“But You Don’t Look Jewish!”

By Rolene Marks

Antisemitism takes on an additional and sometimes distinctly misogynistic element when aimed at Jewish women. *Warning – contains language some may find offensive.

“But you don’t look Jewish”. I have lost count how many times I have heard this. I normally respond by asking the protagonist what they think a Jew looks like. “You don’t have a Jewish nose” is often the response. Epic face-palm moment.

There is a perception that Jews fit a certain stereotype in the way we look. Over the last year or so, as antisemitism rises, so this has come more to the fore and ugly stereotypes are rearing their heads. This time there is a new iteration – singling out Jewish women.

Hurtful Humorist. Comedian Seth Rogan sparked outrage after mocking a Jewish journalist Eve Barlow who wrote an article expressing concern about the rise of anti-Semitism.

Following the recent conflagration between Israel and Hamas, there has been a misogynistic element to the antisemitism that women are experiencing. Movie star joker, Seth Rogan, most famous for toilet humour type antics and smoking his fair share of wacky baccy, piled into journalist, Eve Barlow, after she wrote an op-ed for Tablet Magazine describing how some of the anti-Semitic invective online resembled an “online pogrom”. Barlow was vulnerable, sharing some of the horrendous messages she and many of us who are active online, receive on an almost daily basis.

Rogan’s response was to trivialize and mock this by commenting “Eve Fartlow” – with a fart emoji.

Mature, isn’t he?

Many were quick to defend Barlow, calling out Rogan’s rather flatulent response.

Barlow wasn’t alone. In an op-ed for Tablet Magazine, fierce and fabulous social media maven, Emily Schrader, describes her experience with some of the online trolls. She shares some of her “messages” here:

Go suck Netanyahu’s ball [sic] … Hey slut I will bomb your house.”

Another stated, “Your vagina is so dirty and disgusting, I can assure that it was a rape of an Israeli dog [sic].”

Hmmmm, classy.

An ill Wind. Following twitter users writing “Eve Fartlow” in response to a recent article  by Jewish reporter Eve Barlow (above) on antisemitism,  actor Seth Rogan then climbed into the act  by posting a “gust of wind” emoji commonly used to represent flatulence, further mocking the journalist.

During the height of the conflict with Hamas, a convoy of pro-Palestinian goons drove through suburbs of London where there are large concentrations of Jews screaming:

 “F*** the Jews, rape their women”. Because raping Jewish women is going to “Free Palestine”?

But last week there was an incident that really motivated this article. Fashion designer and podcaster, Recho Omondi, who hosts the show “The Cutting Room Floor”, trotted out some distinctly anti-Semitic stereotypes to “call out” (yes this is a verb from the dictionary of Woke)  ManRepeller Founder, Leandra Medine Cohen for her “privileged upbringing”.

Omondi in this episode, in which Cohen discussed not realizing until recently that she “actually grew up rich” despite being raised in a “privileged environment” on the Upper East Side.

I couldn’t stomach another white assimilated Jewish American Princess who is wildly privileged but thinks she’s oppressed,” Omondi said on the episode after ending the interview with Medine Cohen, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.

At the end of the day you guys are going to get your nose jobs and your keratin treatments and change your last name from Ralph Lifshitz to Ralph Lauren and you will be fine.”

Sorry, what? 

From where I write this in the diverse state of Israel, Jews are a kaleidoscope of multiple ethnicities. We are blonde hair (dye not withstanding!) blue-eyed like me, we are Jews from Ethiopia and India, South America and Scandinavia, the USA and Europe. I thought the term “Jewish American Princess” went out in the 90’s like stone-washed jeans and boy bands but evidently not. We are not all “spoilt princesses”. Some of us fled Arab persecution, survived fascism, walked from Ethiopia through the Sudan to freedom and are the descendants of names of relatives that echo through the generations, names of relatives who perished in the Holocaust. To diminish us like Omondi did to nose jobs and hair treatments, negates our noble, proud and more often than not, tragic history.

Picture Imperfect. Recho Omondi (right) was accused of antisemitism for calling Leandra Medine Cohen (left) a “Jewish American Princess.” (Getty Images)

It made me think about a time in my own history when I was personally diminished as a Jewish woman. At the age of about 20, I worked for a radio station. This was a time that long preceded the “Me Too” movement and sexist comments towards female staff was just another day in the office. I was the youngest and only Jew and the running joke used to be that if you broke a mirror or needed to break a curse of sorts, then one should “F*** a Jewish woman – then you will have good luck”.


Without the wisdom and confidence of age, my reaction was to look slightly uncomfortable, say nothing and cry in the car as I drove home, feeling humiliated and diminished.

Speaking about my experiences, and these are just a few of many, is deeply painful – but an absolute necessity. We are having important conversations about tolerance and racial discrimination. Not all discrimination or racism is experienced in the same way. For Jewish women, the reduction of us to mere sex objects to be derided or spoilt princesses with bad noses coupled with the usual gross hate invective that is the every-day experience of Jews is untenable.

The Price of Being a Zionist Woman on Twitter. “These days the worst social media crime is daring to be a pro-Israel woman,” writes Emily Shraeder, the founder of Social Lite Creative, a political marketing consultancy firm.

We need to be included in the conversation and we need to be taken seriously – not reduced to fart emojis. This is our lived experience – online and off. We need to summon the courage of our ancestors, because that stubborn, brave, will to survive that was in them is inside us as well and remember who we are. The descendants of queens, matriarchs, priestesses, mothers, pioneers, trailblazers, judges, warriors and Zionesses.

The time for us to roar back is now.

And if my nose is not petite enough for some, it is time they checked their moral compass.

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).


It is important to say consistently Israel is a racist, ethno-supremist, settler-colonial state set on ethnic cleansing,” writes Jon Fish Hodgson in an outrageous article, published this month in South Africa’s Independent (*See original article below).

Adv. Craig Snoyman responds

A’le’lay li, woe is me.  Once again I have struck out. Once again, an article  of mine was submitted  to a South African newspaper  and has been rejected and once again I was hopeful and now thankful that Lay Of  The Land saw the need to publish.  This time my article was in response to a three-quarter page spread in the national fleet  of  Independent Newspapers, published on Saturday 3 July 2021. It was written by a certain Jon Fish Hodgson, who does not appear to have any recognised credentials that would suggest his article should have been published or given such prominence.  To me, it appears that he was published purely on the basis that he is a Jew.  Jews make great news, particularly when they malign Israel.

Hodgson makes great news.

In an article entitled “Palestinian conflict “not complex”” Hodgson’s bias shines through like a 5000-watt spot -light beamed into a tiny room. Issues that have eluded solution by many of the brightest minds on the planet over the last one-and-a-half centuries, he regards as  “not complex”! 

Hodgson seeks to take the simplistic attitude that the intersectional custom-designed “settler colony” theory solves everything and nothing else  is relevant to Israel. He dumps in  a couple of  other derogatory opinions of Israel at the same time. He views  Israel as  irredeemably bad and committed to the oppression of innocent good Palestinians.  By endorsing this one-dimensional concept, and by following this uni-directional, biased  approach, Hodgson concludes that the Israel-Palestine conflict is not complex. His  solution to  “Israel bad, Palestine good” is to boycott the current State of Israel and to replace Jewish Israel with  a Palestinian State.   On the face of it, this  over-simplistic view does not warrant a three-quarter page opinion piece.

Unfortunately, it received national prominence!

Mission Reprehensible. Jon Fish Hodgson, a Jew set on undermining the legitimacy of the Jewish state.

I had always understood that if an opinion was to be expressed in the media, it should be  based on fact, with justifying comments permitted within reasonable limits. When reading  this article, I question whether I have been labouring under a misapprehension. Hodgson’s blinkered approach is visible from the very first paragraphs. He   commences by stating that “the profound political  and ethnic dimensions of the “so-called” conflict are plain”  and then lists adjectives of opprobrium, which he states apply  to  Israel. He refers to Israel as a “racist, ethno-supremacist, settler- colonial state set on ethnic cleansing” which is based on a Zionist “might makes right” ideology and which it teaches to its children. He states it is hypocritical that the innocent Palestinian victims should be “vilified  and victim-blamed if they dare fight for liberation”  and they are in death spiral “struggling for liberation and life” (note the order). He seems to question whether a conflict actually exists.

Massacre Mastermind. Israel Defense Minister, Moshe Dayan (left), at the terminal at Lod Airport immediately after the terrorist attack on May 31, 1972 that killed 26. The “Lod Airport Massacre” was co-masterminded by Ghassan Kanafani who Hodgon’s quotes to support his case against Israel.

It would be quite simple, although rather tedious,  to rip Hodgson’s article apart paragraph by paragraph, line by line, misquote by misquote,  starting from his first quote, one from Netanyahu, who uses the  “Strong Horse” theory, first set out by  the Medieval Arab philosopher Ibn Khaldun  about the weak and the strong surviving and making alliances. Rather than researching, he lazily parrots a comment which compares Netanyahu’s speech to one of Hitler’s. Unfortunately,  this lack of original thought permeates the entire article. For instance, he elects to quote Ghassan Kanafani, a terrorist and writer,  whose writings  reflect the simplistic dualism of the evil Zionist aggressor and the good Palestinian victim. A leading member  and   spokesman for the PLFP, Kanafani is believed to have masterminded together with the Japanese Red Army the  Lod airport massacre in 1972 killing 26 people and injuring 80 others.

In the absence of proper research, he also falsely attributed the death of Kanafani to inspire of Palestinians to join the liberation struggle.

Plotting with Prose. Writer and killer, Ghassan Kanafani at his Beirut office. (Assafir)

Kanafani is widely believed to have been killed by another terrorist, Abu Ahmed Yunis who in turn was eliminated by other PLFP terrorists.  Hodgson similarly inverts the concept of  children who go to Hamas vacation camps to learn how to become terrorists and Palestinian school books filled with anti-Semitism by stating that it is the Israelis who teach their children hate.  Allegations of double standards, child-killing, victim blaming, dropping bombs on innocent Palestinians, silencing dissent, Zionism being anti-Semitic and allegations of racism, including the intersectional  “constitutive racism” roll off his pen. All of these allegations have been debunked hundreds of time in numerous  articles written by experts in the field.  But another article, this time from a layperson,  is just one in a continuous succession of nauseous invective.  

 A simple reading of Hodgson’s article should suffice to show that there is little fact in the article, and that which there is, is usually not accurate. A simple examination of the first few paragraphs is sufficient to show up a deficient and misguided ideology. 

His article commences by stating that “Palestine’s history” is “long and detailed”. No detail of this history is given, thus avoiding the inconvenient intimate link between Jews and  the land of Israel and Jerusalem. The simple truth is that the “long and detailed history of Palestine” has always been  inter-twined with the Jews. The Jewish  connection to Israel appears thorough the bible and is acknowledged by Jews, Christians and Muslims. After the ill-fated Bar Kochba rebellion in 136CE,  Jerusalem  was renamed Aelia Capitolina and Israel became part of Syria Palaestina. Both the names “Aelia Capitolina” and “Syria Palaestina” were introduced to try and remove the Jewish link to the land. The Ottoman Turkish Empire, probably the world’s greatest coloniser, included the biblical Israel within Greater Syria, which was an Eyalet, or province of the Empire. The name “Palestine” was not used. In fact, from the fall of Rome until the early twentieth century, the name “Palestine” was used virtually only by the Jews, who sought to return to their homeland. Only when Great  Britain was granted  a mandate by the League of Nations in 1922,  did the  name  “Palestine”  re-enter  international  discourse. The Jews  referred to themselves as Palestinians until the State of Israel’s Declaration  of Independence in 1948. The Arab occupants of Palestine (including  the portion of the Palestinian mandate that Great Britain gave to the Arabs in 1922, which became known as Jordan) regarded themselves as Arabs, not as Palestinians.  In February 1949, shortly after having captured  the West Bank in the Independence War,  King Abdullah I of Jordan  banned  official usage of the word “Palestinian”.   Renowned historian Efraim Karshi states that the Arabs only started identifying themselves as Palestinian and making regular use of the name “Palestinian” for political identification with the land, after the Six Day War of 1967.  With  the strong Jewish link to  the land of Palestine and the name “Palestine” and the lack of an Arab attachment to Palestine  is not a convenient dialogue to raise, if you are anti-Israel. 

