim radical in SA, the Middle-East or anywhere else who is no longer a radical thanks to your "work", Geffen? Can you give me the name of a single anti-Semite in SA who is no longer an an-Semite thanks to your Middle-East "work" Geffen?

You were part of the disgraceful SAHRD to the Middle-East last year, one of its organisers, and thus you are at least partially responsible for the invitations of Farid Esak and Drew Forrest of the M&G to be a part of it. The University of Minnesota in Minneapolis held a "Divest from Apartheid Israel Organizing Conference" in April/May 2007. Esack was a guest speaker in support of this divestment call against Israel, he has never gone on record in support of divestment and boycotts of a single Muslim nation in the world, despite the long list of tyrannical fascist regimes, terror supporters and gross human rights violators that they encompass, from Saudi Arabia to Syria, from the UAE to Pakistan and Iran. Such an extreme double standard can only be accounted for by anti-Semitism.

As for Forrest and the M&G, the M&G has a long history of viscious anti-Israel baiting (eg it regulary features a favourite of Islamic radicals on Israel "reporting" - John Pilger) whilst predictably whitewashing the horrendous fascist crimes of Islamic tyrants and radicals from around the world, including of Israel's
very real enemies in the Middle-East. Forrest is openly anti-Zionist. What does that tell us about you and your ilk of the SAHRD?

Or do you not have a problem with the M&G reporting on Israel, Geffen? Do you consider Pilger's reporting on the Middle-East fair and balanced (remember Pilger's articles on Israel are a regular feature in the M&G)? I asked your buddy Doron Isaacs the same question re Pilger and the M&G, but he never replied in this respect.


The Pil, agreed 100%.

Lawrence, whilst I agree with your post, I have one problem with it. I feel it falls into the same trap that Alan Dershowitz falls into in many of his writings. You criticize Nathan and those who agree with him for not criticizing Israel. Now whilst you are absolutely right that this is nothing short of hypocrisy, I feel that we are selling ourselves short when using this argument. Claiming that criticizers of Israel are wrong because they do not condemn other human rights abuses inmplies that we are human rights abusers in the first place. We are not. We are the only democracy in the region, we are the only country where torture (even sleep deprivation) is illegal and we are the only country thaty allows freedom of movement of all human rights organization and to all prisoners. To say that those who condemn us should ALSO condemn arab states implies that we are different points on the same spectrum.
There is a subtle difference. Instead of arguing that criticizing us and not them makes them hypocrits, the argument should be that since you condemn us but not them it is clear that human rights are not your concern, rather some other agenda.

Nathan, I eagerly await your reply to my 2 simple questions


Geffen writes that "If you want to organise a boycott of Israeli products or settlement products that's a very different matter, but this is naked discrimination on the basis of ethnic background. "
Far from standing up against prejudice as he would have us believe he is doing, he is actually stating that as you long as the target of your hate and boycott is Jews living in Israel rather than Jews living elsewhere it is 'progressive anti-Zionism' rather than 'backward 'anti-Semitism'.

So it is OK to boycott Israeli goods and impoverish the weaker sections of Israeli society, because the children that suffer will be 'Zionist children',
To hate an entire nation, in this case Israelis, is called RACISM! That is what it is. And to claim you are Jewish and hate Israel, or that you hate Israel and not Jews as such does not change the fact that if you hate Israel and Israelis you are a RACIST. Anybody who is prejudiced against Israel and Israelis is as much a bigot as someone who is prejudiced against Jews per se, or for that matter against Blacks, Gays, Indians, Chinese, etc. And do not say that you hate the State of Israel and not it's people, because the state is the sum total of it's people.

As Judea Pearl says: "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".

Anti-Zionists claim that they are not anti-Semites but that the only state they want to dismember is the Jewish state. Anti-Zionists claim they are not anti-Semites but the only people who are not entitled to human rights are the Jews of the Levant. Anti-Zionists claim that they are not anti-Semites but that the only children who it is justified to bomb, shoot, murder and maim are Jewish children. So much for the 'We are anti-Zionist but NOT anti-Semitic' crowd of hypocrites who only enjoy the killing of 'Zionist' children. Not only do the rabid anti-Zionists who boycott and demonize Israel display gross and racist anti-Semitism , but they also responsible to a large extent for terror against Israeli women and children.

It is entirely in keeping in the character of Islamists or rabidly leftist anti-Zionists that they should carry a rabid hatred of Israel to the point of defending the killers of Israeli children. Author Jacques Givet , in his remarkable book The Anti-Zionist Complex Refers to the massacres of Israeli children at Ma'alot and Kiryat Shmona in 1974 by the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The author points out how prejudiced and unfair condemnation of Israel in the United Nations has led to deeds: 'For moral denigration encourages physical elimination; a few days after the adoption of the resolution of November 1975, challenging the very existence of Israel, a bomb killed six young people (all of them refugees from Arab countries) in Jerusalem. The PLO forthwith claimed the credit for this feat, justifying it by reference to the United Nations resolution..."