It  is far easier to gloss  over history by referring to it as “long and detailed”.

Hodgson’s article then  proceeds to  the  demonisation of  Israel.

He refers to Israel as racist. To evaluate this claim objectively, it is appropriate to refer to an internationally recognised definition of racism. Defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary, racism is “a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race”. When one looks at Israeli society, there is no evidence of a reliance on the inherent superiority of a particular group of people in that society. People of  all races, colour and religion are entitled to the same schooling and tertiary education, the same political and social rights. Minority grouping fill the  same ranks as other groups  in fields such as medicine, law (both as lawyers and as judges), big business, politics and even members of cabinet. One cannot say with any degree of honesty that  Israel subscribes to, or is dependent upon,  the belief that only certain people can perform specific jobs because of their inherent racial traits and capacities which made them superior to other groups of people in that society. 

Hodgson’s next  allegation is one of ethno-supremacy. This can be repudiated on the same grounds as his  claim made in respect of racism. The aspect of ethnicity should however be addressed. In modern era, when  Jews  from all over the world  move to Israel, no matter their background, they still all share common ethnic characteristics  which were handed down by their forefathers and whose practices are found in their bible. It was no different with the earlier immigrants to and Jewish occupants of Israel. They were and are not settlers. Their ethnicity and history link them to the land.  Ethnology and anthropology and other histological  facts place  the Jews as an indigenous population. It is actually the Arabs from the time of the Ottoman Empire that became the settler-colonialist rulers, expelling  and re-admitting the indigenous occupants. Pinhas Inbari’s Review of the History of Palestine clearly identifies the genealogies of many of the Palestinian clans and tribes, showing them to have originated outside the Southern Levant. Former Hamas Minister Fathi Hammad proclaimed on television that “Personally, half my family is Egyptian. We are all like that. More than 30 families in the Gaza Strip are called Al-Masri [“Egyptian”]. Brothers, half of the Palestinians are Egyptians and the other half are Saudis.” The Jew’s  ethnicity does not create a supremacy, it merely  created a strong claim to the land.  Be that as it may, ethnicity in Israel has not created a superior class; all citizens have equal rights. It does raise the issue as to  validity of the grounds upon which the Palestinians lay claim to the land. Once again, Hodgson’s allegation doesn’t fit the internationally accepted definition.

On a point of Clarification. Hamas Minister of the Interior and of National Security Fathi Hammad slams Egypt over fuel shortage in Gaza Strip, and says: “Half of the Palestinians Are Egyptians and the Other Half Are Saudis.”

The third allegation that Hodgson makes is that of settler-colonialism.  This is a theory-nouveau, introduced  and applied because the theory of colonialism didn’t quite fit the Jew-Israel  paradigm. Allegations of  substantial  Arab  colonisation of  Israel  only start during the Ottoman Empire period when it  cannot be shown that the Jews have a single sovereign or colonising county, the colonial theory starts hitting problems.

By the addition of  “settler” to colonialism, a new less problematic paradigm than the coloniser theory is created. Settler-Colonialism “seeks to replace the original population of the colonized territory with a new society of settlers” . This fits in well with the current academic trend toward a global oppressor-oppressed paradigm, which has already spawned  intersectionality and critic race theory. It allows the  “Israel bad, Palestine good” narrative to be placed  in a settler-colonial exemplar.

The argument of  settler – colonialism only works if it can be shown that  the Palestinians have  a better  historical title to the land  than the Jews. To provide substance to this position,  the Palestinians have claimed that they are directly descended from the biblical Canaanites. Muslim scholar,  Zakariyya Muhammad, has effectively refuted  this position. He points out the critical weakness of  this so-called  “Canaanite ideology” is that  this Canaanism  cancels the assumption that Zionism is a European coloniser movement. It completely negates the “coloniser” argument. This is the same flaw that exists in the “colonial theory” – the settler, who is a settler and when does one become a settler.  The anti-Israel lobby needs to rely on the Canaanist argument, but equally needs to rely on the mutually destructive  Euro-Zionist coloniser argument.  

The third  flaw of the theory relates to the lack of Palestinian ethno-national consciousness.  Karshi makes the point that  these Arab occupants of Israel and the Territories, post 1967,  had no common ethnic distinction other than their Arab heritage. So the settler-colonial doesn’t  fit the unique Israeli situation, even with its own set of designer requirements.  Intersectional academia is  redefining  “settler colonialist” as the modern day “Israeli settlers” but continues to  ignore the history of  Zionism and the development of Israel or  even whether it is possible for  Israel to colonise itself. This boutique-designed, secular supersessionist  theory continues to mutate in order to  falsely replace the account of the return of the Jewish people to its land.  

Lastly, on Hodgson’s  list of bald allegations is that “Israel is set on ethnic cleansing”. (note the present tense) It is a regrettable fact that the world is presently witnessing ethnic cleansing. Myanmar exterminating and/or expelling its Rohingya, Ethiopia – as I write- is ethnically cleansing its Tigray population. The rapes, deaths, brutality, destruction, expulsion, and  mass-terror that attach to ethnic cleansing are terrifying viewing, if you have the stomach to watch. There can be no mistake, ethnic cleansing is one of the most graphically horrifying events of our time. Ethnic Cleansing or “the mass expulsion or killing of members of one ethnic or religious group in an area by those of another” does not embody the full barbarity  of this conduct. Yet Hodgson states, apparently without qualm, and without any factual basis, that Israel is guilty of  ethnic cleansing. Both the Israeli Arabs and Palestinians in  the Palestinian Territories have continued to be fruitful and multiplied. Israel is continually in the spotlight of hundreds of NGO’s and is the virtual headquarters of a global press, with probably more civil-rights representatives and journalists per square kilometre than anywhere else in the world. Many are hostile to Israel. Yet with all of this, there are no allegations by any of them of mass killings or mass expulsions. No front page headlines and no international reports from Human Rights Organisations.  Unless Hodgson has somehow divined the intention of the Israeli government (because it’s not complex?),  this can only be viewed as another perversion of the facts and another diabolical attempt to vilify Israel.

In his next paragraph, Hodgson seeks to deal with the issue of Zionism. Hodgson again provides no facts, quite irrationally, and in his “not-complex” manner, chooses to  redefine  Zionism.  He states that Zionism has been concisely articulated in a quote from Netanyahu (whose name for some reason  he chooses not mention, which in itself is strange if this is the person that you are relying on for a definition.) His definition, again, is a risible calumny. Netanyahu (without reference to context) is quoted as stating:  “There is no place for the weak. The weak crumble, are slaughtered and erased from history,  while the strong, for good or ill survive. The strong are respected and alliances are made with the strong and in the end  peace is made with the strong.”  This is an observation that one might expect find in  Pliny or Cicero. Instead Hodgson seeks to demonise Netanyahu by linking the quote to Hitler. With just less lazy parroting and a little better research, he could have found this concept in the works of  Ibn Khaldun. Netanyahu’s quote  may articulate many things,  but it certainly does not articulate Zionism – or as Hodgson has referred to it: “Israeli Zionism” (the latter being an unfamiliar animal, which  Hodgson seems to imply is different from common or garden-variety Zionism). 

Netanyahu’s  use of  the  “strong horse” theory  was also articulated by Yasser Arafat at a mosque in Johannesburg in May 1994.  Having just concluded a historic  agreement with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and acquiring self-rule for the Palestinian Territories, and while still receiving tributes from world leaders for this accomplishment, Arafat said to a  vast assembly of  mosque congregants: 

“This agreement, I am not considering it more than the agreement which had been signed between our prophet Mohammed and Koraish, and you remember the Caliph Omar had refused this agreement and [considered] it a despicable truce.”

The incident  to which Arafat referred, relates to how  the then-weak Mohamed entered into an agreement with the then-strong Koraish. Once  Mohamed and his followers became strong, they breached their agreement of despicable peace, slaughtered the tribe of Koraish, plunging the tribe into the forgotten annals of history, and he proceeded to conquer Mecca  –  just one of those  instances where the weak crumbled, were slaughtered and erased from history,  while the strong survived to enter into other alliances.  No doubt, many devout Muslims would be rightly indignant at having this incident involving the holy prophet, described as an articulation of Zionist ideology.

Loose Lips. Arafat got caught by an unexpected tape recording  referencing the Koran in a May 10, 1994 speech in a Johannesburg mosque, calling for a “jihad” to liberate Jerusalem and suggesting his peace agreement with Israel was only a tactical step that could be reversed.

Zionism is described as the national movement of the Jewish people, starting  in the 19th century seeking to recreate a Jewish state in Palestine, and return the original homeland of the Jewish people, thus there seems to be little correlation with  Hodgson’s allegation that  Zionism is a “might makes right” ideology . Hodgson’s Zionist ideology bears no resemblance to actual Zionist ideology. Once again, Hodgson disregards accepted  definitions for his own mission.

So having dealt with the first few paragraphs and found the basic foundation of the article to be faulty,  disingenuous and shameful in numerous respects, one then questions the need to read the rest of the article. Nonetheless, reading the rest of the article, there is nothing new or novel. It is a substantial repetition  of bias, errors. hyperbole and theories, which when applied to Israel  are plain bunk.

Complex issues  are not called complex for nothing. Simple answers for complex issues usually suggest that the writer has not understood the issue properly. A one-dimensional “Good  Palestinian” while heaping blame and opprobrium on “Bad Israel” is not complex, but it is not true!  Hodgson’s simple perception  may be why no comprehensive answer to a complex question, but it certainly  seems to reflect a poor understanding of the situation which he addresses. 

In these nine days before Tisha B’Av, we are again focused on “sinat chinam” or baseless hatred that resulted in the destruction of the Second Beit HaMikdash.  The  PLO wasn’t the cause; it wasn’t around at the time. But in modern days, the PLO has imposed a death sentence on anyone who sells land to a Jew (not  an Israeli, a Jew) and has stated that its’ Palestine will be a Judenrein state. It wasn’t Hamas, which also cannot  claim  the Temple’s destruction. Both of these organisations are external enemies that still seek the destruction of the State of Israel in their Charters. No, it  was people like Jon Fish Hodgson that were responsible for the destruction of the Temple!  There can be no greater demonstration  of sinat chinan than a Jew who publicly denigrates Israeli, calls for  its destruction  with its associated ethnic cleansing and eradication of  the millions of fellow Jews living in Israel,  and disgracefully adds his voice to the slogan “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free!”  A’le’lay li that I ever heard of you, Jon Fish Hodgson. 

Shame on you, Jon Fish Hodgson!!

About the Writer:

Craig Snoyman is a practising advocate in South Africa.

original article

Palestinian conflict ‘not complex’

By Jon Fish Hodgson*

The Palestinian liberation struggle against the settler colony of Israel is not confusingly “complex”‘. While Palestine’s history is long and detailed, the profound political and ethical dimensions of the so called “conflict” are plain.

It is important to say consistently Israel is a racist, ethno-supremacist, settler-colonial state set on ethnic cleansing. The Palestinian people are struggling for liberation and life. So we must act in solidarity with Palestinian struggles through international boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel.

Israel’s Zionist “might-makes-right” (“kragdadigheid”) ideology was concisely articulated by a long -standing Israeli Prime Minister in 2018:

“There is no place for the weak. The weak crumble, are slaughtered and are erased from history while the strong, for good or for ill, survive. The strong are respected, and alliances are made with the strong and at the end peace is made with the strong.

This recalls Hitler in 1923: “The whole of nature is a mighty struggle between strength and weakness, an eternal victory of the strong over the weak”. This is what the Israeli regime teaches its children.

The conquistadorial Zionist “flag march” two weeks ago involved Israeli children gleefully chanting: “Death to the Arabs!”

As James Baldwin pointed out: “The boys and the girls who were born during the era of the third Reich, when educated to the purposes of the third Reich, became barbarians. Last month the Israeli state and street mobs lynched Palestinians. This week ethnic cleansing continues.

The Zionist’s state’s friends and/or recent weapon trading partners include Neo-fascist Jair Bolsonaro, Victor Orban and Rodrigo Duterte, who likened himself to Hitler; and of course, the openly antisemitic Donald Trump. For Israel is still supported primarily by the US’s weapons and money as well as its vetoes and geopolitical influence. Liberation is a struggle to build counterpower, against  

Zionist efforts to silence dissent are a function of Zionists’ fear of resistance – because of dissent, let alone struggle, is inspiring. Radical Palestinian liberation leader Ghassan Kanafani was assassinated in Lebanon in 1972 because he powerfully inspired others to join the Palestinian liberation struggle.

Two Years before he was murdered Kanafani unmasked questions about “conflict”, “peace talks” and “non-fighting”: “The history of the world is the history of… weak people who has (sic) a correct case fighting strong people who use their strength to exploit the weak … People usually fight for something (in context: liberation)”.

Palestine shows that in liberal politics asserts a double standard towards settlers colonialism: Colonised people are vilified and victim-blamed if they dare fight for liberation, instead of prostrating themselves as innocent and powerless victims.  even this double standard is imposed in bad faith as Israel regularly murders children- on this spurious claim that Hamas (or another convenient bogeyman) is or was “wherever we dropped our bombs”.

Zionism’s “war on the truth” is evident to anyone who learns that Israel bombs schools; or learns that Israeli soldiers routinely maim “peaceful” Palestinian protesters for sport (shooting people in the feet, or legs to prevent them from playing football). 

Regarding Gaza, Israeli leaders call their regular pastime “mowing the lawn” (one MP recently called for “flattening the strip”). We must deny Israel’s manipulative lie that those who resist Zionism are anti-Semitic. Jews, especially, must oppose this slander. Judaism is a complex tradition but it has long tried to teach far better behaviour.  In fact, Zionism itself is anti-Semitic – as more and more Jews are o

Unsurprisingly Zionism’s constitutive racism is apparent in Israel’s oppressive treatment of Mizrahi and especially African and/or black, Jews. A fundamental insight articulated by a black Jewish philosopher Lewis Gordon, via Frantz Fanon is that ethical interaction is impossible between colonists who consider themselves as categorically superior, and colonised people whom the colonists herd into “the zone of non-being”.

Only political action led by colonised people(s) to change these political conditions will enable ethical interaction. Thus, the Palestinian liberation struggle teaches us life, as Palestinian poet-activist Rafeef Zaidah reiterates. Living towards the future requires hope: the understanding that our actions may matter, even if we can’t see how, now. We must be committed to act without guarantees.

Our actions may create ways towards a more just future. We must (re)commit to and agitate for the full international boycott of, divestment from, and sanction on Israel. This includes ending South-Africa’s annual import of R3.4 billion in Israeli goods and services, as well as more in the form of weapons.

From the river to the sea Palestine will be free.

News 24/7


* Jon Fish Hodgson is a Jewish South African who attended Herzlia schools from 1994-2003. He has worked in education for more than a decade.

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

Shame, Shame, Shame, UCT?

The ongoing outrage at the insensitivity of South Africa’s premier university to the victims of Hitler

Following Lay Of The Land publishing an Open Letter by UCT alumnus Stephen Schulman to the Vice chancellor of UCT, Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng, expressing outrage at the seemingly no action taken against a senior lecturer imparting to his students that “Hitler committed no crime”,  we publish the somewhat dismissive reply from UCT – received not from the Vice Chancellor but from the Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Martin Hall –  and Schulman’s fitting response.

Excusing EvilActing UCT Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) Prof. Martin Hall, responds to Schulman’s ‘open letter’.

This unfolding drama although set in Cape Town South Africa, is of global significance as the script and plot is emblematic of the worldwide upsurge in antisemitism and the tepid response of leadership as reflected in UCT’s lackluster interest and resolute willingness to take action.

Vision Impaired. Vice-Chancellor’s Professor Phakeng’s worthy vision for UCT of “Excellence, Transformation and Sustainability” is undermined by unworthy conduct of its lecturers and leadership.

Quick to support removing offending statues on campus or changing names of buildings for offending sectors of South Africa’s population, no such concern of sensitivity extends by UCT’s leadership to today’s Jews in South Africa!


UCT replies to Stephen Schulman:

Dear Stephen Schulman

The Vice-Chancellor has asked me to reply to your email of 27 June.

 It is not the case that Dr Lushaba issued a statement that : Hitler committed no crime. All Hitler did was to do to white people what white people had normally reserved for black people.” Rather, an unknown  person  extracted a short clip from a 30-minute recording of a first year lecture delivered on line, and posted the clip on social media.  The overall subject of the lecture was acts of genocide committed by colonial powers against indigenous communities, in the context of changing interpretative models within the disciplinary field of political studies. It is apparent from the full recording that Dr Lushaba’s reference to Hitler was intended ironically.

Understandably, the wide distribution of this clip on social media has caused extensive concern and distress.  The university is currently reviewing the full lecture in the context of the curriculum the context and our expectations of our teaching staff.  We expect this review to be completed shortly.


Emeritus Professor Martin Hall

Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor, Transformation

University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3,

Rondebosch, 7701 South Africa

Phone: 27 (0) 21 650 2175/6




Dear Professor Hall,

Thank you for your prompt reply of the 29th instant. It is much appreciated as I understand that Prof. Phakeng is heavily burdened with her onerous manifold duties and so is unable to reply in person.

The gist of your letter is that some of Lushaba’s students, those who viewed the video clip and all others (including myself and a large number of other UCT alumni) who read the words he said, unfortunately not being endowed with his elevated faculties, were incapable of understanding his lofty wit because according to your interpretation as official UCT spokesman: “It is apparent from the full recording that Dr Lushaba’s reference to Hitler was intended ironically”. Moreover, we should also understand that these words having been said by a black African in the context of his lecture on “…acts of genocide committed by colonial powers against indigenous communities in the context of changing interpretative models within the disciplinary field of political studies,” should evoke more understanding and empathy. Accordingly, in the light of these facts we are in fact doing this gentleman a grave injustice by displaying an acute lack of sensitivity and leveling unfounded accusations of Holocaust denial and blind racism at him.

Lushaba’s very words: Hitler committed no crime.” are abhorrent in any context and in no way absolves him from condemnation. In some European countries, Holocaust denial is a crime and Lushaba would spend time in court explaining his warped sense of humour. Even if, as you claim, he also spoke ironically about white people as being putative genocidal perpetrators, then this is a sick and dismal failure at trying to be witty and a flagrant disregard for the feelings of others.

Scary Signs. “Hitler committed no crime,” says UCT Political Science lecturer, Dr. Lwazi  Lushaba, with no action to date taken. What are South African Jews to think as to the direction of their country?

I find your explanation completely unacceptable and your attempt to paper over his racism and whitewash his words (I hope that at UCT this term is still politically correct!) wholly unconvincing and I do not retract one word from my previous letter. Moreover, judging from your reply, you have dispensed with impartiality and have already reached a conclusion, exculpating him on the grounds of a simple ‘misunderstanding’.

I find the behaviour of the University of Cape Town devoid of any sensitivity. It is both shocking and outrageous. Since his words were made public and caused widespread outrage approximately two and a half months have already gone by and still UCT “is currently reviewing the full lecture”!! Why this foot dragging?

Why this prevarication?

At this pace of proceeding, it will take longer than the gestation period of an elephant to present the findings! 

In this lengthy period, the university as an influential public institution with an incumbent responsibility towards the community, well aware of the whole affair and its ramifications, has elected to remain silent.

Why the silence?

That silence speaks volumes. That silence has given Lushaba a tacit endorsement of his words and a license to continue disseminating his hatred. These are difficult times with increases in intolerance, racism and a rise in anti-Semitism.

The silence of UCT makes it complicit.

Even in the bad days of Apartheid, UCT was a liberal institution and would not have countenanced such behaviour by any staff member. The university is currently in the throes of transformation and from its treatment of this sad affair, we fear all is not well.

Talking of Irony! “Spes Bona” meaning “good hope” on the University’s logo,  South African Jews can be excused for questioning, “what hope?” when Hitler’s mass murder is explained as having been “no crime”.   

We call upon the University of Cape Town to promptly and publicly censure Lushaba, condemn his words and issue a public apology. If it wishes to continue bearing this august name, nothing else will suffice

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Schulman

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

A call to stop hate fell on deaf ears

The South African Muslim Judicial Council and South African Jewry

By Adv. Craig Snoyman


I spent the last couple of weeks trying to hawk this article to South Africa’s main-stream media but to no avail – maybe too hot to handle.

I sent the article first to the newspapers that had first published the raging issue distressing the Jewish community, then to the larger media houses and eventually to the South African Jewish press. Maybe the language was too strong or too emotive, but then religious issues generally are.

I confess my sin in advance – hence Mea Culpa!

While there was no media interest – and one can question the reasons why – I believe it’s an important issue that needs to be aired.  So I took the article, dusted it off, spruced it up at little and here it is. Forgive me but this non-South African website, with a large South African readership, was at the back of the line.

While the issue is about the South African Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) and South Africa Jewry, I believe it may well be of global interest. Anti-Israel voices have a habit of morphing into anti-Jewish voices. Ignoring incitement and hate-speech doesn’t solve problems. Incendiary cyber-messaging and vicious online-abuse isn’t going to stop on its own. Disinviting an Israeli-owned food truck from a Philadelphia food fair is not going to cause a stir unless the issue is aired. Inflammatory rabble-rousing demanding that a particular school, which has mixed Jewish-Muslim learner ratio have to debate the Israel-Palestine issue, while insisting that only a pro-Palestinian radical speaker participate, does not contribute to a climate of calm. The flood of antisemitic tropes – only some of them masquerading as anti-Zionism – can be anticipated to lead to violence against Jews in the streets; or BDS activists deciding that they won’t tolerate Israeli products in shops. Once antisemitic violence has happened, it can’t be undone.  Unfortunately, this behaviour is not only expected, but is clearly foreseeable.

It was for this reason that South Africa’s Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Warren Goldstein extended an olive branch of peace to the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) and Jamiatul Ulama South Africa. He called on them, by all accounts privately and discretely, to sign a Joint Statement, in which they would publicly call on their  respective constituents to respect each other as citizens of South Africa; and not threaten each other  because  of  their differing views on the Middle East. What he was really asking for, was a public statement by the MJC calling on its constituents to stop harassing his flock and make the clear distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

It was a call stop the hate

Call it out so that it will stop.

The Muslim Judicial Council took the proffered olive branch, broke it in two and then poked the Chief Rabbi’s eye with it!

It was not the MJC‘s constituents that were being harassed or intimidated. They could speak from a position of strength, and they did. The MJC unequivocally and publicly rejected the Chief’s overture and their rejection published in the national papers. They also went running to the Anglican Archbishop seeking him to agree that the offending eye should be plucked out.


Why does the rejection of a request make by a Jew to a Muslim require the sanction of a Christian?

Reacting to Rabbi.  South Africa’s Muslim Judicial Council  publicly and scornfully rejected the Chief Rabbi’s overture for tolerance and understanding between their religious communities.

The MJC – in further justifying their decision not to issue a joint statement – stated that:

  “The stance by members of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, headed by Chief Rabbi Goldstein, is diametrically opposed to our moral position that most of the freedom-loving people have adopted in so far as it refers to condemning the violence and apartheid policies meted out against Muslim and Christian Palestinians on a daily basis by the apartheid regime in Israel.” 

Factually, the justification is incorrect. The Chief Rabbi has no official position in the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD). The SAJBD is a separate independent body.  The Chief Rabbi acted in his position as head of the Union of Orthodox Synagogues and as titular leader of the Jewish community. On several interfaith functions, where the MJC has participated as well, the Rabbi has acted in this capacity. It is therefore surprising, at the very least, that the MJC could make such a clearly fallacious allegation. But the statement goes further. There is an inferential blaming of the South African Jews for the actions of the regime in Israel.  This skates very close to, if not on, a long-existing, well-worn antisemitic canard, that  Jews can be denigrated simply because they hold the “wrong” position on Israel.