In more recent years, Irish poet Tom Paulin explicitly called for the killing of Jewish civilians in Israel. A few days later , a five year old Jewish girl, Danielle Shefi, was shot dead in the Jewish village of Adura, by Arab terrorists , as she cowered under her bed. They also shot her baby brother. Journalists on the far left website indymedia openly gloated over and celebrated this murder. In 2002 leftist anti-Zionist journalist, Richard Calland , wrote in South Africa's far left Mail&Guardian that he "quietly celebrates Israeli casualties". Charlotte Kates , a law lecturer at Rutger University in New Jersey and an 'activist' of the pro-terror
'International Solidarity Movement' has endorsed the killing of Israeli children by Arab terrorists, calling Israeli children 'fair game'.

The same way, that the dehumanization of Jews by Hitler Goebbels and Der Sterner laid the way for the holocaust, I believe that the purpose of anti-Zionist propaganda is to pave the way for the genocide of Israel's Jews. This entire campaign against Israel (including the participation by 'progressive Jews' is racist hate speech just like Meim Kampf, Protocols of the Elders of Zion or Birth of a Nation, and should be known for what it is. Israelphobia is a disease of hate, of racism. as much as any other form of prejudice and hate.

Geffen, whether you and your friends like it or not, the vast majority of Jews in South Africa identify Israeli Jews as our brothers and sisters and will not abandon them when they are under attack to simply appease the Islamic lobby or the ANC/SACP.


Fight back. Where is a list of Muslim owned businesses?.

Buy Infidel, bye jihad.

Go Israel go. Go IDF go.


Dear Nathan

My concern is that your actions are actually becoming part of a wider anti-semitic movement's manipulations.

In my case I remain concerned about the fighting in Gaza and don't like what is happening to the Gazans. However when the boycott is extended to 'Jews' and is not about 'Israeli' companies, then it appears to be broadly anti-semitic and part of lashing out at Jews as a whole.

I am secular and don't try to flaunt my 'Jewishness', but at the same time I have never been allowed to forget I am Jewish by individuals who encourage these campaigns.

This is not a whitewash counter argument. The campaign, with its emphasis on 'Jews' acts as more of a call to action to protect ones own racial and cultural identity, and possibly even life and livelihoods. It does not encourage me through a academic political cum philosophal ideal, but leaves me with deeper personal fear and resentment of the nasty side of human nature that is more suited to psychology than sociology.

I will not sign your petition because the racial overtures that have now tainted it.


I am going to circulate this list on Facebook and along my email lists.
By all means, Muslims, cancel your medical aids, don't buy cheap medicine from DisChem and Garden City Clinic in the heart of Muslim Joburg? You can't go there either.
You may as well get used to wearing the clothes you have, as it seems most retailers are now in the prohibition.
Don't go to the movies, buy furniture or appliances, or sell your house.

Perhaps we should also tell them about the Jewish directors at the big corporates to make doubly sure that Muslims are completely crippled by this idiocy.

the pil

Joe please don't forget to mention that any person who owns a cell phone should throw theirs away immediately as cell phones should be part of any boycott of goods that should be taken seriously. These people are a joke as is Nathan

Simmy Simanovsky

Oh Boo hoo Nathan. Your extremely quick to insult and dish it out, but can't take it like a man. Look in the mirror Nathan and don't for a minute think you see what the rest of theb world sees. A bit of humilty wouldn't be a bad thing too.


I'm not sure whether I should take offense to this or laugh it off...

But judging by their very uncomprehensive, it seems that there isn't much room for Muslims then to purchase any clothes, food, electronics, cosmetics, medical services, IT services and industrial services. If boycotted properly they shouldn't fly either as they will get food processed by a jew and they might as well all cancel their premium TV subscriptions too...

Mighty big inconvenience if I say so myself.


They left out so many other Jewish-owned/run big businesses. I dare the South African Jewish community to shut down all their businesses for a day (ALL their businesses) and see how this country copes. They claim the Ackermans "control" Pick 'n Pay, they built that business!! Who else must "control" it? It wouldn't exist if not for the Ackermans, and so too Gold Reef City, Investec,Beacon, The Lost Palace, SA Clothing, and many other businesses in this country. No appreciation, only propoganda, ignorance and racism.

Castor Troye

I look at this "List" as a source of immense pride. And hopefully I will be able to make the list one day as one of the Jewish achievers. The Muslim community are only shooting themselves in the foot. Let them boycott Pick n Pay and Woolworths and trek 30 kms to the Oriental Plaza. Perhaps they should learn more about economics or else this so called boycott will send the Muslim community back into the Armish country!

peter macklin

what a disgrace to decent humanity this geffen guy is.I am a gentile and have this nathan geffens remsrks emailed to me in australia.He is lucky he does not live in austrslia as he would be charged for a criminal offence under the racial discrimination act.He may say he is jewish?Was his father perhaps a nazi converted to jewdism for convenience or was he perhaps beaten up by jewish friends at school and now hates jews but says he is a progresdive jew
He is enough to make me antisemetic and a friend of the klu klux clan
peter macklin

refrigerator repair

Esta es una vista excepcional de la situación, no creo que bastante he visto desde esa perspectiva antes.

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