While the MJC added that it did not support or condone intimidation, threats or violence at any level and called on all peace-loving pro-Palestinian protesters to maintain the necessary discipline at all times, this was hardly the case and the Chief Rabbi  was, and is, well aware of the turbulence that has racked and continues to rack his community. Apart from two reported physical assaults – one a Jew, allegedly by Muslims returning from a pro-Hamas rally and one in a shopping centre largely frequented by Jews – the threats of death (“Khaybar, Khaybar, the army of Mohamed will return”, “We’ll finish off Hitler’s work”) the other vocal abuse ( e.g. “Nazi’s” “Zio-Nazi’s”) are in a completely different class to the very vocal  chant of “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free”. Virtually every Jewish personality in South Africa with a public profile was overwhelmed with vitriolic antisemitic (as opposed to Anti-Zionist ) comments on their social media sites. The spate of  the vicious antisemitism that flooded social media may have died down, but it has not disappeared. There are still calls NOT to serve Jews, from certain shop-owners.  Most, if not all of this, seems to have originated from the MJC‘s constituency. The ongoing call to boycott Jewish citizens because they are stereo-typed as  supporters of  Israel  and the call for consumers to stop shopping at stores because they stock Israeli product, is also unabated. That the Chief Rabbi felt that the need to reach out to the Muslim leaders is understandable. One can be reasonably sure that these issues and perceived consequences, were raised by him in discussion. However, the MJC‘s bland response calling on “all peace-loving pro-Palestinian protesters to maintain the necessary discipline”  does not adequately address the issue; and allows for simmering intolerance.

Sowing the Seeds of Discord. Inviting the conflicts of the Middle East into South Africa.

When one looks at the MJC‘s declaration, stating that they do not condone violence and intimidation, it does not address cyber-hate  or ongoing threats to Jewish South Africans or even the relationship between Muslim and Jewish South Africans. Only the MJC‘s “peace-loving pro-Palestinian protesters” (does one hear of any other type of protesters?) are called on to maintain discipline. The issue of private individual conduct is not dealt with, nor is the aspect of on-line hate and other forms of specific ethnic harassment or ethnic interaction. The MJC could not have been oblivious to them. It issued a “catch-all” boiler plate statement to be wheeled out for all occasions.

Stocking Hatred of Jews. Demonstrators marching through the city centre in Cape Town on May 12, 2021 holding banners falsely accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza while ignoring the over 4000 rockets fired from Gaza into civilian areas in Israel.(RODGER BOSCH/AFP via Getty Images.)

The casual attitude taken by the MJC is confusing and a matter for concern. On the one hand its position seems to be: “Yes we acknowledge that there should be respect and tolerance between the different religions in South Africa”  while on the other hand it states that  “we cannot be seen to agree with you publicly on the issue of peace and tolerance, because then  we would be betraying the Palestinian cause”. 

These positions are a non-sequitur! 

  • Can one not support peace and tolerance in South Africa and still support the Palestinian cause? 
  • Can one say that one is obliged to refuse to sign a document supporting peace and tolerance because to sign it constitutes a betrayal of the “Palestinian cause”?
  • Can one say that the MJC‘s position is that the “Palestinian cause” is more important to the MJC than peace and tolerance between Jew and Muslim in South Africa?
  • Can one say that the MJC‘s position is that it is not necessary for the incidents of abuse of Jews by Muslims in South Africa does not need to be called out in an effective manner?

All of these propositions would seem to be justified.

The MJC then takes the matter a step beyond a domestic national issue of ethnic tolerance. Rather than address the issue directly,  the MJC deflects and introduces foreign politics and “the Palestinian cause into the equation or  can  one say  the Palestinian cause is made the totality of the equation?

How should one understand “the Palestinian cause” and “support for the besieged people of Gaza”? Does support for the besieged people of Gaza also include support for Hamas, an internationally recognised terrorist organisation, which rules the territory? 

Quo Vadis? Chief Rabbi calls on Muslim religious leaders in SA to issue joint call for tolerance over Gaza conflict was totally rejected.

Do they support the firing of over 4 300 rockets toward civilian targets in Israel from the Gaza strip? The MJC is silent on the issue of the conduct of Hamas but embraces the noble Palestinian cause as “a dignified struggle that requires demonstrating the highest integrity and discipline”. Is Hamas viewed as being included within this dignified struggle? Is Hamas – whose charter declares it seeking the destruction of Israel – also part of the dignified struggle of the noble Palestinian cause which it embraces? 

Where does one draw the line?

And why should this political opinion affect its conduct and attitude toward the safety of South African Jewry?

The MJC is aware of the opinion of its constituents in South Africa.   Numerous rally posters called for “Free Palestine”  nd  “From the river to the sea, Palestine shall be free”. The MJC has not disassociated itself from these sentiments. So what is this noble Palestinian cause which requires a dignified struggle of the highest integrity and discipline?

Is it supporting one Palestinian state from the river to the sea, necessitating the elimination of the State of Israel?

Or is it supporting the existence of an independent Palestinian state, co-existing with an independent Jewish state of Israel?

Or should one then accept that the MJC support of the “noble cause” includes the violent overthrow of the Jewish state and condones the launching of rockets against Israel’s civilians? 

Does the noble cause include Hamas’ fundamental position that Jews are to be killed wherever in the world they are to be found?  By rejecting the offer of peace between South African Jews and South African Muslims in favour of the “noble Palestinian cause”, is the MJC stating that the noble cause includes the elimination of Jews in South Africa? 

Is the MJC conflating antisemitism and  anti-Zionism?.

The seemly-obligatory defamatory attack on the State of Israel by the MJC is revealing. The public and political posturing of the MJC could only be for public consumption for a simple and polite rejection to Rabbi Goldstein would have been adequate. It is clear that the MJC‘s battle is one to win hearts and minds of third parties. Why the need to falsely declare Israel an Apartheid state, which is a distortion of the facts as well as a distortion of the definition of Apartheid?

Clearly there is a battle to win over the Christian communities. It sought support from the Anglican Archbishop in order to solicit an unconditional Christian endorsement of the Muslim rejection. So the MJC went public; they rejected the Jews and sought the endorsement of the Christians.

The South African Jews, save for Chief Rabbi Goldstein, almost – unforgivably – kept quiet!

So again to spell it out. Israel is not an Apartheid state, even if it is a catchy jingle. Every Arab citizen of Israel has the same political rights as any other citizen of Israel. There was never an African party allowed to represent its constituents in parliament during the period of Apartheid. Robert  Sobukwe was never offered a position in B. J. Vorster’s  Nationalist cabinet. However, Arab parties have been in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, since the inception of the State of Israel. Mansour Abbas and his Ra’am Arab Islamist  political party are part of a new Israeli government, with Abbas an equal amongst equals. Any specific allegation of Apartheid can be easily refuted.

Distortion and Deception

Following the MJC emotively and publicly seeking the support of the Christian community with its inflammatory false allegations against Israel, it was left to the Chief Rabbi to warn South African Christians to be on guard and at least question what was being fed to them by the MJC.

Those well versed in what is happening in the Middle East know the true situation of Christians living under Muslim rule. While there are more Christians living under Israeli rule than there have ever been, the same cannot be said for Christians under Palestinian rule.  In Palestinian Gaza, the Christian population had dropped from 5,000 to under 1,000 in 2018. From 5% of the population under the control of the Palestinian Authority, the Christians now constitute less than 2% and the Christian population in the disputed territories continues to decrease. In the “little town of Bethlehem” the beleaguered Christians once constituted over 80% of the  population. Today, under the Palestinian Authority they now count at less than 10,000 or less than 10% of the city’s population and continues to decrease. This is the real “Christ at the Crossroads” and has nothing to do with Israel as the MJC would like South African Christians believe.

The Chief Rabbi sought to protect his flock from foreseeable harm and alleviate a climate of increasing hostility. He extended a gesture of peace. The MJC scorned it.

The Chief Rabbi sought to avoid the issue of religious sectarian hate, violence and intimidation arising in South Africa. The MJC chose instead to play politics, importing issues of the Middle East into South Africa.

The Chief Rabbi called for a statement of peace. The MJC chose the Palestinian cause over peace.

The Chief Rabbi opened his hand in peace. The MJC redefined the concept of peace and figuratively spat on his hand.

Resolute Rabbi. Chief Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein who had earlier stood up to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s anti-Israel statement in the media, when asked for Muslim leadership to join him in calling for tolerance and non-violence was met with angered rejection.

It is time that the Muslim Judicial Council come forward and set out its position publicly, in the same way it did when it summarily dismissed Chief Rabbi Goldstein’s approach.  Where does it stand  and what lines are crossed if one calls for ethnic tolerance in South Africa? Similarly, having announced that it supports the “noble Palestinian Cause”, one should be able to understand if this a policy rather than a slogan. If support for a distant Palestinian cause is preferable over peace and tolerance toward fellow South African citizens who happen to be Jewish what then is the MJC‘s attitude toward Christians who are also supporters of Israel? Will they too be attacked or are they too large a group to be bullied as was the case with South Africa’s Chief Justice, who also called for peace in Jerusalem? Are they also to be sacrificed on the high altar of the Palestinian cause? The Muslim Judicial Council’s strategy of public rejection has a concurrent obligation – a reasonable explanation not simple slogans of “noble Palestinian causes”. 

Talk policy, don’t mouth slogans! 

About the writer:

Craig Snoyman is a practising advocate in South Africa.

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

The Deafening Silence of Assent

By Stephen Schulman

We can’t replace what was lost in the fire, and the pandemic is with us for some time to come, but if we help one another, and continue to show care and kindness towards each other, we will emerge stronger.”

Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

There is a Setswana proverb that goes Motho ke Motho ka batho. In isiZulu, it goes umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu. As we commemorated Africa Month in May, we at the University of Cape Town (UCT) felt this spirit of ubuntu that is not limited to Batswana or AmaZulu or South Africans alone but Africans in general as a people who naturally prioritise the well-being of others and understand that we are, because of others and that in lifting others up, entire nations rise.”

Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

An Open Letter to Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng


The University of Cape Town

22th June 2021

Dear Professor Phakeng,

On the eve of International Holocaust Day, Lwazi Lushaba a lecturer in the political science department of UCT issued the following statement:

Hitler committed no crime. All Hitler did was to do to white people what white people had normally reserved for black people.”

It should be noted his views were not a private expression aired on the electronic media but stated in his official capacity as a university faculty member giving a prerecorded lecture to first year political science students.

Given the status of Lushaba, his influence, together with the enormity of his statement and its ramifications on university policy and campus culture, it is essential to analyze his words and their significance:

Hitler committed no crime.

Simply put, in his eyes, the Holocaust, the industrialized genocide of six million Jews of Europe was perfectly acceptable. The brutalization and untold suffering of the citizens of the countries invaded and occupied by the Nazi regime meets with his approval and the myriad heinous crimes against humanity perpetrated by Hitler and his henchmen in no way deviate from his societal norms. It is common knowledge that as a result of Nazi ideology and policies; tens of millions of innocent men, women and children perished. However this to Dr. Lushaba, is insignificant and inconsequential.

The New Abnormal. UCT academic Dr Lwazi Lushaba’s claimed in an online lecture – shortly before Holocaust Memorial Day – that “Hitler committed no crime”. “All Hitler did,” the senior political studies lecturer continued, “was to do to white people what white people had normally reserved for black people.”

Lushaba’s words place him in the front ranks of infamous Holocaust deniers, linking arms, amongst others, with the Mullahs of the despotic Iranian regime noted for its suppression of human rights, spreading of international terrorism and the avowed aim of destroying Israel, the notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan and his followers and – strangely enough for a black African – the members of extreme right wing and neo-Nazi movements.

“All Hitler did was to do to white people what white people had normally reserved for black people.”

Here, the esteemed Dr. Lushaba justifies his blatant antisemitism and historical distortions with a qualifying sentence.  The introductory words: “All Hitler did was…” are most instructive since this phrase is commonly used to downplay the importance or the consequences of an action such as: “All I did was to grab him by the ear” or “All they did was to break one window!” He then arrives at the crux of his argument:  “…to do to white people what white people had normally reserved for black people.” The message is quite clear: the millions of innocent people – men, women and children – that Hitler systematically murdered got their just desserts and deserved their cruel deaths because of their white skin. He decides that on account of their pigmentation each and every one of the victims was an innate racist, a white supremacist and potential mass murderer of black people who like the Nazis would have had no compunction in setting up death camps and organizing murder squads to execute the genocide of all black people. By clear inference, Lushaba’s crackpot, defamatory and sick ideology of ‘predeterminism’ would also apply to all the white people today!

Here, dear Vice Chancellor Phakeng, clearly spelt out for all to see, are the ravings of an out and out anti-Semite and racist. An individual with a mind so corroded by hatred, so devoid of all vestiges of reason and so warped by venom that he has lost all moral and ethical compass. He is so deeply mired in his poisonous bigotry that he willfully distorts history even choosing to ignore the fact that Roma, Sinti and darker skinned Jews of the Middle East were among Hitler’s victims too. His beliefs fly in the face of all the values that a liberal university stands for. Such a sick minded person has no place on a campus.

In the wake of consequent protests and condemnations and in the light of your above statements in the official alumni newsletter, as a concerned alumnus of UCT, I expected an appropriate and official reaction. A reaction did come but only from Declan Dyer the mealy mouthed head of the Student’s Representative Council (SRC) who supported Lushaba by pathetically explaining away that his words:

“should be seen in context!”

Seen in context!!! Should the Holocaust be explained away by seeing it in context? Should the slave trade both past and present be thus rationalized? Should Apartheid and genocide “be seen in context?” The words of the head of the student body expose him both as a simpleton and ignoramus!

The words of Lushaba are shocking and outrageous. Infinitively more shocking and outrageous is the behaviour of the University of Cape Town that has chosen the policy of remaining silent. Over two months have passed since his vile utterances and silence still prevails. Lushaba’s behaviour has impugned the bedrock tenets of UCT and yet the Senate, University Council and academic community have made the decision to ignore his words. You all had a choice: to speak out and in so doing, confirm the values on which the university was founded; or acquiesce in intolerance and racism. You chose the latter. There has never been any censure, nor has an apology ever been demanded. Not a word of protest has been uttered. Not a weak whinny, not a plaintive bleat, not even a perfunctory peep has been heard! Your silence is the silence of assent. By electing to remain silent, you have deliberately chosen to condone his words, give your stamp of approval and stand behind him and his dissemination of hatred and lies.

In an alumni newsletter you wrote:

“…..if we help one another, and continue to show care and kindness towards each other, we will emerge stronger.”

In the following one you quote a Setswana proverb:

“…. Africans in general as a people who naturally prioritise the well-being of others.”

These are admirable sentiments, but in the light of your university’s actions, ring hollow and are completely meaningless. You have consented to his desecration of the memory of all victims of Nazi persecution and of those that fought against it, South Africans included – both black and white. You have permitted him to deeply offend the Jewish community, grossly insult fellow South Africans and tread roughshod over their sensibilities. Is this your message for Nelson Mandela’s Rainbow Nation? Where is your professed compassion? Where is the tolerance and inclusiveness?

Racism is racism no matter who says it. It cannot be justified for whatever reason and those that preach it must be condemned. When a white person attributes pejorative and demeaning characteristics and traits to all black people, that is racism. When a black person declares that all white people are inherently evil, that is racism. The virulent hatred that Lushaba harbours and nurtures within him is no different from that which many white nationalist racists in the Apartheid era felt towards black people and other groups. He is no better than them and he has simply become their mirror image!

The half century of official Apartheid thankfully ended in 1994. Since then, almost three decades have passed. Rhodes has fallen and is no more. His faeces smeared statue has departed the campus. UCT is now an African university with much to do to help the country and the continent with its expertise and involvement. It has many challenges to face: Presently, South Africa is well on the way to becoming a failed state and many of its neighbours are beset with problems. It is natural and understandable that a large residue of resentment from the injustices of Apartheid era still exists and much healing remains to be done. Nevertheless, if the university does not extricate itself from past hatreds and divest itself from Lushaba and his ilk, then it cannot move into the future. Your silence as vice chancellor and figurehead of the University of Cape Town bodes ill for this once august and liberal institution.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen Schulman,

Ramat Hasharon,


While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

In Every Generation

By Rolene Marks

Jews know too well the dangers of antisemitism as it changes from generation to generation.

We have been raising the alarm for years. Antisemitism has a way of mutating into a different form every couple of decades or so but its roots and bones are always the same – a seething, venomous, irrational hatred of Jews and anything that is seen to be representative of us. Today that alarm is ringing out louder than we have heard for decades.

Over the centuries, this has manifested in accusations of deicide, blood libels and refusal to conform to idolatry or other religious doctrines. Jews have endured exile, auto-da-fé , Inquisition, pogroms, the Holocaust and the latest iteration – any and all attempts to demonise our nation state, Israel, while applying gross double standards and attempts to call into question its legal, internationally recognized sovereignty.

Every Passover, we Jews gather at our Seder tables and read the ancient passages that have sustained us through generations. One of those passages we read, speaks of how in every generation there are those who rise up to try and destroy us.

We have survived them all.

We are no strangers to manifestations of antisemitism, be they the genteel murmurings of the champagne socialist elite or the outright and sometimes violent actions of the anti-Israel activists. Following the recent flare up between Israel and Hamas that has come to be known as “Operation Guardians of the Wall”, antisemitism seems to have taken on a more insidious iteration.

Unveiling Her Insights! Among the pop stars who waded into the conflict between Israel and Hamas was Singer Halsey who wrote on Twitter: “It is not ‘too complicated to understand’ that brown children are being murdered.”

For many of us, the world seems to have tilted on its axis. The rise of “woke” culture that is centred on identity politics is creating more division than tolerance. While we are having very important and long overdue conversations about race, it seems that this dialogue excludes antisemitism and the results of this exclusion has never been more evident than in the wake of Operation Guardians of the Wall.

Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians is seen through the prism of identity politics. Jews and in this case Israelis are seen as white, Ashkenazi of European descent, engaged in a war against the Palestinians who are people of colour. Singer Halsey, evidenced this in the following Tweet.

This seems to be this generation’s manifestation and not only does it display great ignorance of the facts and history but negates the narrative and experience of the many Jews who were expelled from Arab countries, including North Africa and not forgetting the story of Ethiopian Jewry. It excluded the Jews of India and the African continent and the fact that the majority of Israelis are in fact, to use the parlance of the trendy, “people of colour”. Today’s generation is very attracted to social justice issues and this is admirable but the problem lies in their lack of understanding of history and facts. When it comes to understanding the conflict, context is king and facts and nuance matter. One does not become an expert on the Middle East by looking at memes on Instagram or Tweets from celebrities, models, pornstars (I am not joking!) late night talk show hosts and social media influencers desperate to prove their blue-tick social justice credentials.

Israel’s detractors know this too well and realise that placing the conflict against a background of identity politics, while relying on the ignorance of many, is a formula that unfortunately seems to be working well. They use words like “Apartheid” or “colonialists” which are highly emotive as their central accusation against Israel and as a result of this, Hamas with their genocidal intentions are now seen as resistance fighters and the Israeli Defense Forces as the aggressors. A moral equivalence has been drawn and Israel is the only country that has to defend its right to defend itself against attacks on its sovereign territory. History be damned!

I told you the world was topsy turvy and off its axis!

This is also compounded by politics. While Israel enjoys strong bi-partisan support in the United States, the increasingly vocal and acrimonious “Squad” whose trio of vociferous Israel-bashers, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Rashida Tlaib, have displayed an incredible ability to read the room. In other words they understand the power of the language that they use and platforms that their constituents flock to which is social media. These Queens of Identity Politics have a clear agenda and are not afraid to push it and dismiss them as a small but loud minority at your peril. Today’s leaders may not pay as much heed as they should but they are extremely influential amongst the movers, shakers and opinion makers of tomorrow.

Young Israelis Today.  If those anti-Israel celebrities and pop stars visited Israel they would know its Jewish population is a kaleidoscope of complexions, a far cry from the lies and distortions about Israelis they tweet to their millions of adoring followers.

Global institutions and mainstream media have also joined the milieu. Hardly a day goes by without the United Nations and its agencies condemning Israel for something and the once venerated global institute is more synonymous these days for institutionalized antisemitism. Where are the resolutions condemning antisemitism that is rife in the streets of cities around the world? Where was the emergency session when convoys of hate rolled through London screaming “Fuck the Jews, rape their women” or when diners were beaten up in Los Angeles and other cities? Silence. Raping Jewish women is not going to “Free Palestine”.

Deafening Silence. Where were those celebrities and pop stars on social media following a convoy of cars on May 16, 2021 adorned with Palestinian flags driving through North London whose occupants were
shouting: ‘F**k the Jews,’ ‘Rape their daughters’ and ‘Free Palestine’. (Photo: Screenshot)

The mainstream media are just as if not more guilty. Fueled by competition for ratings, the “David vs Goliath” narrative with its inference that Israel is the giant to the oppressed Palestinian is contributing to the growing hate on the streets. In fact, we can almost draw a direct line between the narrative portrayed on TV and the rise in vicious antisemitism. I have lost count how many times I have been called a “baby killer” as the result of people being fed a steady media diet of very partisan reporting. Most of the media have skipped over the facts that Hamas awarded Al Jazeera for their coverage of the recent flare up, choosing instead to focus on the razing of the media building that housed Associated Press and Al Jazeera and a fair shake of terrorists hell bent on finding ways to destroy Israel’s Iron Dome system. But of course they didn’t know they were sharing office space with Hamas!

It takes a brave news channel to challenge the narrative these days and thank goodness there are those like Sky News Australia or the newly launched GB News in the UK who are not afraid to go head to head with the wokeratti!

And it doesn’t get more “woke” than the Hollywood elites. Desperate to be seen as committed social justice warriors, everyone from Ellen Barkin (is she still relevant?) to John Oliver and supermodels Bella and Gigi Hadid have A LOT to say about Israel. None of it correct. From their sanctimonious perch amongst the mansions and estates of Malibu to Beverly Hills, these faux experts have used their social media platforms to spread dangerously inflammatory rhetoric. Now before we roll our eyes so far back in our heads that we detach our corneas, these schlebs have millions of followers that far outnumber the total amount of Jews on the planet. I do find it vaguely amusing that the Hadid sisters who grew up in the absolute lap of luxury and earn a living wearing next to nothing are suddenly getting in touch with their Palestinian roots. I doubt Hamas take too kindly to Victoria’s Secret models but I could be wrong.

Model Behavior! Male model Anwar Hadid (left), the brother of Palestinian model Bella Hadid, who recently published a host of inciting anti-Israel posts was allegedly caught in a text message exchange, proclaiming he wants Israelis to be “erased from the planet”. Anwar, is seen here with his girlfriend, British pop star Dua Lipa (right), who during the recent Israel Hamas war, posted on Instagram: “The big bad tough guys of the #IDF thoroughly enjoy beating and shooting children”.

So what is the solution? It is quite simple. We have to show up wherever and whenever we can. We have to challenge the hypocrisy and false narrative by sharing the stories of our diverse people and remember our indigenous rights. This is our identity politics. It is sad that we have to politicize our identity but in the narrative war this has become an imperative. In every generation they rise up to try and defeat us. In this generation it is an attack on our very identity and diversity all represented in the existence of our nation state. Israel is a physical manifestation of the ethnic diversity of the Jewish people. We will survive this as we have all the others by being present and proud. One blue tick at a time.

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

A Rabbi and a Self-Hating Jew walk into court with a Newspaper

By Adv. Craig Snoyman

South African Jewry is resilient. They know that their government is vociferously anti-Israel and that when an incident flares up in the Middle East between the Israel and its neighbours, they know to keep their heads down and try and weather the storm.  This time, the captain of the ship was on the starboard, plotting a course to safety and became a target.

Two weeks ago, a three-quarter page article appeared in South Africa’s most widely read national newspaper, the Sunday Times. The headlines blazed:

 “A chief rabbi who is a disgrace to his faith and to human decency.

This prominently placed article was written by a former politician, who is now well past his sell-by date. Once a cabinet minister in the Thabo Mbeki cabinet, his star has faded, but he tries his best to appear news-worthy whenever he can. His sure-safe recipe is knocking Israel or the Jews.  He can do this because he was born a Jew and it’s therefore “acceptable”. It always makes for great conversation when a Jew publicly attacks another Jew, even if the first “Jew” has not an iota of Jewishness, save for the accident of his birth.  This was the situation with our self-hating “Jew”, Ronnie Kasrils. His target was the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Rabbi Warren Goldstein, and he could hardly fail!

The Rabbi vs the Rebel. Ronnie Kasrils’ article in the Sunday Times attacking South Africa’s Chief Rabbi, Warren Goldstein.

Kasrils, who has very publicly renounced his Jewishness, has pooh-poohed the idea that the Jews were chosen by God. He has declared that Jewishness is merely a charade for Jews to hide their racism and their Zionist exclusivity. His article, which he called an open letter to the President, was much of the same.  Many didn’t read past the headline.  It was a sickening headline. In fact it is exceedingly difficult to find a more disturbing headline than this, in any mainstream newspaper anywhere in the free world. It was incredible that a newspaper was prepared to print it. How does one react to big, bold in-your- face print that says – “A chief rabbi who is a disgrace to his faith and to human decency”.

The article itself was filled with the normal vitriol about Israel and the Jews, but it also made an unjustified and unheard-of attack on Rabbi Goldstein. In fact, the last time that I can remember a chief rabbi of South Africa being so viciously attacked was when Rabbi Rabinowitz attacked the Nationalist government for its policy of Apartheid.  It was an uncalled for, ad-hominem attack on the Chief Rabbi  and a rant against many things Israeli or Zionist.  It was an article that had no place in any respectable publication. Kasrils started off his letter by referring to “the illegal occupation by Israel of Palestinian land” which was “the greatest moral issue of our time”. It only got worse from there.  He referred to the anger at the pain and humiliation inflicted on the Palestinian people, to which was an offence South Africa’s core values of equality, justice and human rights. Clearly, Rabbi Goldstein had no justice or compassion of the hundreds of innocent Palestinians who perished in Israel’s “so-called precision bombing” The Chief Rabbi’s version of “the truth” about Sheikh Jarrah was the same as Apartheid’s eviction policy. Similarly the Chief’s statement that there had been many attempts to create a Palestinian state, was “sheer sophistry”. This was because Israel had colonised Palestine in 1948 and had thereafter engaged in expansion, land theft and ethnic cleansing.  It was the Israeli government that had refused to be a partner for peace, while the Palestinians, even Hamas, “had gone out of their way to consider a two-state solution”. It was the Israelis that had rejected proposals, instead insisting on a Bantustan solution. The Chief Rabbi was “obfuscating” if he suggested otherwise. As for Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas’ rockets, “Goldstein [had] callously ignored the rain of death poured into the world’s most densely populated concentration camp where two million inhabitants have no place to hide.” How can he support a “people that smash a small densely populated territory to smithereens because they sustained 12 deaths?” Kasrils did not forget to refer to the dubious quote of Richard Falk that “Palestinian resistance to occupation is a legally protected right” and that Israel was violating international law. He also scoffed at the Chief Rabbi’s reliance on “a property-dealing God who presented another peoples land to the so-called chosen” which was in stark contrast to the belief of Palestinian Christians and Muslims. He concluded by holding that “numerous devout Jews interpret the Hebrew bible very differently to Goldstein and his ilk. His views are not representative of Jews in general” and that “Goldstein’s utterances contradict the golden rule of all religions to treat others as you wish them to treat you”.

Up to his Neck. No, Ronnie Kasrils is not wearring a tallit (prayer shawl worn by Jews) but a Palestinian keffiyeh.

With the Jewish community in shell-shock, the response came in last week’s Sunday Times. Entitled “Kasrils breached acceptable boundaries of civilised discourse” virtually every leading organisation within the Jewish establishment attached its name to this public rebuke.  A small photo-replica of the original article with the offensive heading was attached to the Jewish establishment’s response (just in case it could have been forgotten).  In defending the Chief, Kasrils was accused of breaching acceptable boundaries, demonising and defaming the state of Israel and vilifying and crassly impugning “the integrity of the chief rabbi, Dr Warren Goldstein, the public face of the Jewish faith community in South Africa” and inflaming race relations in South Africa. Notably, the Chief Rabbi was not a signatory to the article.

Like any Jew, I know some things and I have an opinion on some things. They don’t always overlap. I have an opinion on Kasrils’ conduct (which might not be fit to publish) and I know something about the law of defamation in South Africa. My opinion based on my knowledge of defamation is that he has opened himself up to a massive lawsuit. Kasrils, who has been on the winning side of a defamation case previously, must also be acutely aware of this as well.

The law of defamation in South Africa balances the existence of various conflicting constitutional rights such as the right to privacy and dignity against the right to freedom of expression and political rights. In principle, to succeed in a defamation case one needs to prove the following: 

(1) there is a statement

(2) it has been published 

(3) it concerns that person

(4) it is defamatory

(5) it has injured that person in his reputation.

The test to be applied to decide whether a statement is defamatory is whether the words complained of, are reasonably capable of conveying to the reasonable reader a meaning defamatory of that person. One does not need to prove falsity. The quantification of damages is dependent on reputation and character, standing in the community and the extent of the publication.

The party being sued has a variety of defences at his disposal. The most common defence is that while the statement appears on the face of it (prima facie) defamatory, the words were used in a non-defamatory sense and special circumstances are set out.  Other defences might include (a) the absence of intention to cause harm (this defence is not available to the media) or (b) that it was made in jest or (c) that the words were spoken in sudden anger as a result of provocation (referred to as “Rixa”) or (d) lack of knowledge of wrongfulness or (e) denial of wrongfulness i.e., that the defamation was not wrongful. 

There are also defences that would apply where the statement was made in the discharge of an official duty such as (f) qualified privilege or where it was made in parliament being (g) absolute privilege. For statements appearing in the media, there are two   defences that are invariably raised, viz. (h) truth and public interest and (i) fair comment. 

When one looks at the requirements that the Chief Rabbi would have to prove, then elements (1)-(3) are self-evident. The crux of the case would be – the reasonable person test.  If this is successful then element (5) falls into place. I regard myself as a reasonable person. On a simple reading of the article, I find it to be unacceptably egregious. On a deeper reading of the article, I find it to be irredeemably and grievously reprehensible and having no redeeming merit. Thus, on the Chief Rabbi’s version, I believe that he cannot but succeed.  As the Chief Rabbi is the pre-eminent Jew in South Africa, I believe that he should qualify for the largest sum of damages ever awarded for defamation in South Africa.

Heading to Court. The man Kasrils has accused of as “a disgrace to human decency”, South Africa’s Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein speaking at Nelson Mandela’s memorial ceremony on December 10, 2013. (Sky News, YouTube)

Strategically and tactically the response was brilliant. Whether intentionally or by chance (or should I say by fate, as Rabbis don’t believe in chance), with the stroke of a pen, the people of the book  vindicated the Chief Rabbi. The entire upper echelons of the Jewish Community, unquestionably comprising of reasonable people, found the article to be, not only defamatory, but as exceeding the bounds of civil discourse and both vilifying and crassly impugning the chief rabbi’s integrity.  One can’t get a much stronger condemnation of Kasrils’ statement than that. No doubt the Chief has a superior legal team advising him. His father, Ezra Goldstein was one of the sharpest judges on the South African bench and certainly one of the most compassionate.  But the Chief Rabbi, no doubt, has a Greater Hand guiding him. I think the whole Jewish community would derive immense satisfaction in seeing him nail this ###%##   BIG TIME, through the agency of this Greater Hand.

Kasrils, on the other is not without his defences. He has revelled in his article, has not denied a single word of it and his only complaint is that it was not published in its totality. Various defences are immediately ruled out. Having called the Chief Rabbi an obfuscating sophist whose views, and that of his ilk, are not representative of Jews in general, he can hardly be seen to raise a defence of absence of intention to cause insult, or that they were not intended to defame the Chief Rabbi.  The defence of lack of knowledge of unlawfulness is moot. Many of our jurists hold that it is an element of intention. Whether unlawful forms part of intention or not, Kasril’s   statement falls within this larger category.  So Kasrils is left with a choice of two defences: truth and public interest or fair comment. To succeed in the defence of truth and public interest requires proof that both (1) the statement was true and (2) that its publication was to the benefit of the public. Just on a summary of his statement as set out, it is unlikely that he can prove either. Which leaves Kasrils with one defence, that of fair comment. The elements required to be proven for this defence are (1) that it was a comment and not a statement of fact; and (2) that the comment was “fair” (in that it does not exceed certain limits); and (3) the facts commented on were truly stated and (4) the matter was in the public interest. With several facts indisputably incorrect as well as a response from the entire Jewish establishment that Kasrils’ comment breached acceptable boundaries of civilised discourse, it will be difficult for a judge to hold that this defence has any merit either.

Last but not least, the law also provides the Chief Rabbi with a further useful line of attack. Even if Kasrils were able to show circumstances providing a justification for his statement, such a defence should fail, if it can be shown that he intended to injure the Chief Rabbi in his reputation. As my maths teacher used to say: Quod Erat Demonstratum! (Roughly translated: this which has been proved)

In defamation cases like this, not only is the writer of the article sued, but the publisher is as well. There have been cases where even the distributor and the printer of the newspaper have been sued as well. In this case, it would probably be adequate to sue Kasrils and the owners/ publishers of the Sunday Times.

Like all juicy court cases, there is invariably a twist in the tale.  This one is no different. Following this notorious article, Kasrils was interviewed on a Muslim television channel.  He went on record as stating that he was not responsible for the headlines that appeared above his article, that was done by the newspaper itself. It is almost inconceivable that the largest national newspaper, with top-class legal advisors on tap, could have created such a stupefyingly defamatory headline. Our Supreme Court of Appeal has made it abundantly clear that the public media cannot rely on the absence of animus injuriandi to escape liability, (although it may rely on absence of negligence.) If Kasrils is to be believed, not only would it appear that the Sunday Times had been negligent, but it would seem that a case might be made for malevolent premeditation and malice in choosing the headline.  That the Sunday Times first published and then republished the headlines a week later, when the response was published, places it in a very invidious position. Not only has the headline been published twice in hard copy, but these headlines appear around the world in soft copy and remain on record.

No place to hide!

The newspaper’s legal team are going to have their work cut out for them, in the event of defamation litigation being instituted.

I am one of those South Africans who keeps my head down. I am not part of the Jewish establishment. I don’t know what the Chief Rabbi will do. In response to the article, I have bought a Jewish National Fund Certificate so that a tree will be planted in Israel in the name of Ronnie Kasrils.  I really hope that the Chief Rabbi will sue and get the biggest defamation award ever issued in South Africa and then donates it to a Zionist cause in the name of Kasrils. ….and it all has to published in the Sunday Times!

About the author:

Craig Snoyman is a practising advocate in South Africa.

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO) .

Enough is Enough

For antisemites, enough is never ever enough as the last 2000 years of history attests

By David. E. Kaplan

Puzzled, people frequently ask of the Holocaust:

 “How could Jews allow themselves to walk in their millions to their slaughter?”

So why not puzzled when Jews collectively band together, restore sovereignty in their ancestral homeland after 2000 years of insufferable exile and incessant persecution and finally – DEFEND themselves?

Then the global community reframes the narrative:

Hold it; how can you behave this way?”

In other words – “How dare Jews defend themselves?”

The world is okay with Jews as victim never as victor!

Always lawyered-up to the teeth to ensure compliance with the international rules of war, Israel’s army is also expected to run a constant audit of casualties to comply with an antisemitic prerequisite of “proportionality”.

If even Sartre was baffled when asked in conversation to explain antisemitism, suggesting it defies rational explanation, then one hardly needs to be a philosopher to deduce:

It is less a matter of WHAT JEWS DO and more a matter of WHO JEWS ARE!

Never to be Repeated. Rejected by the world and later to be murdered, Jewish refugees aboard the S.S. St. Louis arriving in Antwerp, Belgium after over a month at sea, during which they were denied entry to Cuba, USA and Canada. (Three Lions/Hulton Archive/Getty Image)

If the world showed scant regard to the over 4000 rockets fired from Gaza at Israel’s civilian population, then a stark reminder of the world’s apathy towards the plight of Jews in times of crisis was brought home this week when reading of the passing of 94-year-old Herbert Karliner in Florida, USA.  He was one of the last survivors of the ill-fated SS St. Louis, which was forced to return to Europe in 1939 after being turned away from Cuba, the United States and Canada with more than 900 Jewish refugees trying to flee Nazi Germany. When the ship returned to Europe, about 250 of the passengers were murdered in the Holocaust, including Karliner’s parents and his two sisters.

We were so close to Miami Beach, I could see it,” Karliner once recalled.

So close!

Voyage of the Dammed. Herbert Karliner (right) with his father on  the ill-fated SS St. Louis, which was forced to return to Europe in 1939 after being turned away from the United States, Cuba and Canada with more than 900 Jewish refugees.

If the fleeing Jews in their desperate crying appeals from the ship’s railings fell on deaf ears of the governments of the USA and Canada – bastions of Western democracy – condemning them to certain death, who can Jews EVER depend on?

The transparently antisemitic attitude towards the plight of the Jew during WWII was chillingly articulated by a senior Canadian immigration official when asked how many Jews should be considered for entry into Canada.

His reply:

None is too many.”

Less publicly blunt but ad idem in sentiment was FDR, for under his wartime presidency, the American door to Jews remained closed. Apart from setting up a “committee” to strike the right pose, suggesting an open door policy – it was just a veneer.

He had hoped – “Let others open their doors’. 

Few did.

At the Évian  Conference convened in July  in 1938 to address the problem of Jewish refugees wishing to flee persecution by Nazi Germany, only ONE nation out of 32 countries represented, the Dominican Republic, agreed to accept 100,000 refugees. Reflecting the opinion of many of the delegations, the Australian representative, T. W. White, offered this explanation:

As we have no real racial problem, we are not desirous of importing one.”

“No” To Jewish Rescue. In July 1938, Thomas Walter White, representing Australia at the inter-governmental conference on Jewish refugees held at Évian, France, to discuss the growing numbers of Jewish emigrants seeking to leave Germany and occupied territories said: “As we have no real racial problem, we are not desirous of importing one by encouraging any scheme of large-scale foreign migration.”

In other words, European Jewry would be a toxic import into the racial purity of Australians.

What has changed today in global attitudes?

The venomous verbal assault on Israel during the latest Gaza war ranging from acting “worse than the Nazis”, “ethnic cleansing”  and “genocide” – all cunningly usurping Holocaust terminology to reframe Israelis as today’s Nazis – to the more nuanced of  acting “disproportionately”, reveal a revival of Jew hatred until recently thought in decline.


If once herded to their deaths like cattle to the slaughter, today the world expects Israel – the home to the largest Jewish population in the world – should let rockets rain upon their civilian populations and NOT respond.

This thinking is insane but this insanity has a name – antisemitism

The antisemitism that gave rise to the industrial ‘death factory’ of Auschwitz did not start with bricks but words, and the words today whether from the Left, the Right and everywhere in-between are what’s giving rise to the alarming rise of antisemitism across the world. It is why the Simon Wiesenthal Center opens its latest weekly newsletter with an alarming” “NEVER AGAIN has become AGAIN and AGAIN…..”  before listing antisemitic attacks around the world. Its hunting season and Jews are once again the prey…..

Auschwitz Album. Look, stare, cry and ask – how and why? Last Moments before the gas chambers.

If Jews through the millennia faced false accusations preceding persecutions and massacres, today it’s Israel facing these false accusations, even from totalitarian dictatorships like the world’s worst human rights abuser North Korea whose Foreign Ministry in Pyongyang released a statement that read:

It is no exaggeration to say that the whole Gaza Strip has turned into a huge human slaughterhouse and a place of massacring children.” Hyping up the hate against the Jewish state with outrageous falsehoods, the statement continues to allege that Israel’s actions are “a crime against humanity” that challenges the future of humankind and is engaged in “state-sponsored terrorism and [the] act of obliterating other nations.”

June 1, 2021
From headlines around the world: Anti-Semitic attacks spread like wildfire in the US… Officials Say Hate Crimes Against Jews Are Growing… Who’s out protecting us?: Spate of anti-Jewish attacks… A Dangerous and Drastic Surge: Rise in Antisemitic Attacks… Germany sees spike in antisemitic crime. Shades of the Shoah. Headline news compiled by the Simon Wiesenthal Center of widespread rampant antisemitism.

Shades of the Shoah. Headline news compiled by the Simon Wiesenthal Center of widespread rampant antisemitism.

Pathetically and predictably climbing onto the proverbial bandwagon, the South African government condemned Israel’s “unjust attacks on civilians in Gaza….” and said the atrocities should be investigated and referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as possible crimes against humanity. 

Israel defends itself against rockets fired at its civilian population from Gaza – a war crime  in international law –  and the world chastises Israel about “proportionality” and “the toxic optics coming out of Gaza”. The problem was that there was “no optics” coming out from  Israel because the global media hardly covered it.
All we see,” says my family and friends in the UK, USA and South Africa, “is what is happening in Gaza.”

Lives Shattered. The “optics” in Israel that rarely appear in the overseas media. An infant’s swing outside the home of the Wolf family in the central Israeli village of Mishmeret, which was destroyed in the early morning hours of March 25, 2019 by a rocket fired from Gaza. (Jack Guez/AFP)

What’s “toxic” is the  media manipulation of the coverage so much so that North Korea and South Africa can be ‘moral’ bedpartners in ganging up against Israel.  Their only partnering is their shared antisemitism!

If one thing is loud and clear from the rampant rise of global antisemitism and revealing reactions to the recent war between Israel and Hamas is that Israel has to do what it has to do to defend Jews – whether in Israel or abroad. Whatever their disparate perspectives on Israel, Jews today throughout the world can walk tall and feel far more secure than their predecessors in the knowledge there is a national homeland with a powerful army. Because of Israel – NEVER AGAIN will Jews be herded onto trains before walking towards their slaughter – NEVER!

The majority of the world’s Jewish population today lives in Israel and its people are not going anywhere come rockets or rebuke!

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO)

Ghastly in Gaza

That’s life under Hamas

By David E. Kaplan

I no longer feel safe in Gaza,” she sadly lamented and who can blame 26-year-old Rewaa Mershid, who further revealed:

 “I’m looking for ANY opportunity OUTSIDE Gaza.”

If you are thinking the reason for Rewaa’s appeal for ‘wanting out’ is to do with Israel it is quite the opposite  – HAMAS!

Rewaa Mershid is a journalist and one can be excused for thinking

she is in the right place with so much to report on but she says:

I’m a journalist and love journalism, but Gaza isn’t the place for me to continue.”

Hot Seat has become too Hot. Palestinian journalist Rewaa Mershid works at the studio of ZMN FM radio station in Gaza City (Photo: AP)

A reporter for a local radio station in Gaza, Rewaa was filming with a crew near the security fence some two weeks before the 11-day war broke out in May 2021, when a Hamas border patrol arrived on the scene. The ‘offence’ that was playing out to the Hamas officer of the border patrol was not a matter concerning security but that Rewaa NOT wearing a hijab – the religious headscarf worn by religious Muslim women in the presence of any male outside of their immediate family. Words were exchanged, and the next thing the Hamas patrol officer took the matter into his own hands – literally –  by cutting a branch off a nearby lemon tree and then beat the female reporter three times.

This is Hamas ‘justice’.

Sharing later a medical report of her condition with the public, Rewaa revealed she had “bruises in the lower back and the lower part.”

Rewaa Merchid’s bruising was more than physical.

It was an indictment of life under the ruthless rule of Hamas and Rewaa’s treatment was another example of how women’s rights have so deteriorated since Hamas’ rise to power in 2007. While Hamas is quick to blame Israel  – and Egypt  –  for restricting movement in and out of the territory – refusing to acknowledge the justifiable security concerns – it has no problem itself restricting the movement of its women by enforcing that they require the permission of a male guardian to travel. Although women make up 50% of the population in Gaza, their influence in most fields is generally restricted, and their basic rights are often systematically denied. According to Hamas’ 1988 Charter, the role of women in society was explicitly laid out stating that Muslim women are important in that they “manufacture men….”

In the Field. Physically abused by Hamas, Gazan journalist, Rewaa Mershid, now wants out.

A most enlightening insight and ‘respectful’ recognition, it might explain how a Hamas border patrol office whose duty it is to enforce the law feels entitled to strike three times using a branch of a lemon tree on a woman journalist doing her job. No wonder Rewaa Mershid wants to leave; that is if she receives the permission of a male relative.

And if women have it bad in Gaza under Hamas, the children have it even worse.

No kidding!

Brainwashing and manipulating its people for years, Hamas starts on the young – the very young. What chance do they have? While kids around the world make friends and learn to expand their horizons, the children of Gaza are subjected to Hamas’ oppressive authoritarian rule that deprives them of a childhood and teaches them violence and hatred of Jews and Israel. The ones firing the rockets in 2021 are likely to have attended Hamas’ ‘train-to-kill’ summer camps as kids.

Killer Kids. A young Palestinian girl attacks ‘Israeli soldiers’ with a knife in a play held in Gaza as part of the ‘Palestine Festival for Children and Education,’ April 2016 (Channel 2 news)

Every year during the summer vacation,  camps for the young children are held throughout the Gaza Strip. They are mostly organized by Hamas. While social activities, sports and entertainment feature at these summer camps, more significantly  the young participants are subjected to radical Islamic Hamas ideological indoctrination and semi-military training, which includes instruction in firing rockets and abducting IDF soldiers.

Training for Tomorrow. Aiming at Jews and Israelis, Hamas summer camps preparing the Palestinian killers of tomorrow.

Looking back at 2016, when  Gaza kids acted in a play in the Strip’s southern city of Khan-Younis about stabbing and killing Israelis, you see young children brandishing toy knives and guns acting out violent scenes. All part of a ‘festival” in the Gaza Strip, these Palestinian youngsters wore military fatigues as they brandished their toy knives and machine guns simulating violence against Israelis.

Gunning for Israel. Young Palestinian boys hold toy guns in a play held in Gaza as part of the ‘Palestine Festival for Children and Education,’ April 2016 (Channel 2 news)

The event was broadcast on a Hamas television channel dedicated to “culture” (sic).

When Palestinians send their kids to act in these school plays, is it surprising  their kids commit attacks when they mature into adults?

Death to Israel. Undercover and masked, Hamas members prepare incendiary balloons to be launched toward Israel from the Gaza Strip, May 8, 2021 (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP

Were these the same kids that have been sending over incendiary balloons in recent years destroying thousands of acres of agricultural fields and woodlands as well as death to wildlife and in May 2021, fired over 4000 rockets at Israel’s civilian population?


Under Fire. A field burns near Sderot in southern Israel on May 9, 2021 caused by Incendiary balloons from Gaza. (Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council)

The world can make a difference by not pointing blame in the same direction that Hamas is aiming their deadly rockets – at Israel!

Gaza kids put on play about stabbing, killing Israelis

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO)

Sheikh Jarrah – On a wing and a missile

By Craig Snoyman

So why did Hamas fire over 4000 rockets at Israeli cities? 

At the start of the hostilities, the reason was quite confusing. It was because of the Israeli police attacking the people coming from their Ramadan prayers, it was because the Israeli police violated the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque, it was because of the evictions at Sheikh Jarrah, it was because the right-wing Israelis were clashing with Muslims at the Damascus gate, it was because Smotrich had inflamed the situation by visiting Sheikh Jarrah and/or all of the above. Slowly but surely, now that the hostilities are over the scribes are deciding to assign the reason. Sheikh Jarrah wins.

The allegations that police attack innocent prayer-goers is as common as the allegation that dog bites man.  The allegation that Al-Aqsa is being attacked is old hat as is the allegations of Jews attacking Arabs. These are raised periodically and invariably over Ramadan. Smotrich’s conduct is too similar to the debunked Arik Sharon-violence version.  But Sheikh Jarrah remains a live issue! It seems inevitable that there will be more violence over the issue, and it fits very nicely into the “Israel is ethnic- cleansing the Palestinians” mould.

Tension in the Capital. Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood with the city center of Jerusalem in the background.

The Sheikh Jarrah story was not widely known until the start of the hostilities. It revolves around a case that has slowly been wending its way through the Israeli courts for the last forty years and not yet concluded. In 1876, a group of Jews bought the tomb of Simon the Just, the Second Temple High Priest, and the surrounding land. By 1948, there were several hundred Jews living in the area.  This area was captured by the Jordanians in the 1948 War of Independence and taken over by the Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property.  The Custodian leased the property to various Arab occupiers who paid rent for the property. After the re-unification of Jerusalem in 1967, Sheikh Jarrah came under the control of the Israeli Custodian. The Jewish owners put forward their claim of ownership in court and in 1973 were finally successful.  Further litigation followed in the civil domestic courts. (The government was not involved) In 1982, in the magistrates’ court, both parties agreed the Arab occupiers would pay rent to the Jewish owners.  At that stage it was not disputed that the property was owned by Jews.  The Arab occupiers then reneged and failed to pay rent. In 1992, litigation followed seeking payment of rent and prevention of alteration of structures. In February 2021, the Jerusalem District Court, upholding previous decisions, held that the tenants must pay rent or be evicted.  The decision was appealed and is now in the Supreme Court.

Jerusalem under Attack. What began as protests over a matter of residency following failed rental payments and resting with Israel’s Supreme Court, was falsely presented as the  entire Sheikn Jarrah neighnouthood under threat, leading to Hamas in Gaza to fire rockets at Jerusalem beginning the 11-day war. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP]

In South Africa, and other Western countries, illegal occupiers of property are evicted. I was counsel in the first land invasion case in South Africa. One of the defences that we raised was that some of the occupiers were protected as they had Security of Tenure. They could remain on the property as they had occupied the property for a long duration of time. This same defence was raised in the Sheikh Jarrah case and the occupants were also granted what the Israeli court termed “Protected Tenant Status”. While we were successful on behalf of some of the occupiers, hundreds of other occupiers were evicted. Eviction is never an easy process. In South African cities, difficult evictions are usually farmed out to eviction specialists, known as the “Red Ants” (due to the colour of their overalls).  However, due the volatility of the situation, in our invasion case, the whole area was sealed off by tons of armed policemen and armoured vehicles, to ensure that the eviction process could take place. Considering the political volatility that exists, if the Protected Tenants continue to refuse to pay their rent, they will be evicted. The Israeli equivalent of the “Red Ants” (should something like that exists) would be totally inadequate. Like the South African government, the Israeli government will have to intervene and use organs of state to secure the area to ensure the eviction takes place.

And judging by recent history, the dogs of war are quickly unleashed!

The Sheikh Jarrah case is very clearly a civil case with no national players officially having skin in the game. It also has still not been concluded. It can be easily resolved if payment of rental is made. It may be in the interests of certain players to ensure that it is not and seek to force the eviction on political grounds.  This said, whether the matter is regarded as a civil case or a political one, the Sheikh Jarrah case is not the sort of claim that can rationally justify a war or provide a  reason for an attempted genocide of Israelis.  So, the ex post facto reasoning for Hamas to start firing rockets, is completely fake. However, the consequences were very real and extended across the world.

The extent of violence and pure Jew-hatred (anti-Semitism is not a strong enough word, the original German word of “Judenfresser”- Jew Eater- is far more expressive) that erupted as Hamas was lobbing its missiles at civilian occupied areas, was absolutely astounding.  This, unfortunately, was Hamas’ greatest success.

Many people were shocked that Israeli Arabs came out in violent support of Hamas’ action.  Starting in the mixed city of Lod, a rage of violence flared resulting in at least five synagogues being torched and a school and various shops vandalised. This violent rioting by Israeli Arabs soon spread to other mixed cities such as Jaffa, Ramle and Acre. Should one be surprised? 

In 2000, during the “al-Aqsa intifada”, Arab Israelis marched in the streets chanting, “With our souls and our blood we will redeem Palestine.” Jaffa and Haifa, the showcases of Arab-Jewish coexistence, were rocked by violence and vandalism. Twenty years after the Al Aqsa Intifada, Arab Israelis, with full rights as citizens, and without the concomitant obligations, again chose to support terrorists, rather than their own country. The fears of the right-wing Israeli politicians gave voice to a fifth column in their midst. 

More surprising was the response of the international community. President Biden made it quite clear that “Israel has the right to defend itself”. What exactly does this mean?  That under other circumstances, it doesn’t have that right? That it should normally just lay down and die? Other American politicians were urging sanctions on Israel and the suspension of arm sales. Hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans joined some of the largest rallies seen in recent years But these rallies were not in support of America’s greatest ally in the Middle East.  They were protesting against Israel, accusing it of war crimes and bombing innocent women and children. The intellectual philosophers of mass media indulged in mortality porn, judging the fairness of the conflict by the number of deaths on each side, calling it proportionality, while having no idea of the concept. These were also the talking-heads screaming that Israel was committing genocide. Israel lost the battle in America hands down! But in front of the eyes of America, the war was transformed from an anti-Israel war to a war against the Jews. There were over 17000 social media messages claiming, “Hitler was right”.  The signs and messages equating Jews with Nazis filled the newspapers and the TV screens, day after day. The virtually illiterate “social influencers” told their millions of followers on social media that “Israelis are child-killers” and “from the river to the sea Palestine shall be free” collectively reaching millions more people than the POTUS has supporters.

The would-be Picassos daubed swastikas and messages of hate on Jewish institutions and synagogues. It also got physical – people eating in restaurants were assaulted because they were Jewish. Gangs of thugs roamed the streets looking to beat up people who looked Jewish. Those who wore outer symbols of their Jewishness, such as ‘kippas’, were hospital cases waiting to happen. Anti-Semitic incidents, not anti-Zionist incidents, rose a staggering 70%. Collective guilt was enforced, with all Jews held liable for the actions of Israel. All of this happened while Israel was defending itself against and degrading the capacity of a terrorist organisation which had fired over four thousand war crimes against it. All of this happened in the Land of the Free – the USA – Israel’s greatest ally!

What went on in Europe may have been surprising but wasn’t unexpected. Europe is widely perceived to have a latent anti-Semitism which is supine, until some sort of incident ignites it. The incident that ignited it this time was the Israel – Hamas conflict. There were one or two pleasant surprises like the Israeli flag flying over the Austrian Chancellery and Chancellor Kurtz’ tweet that “we stand by Israel’s side” together with heart-warming visits by the foreign ministers of Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. But generally, the position was only slightly worse than what played out in the US. The influx of Muslims into Europe has not resulted in a reduction of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. The trending flavour of the week was to re-post anti-Semitic and anti- Zionist messages. It was also open season on “criminals” who had the audacity to walk on the street while Jewish. There was a special bounty on the heads of anyone who looked like a rabbi, with a reward of as many kicks to the designated head, as felt necessary. The Chinese, who hypocritically commented that the USA has no sympathy for the suffering of Muslims, must have been smiling from ear to bank, as every one of the many pro-Hamas rallies abounded with its “Made in China” Palestinian flags. Not for the first time in history, was Europe a dangerous place for Jews. But then, both the Austrian Chancellor and the German Foreign Minister also did utter that “Israel has the right to defend itself”. Little was said about the Jews in Europe who were unable to do the same. (Never.!….. Again?)

The response of the openly anti-Israel countries was not unexpected. The calls for war-crimes trials against Israel were all recited from the proverbial hymn book.  South Africa, which also called for war crimes prosecutions, went as far as suggesting that Israel was going to invade Africa! A special Human Rights Council session has called for the creation of a permanent “Commission of Inquiry” to monitor and report on rights violations in Israel, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank.  This will no doubt form a permanent addition to its notorious annual agenda Item 7. “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories”.  Once again, Israel, objectively rated as democratic and free – and with a better human rights record that 13 of the 15 members on the Council – stands   convicted  by some of the world’s worst human rights abusers.  The charges will follow. The existence of a permanent “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories” remains part of the lynching party.  And then one realises why inane comments like “Israel has the right to defend itself” are so important.

Shoe on the other Foot. In 2016, it was ‘strickly a legal issue in the courts’ when residents at Naruna Estates outside of Cape Town, South Africa say they were being forced out of their homes, reminiscent of the apartheid era. The government said not at all — “they’re just not paying their rent.” (photo:Wendy Almacin)

The most horrifying consequence of the hostilities has been the justification and minimising of Hamas’ war crimes and the renewed de-legitimisation of Israel. As South Africa’s widely respected commentator on the middle east, Naeem Jeena said “So they fired a measly seven missile at Jerusalem” to show their support. So what – that’s OK now? Are seven “little” war crimes now de minimus, too small to concern civilised countries? Other commentators that have issued blanket denials that missiles have been fired from civilian areas (probably because Al-Jazeera and AP never knew this was happening) This, while Hamas issued a declaration that they are exempt from war-crimes, because they are “obliged” to fire from civilian areas. Millions of people have no objection to Human Shields as justifiable weapons of war and vocalise any of their deaths especially of “innocent women and children”. The mendacious excuse that Hamas says that it has to fire rockets at Israel because “it’s the only way that the Palestinians can protect their citizens” has gained currency and is virtually acceptable in the media. Time to remember that not firing rockets helps, too! But look how many people are prepared to accept that the end is shown to justify the means, when neither is justifiable. Rather accept the inanities, than these absurdities.

Responding with Rockets. Latching on to protests in Jerusalem, Hamas unleashes rockets from a civilian area in Gaza aimed at civilian areas in Israel.

The slogan “From the river to the sea” is also in vogue, used by both by politicians and ordinary people. This has translated into any Jew is seen to support Israel and every Jew around the world has become a target. The current homicidal mobs are not interested in which sea is being referred to, so long as they can beat up a Jew. When a convoy of cars can travel unimpeded through the heart of London, with someone shouting though a loud hailer “Kill the Jews, rape their daughters” it is difficult to believe that there is a distinction be anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. It was Martin Luther King, in the days before Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality, who said “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism.” He also said that “The whole world must see that Israel must exist and has the right to exist and is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world.” Sixty years after his words, in a world full of irrational hate, the recognition of Israel is still being questioned!

The growing verbal and physical harassment of Jews in New York, Miami and Los Angeles by young Muslims is now no different from that seen in Europe.  The license given to them by elected leaders like Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib and Corbin and McDonnell allows them to act with impunity. The genocidal Hamas tunnel rats have performed to loud vocal applause, have lost only a bunch of Gazans, whose deaths have been blamed on the Israelis, and the international community has already stepped up to fund the rebuilding of Gaza.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that they have no reason to change their modus operandi. These morally bankrupt international institutions continue to blame Israel.

But back to Sheikh Jarrah. Even to the most politically naïve, it must be obvious that the Sheikh Jarrah case is subject to political undercurrents and the litigants are being utilised at political pawns.  It would be reasonable to assume that the Arab tenants would far rather have paid the rent, as they initially agreed to do, rather than find themselves in this current situation. There has clearly been political pressure placed on them not to pay.  It is probable that the Palestinian Authority had a hand in ensuring the was no payment in order to embarrass the Israeli government and to allow festering resentment amongst the Palestinians. This manoeuvre was exploited by Hamas claiming that they launched their missile attack against Israel to protect the residents of Sheikh Jarrah. From finding emotional resonance, it morphed quickly into a festering sore then turned into a huge septic wound! Hamas’ claim of ethnic cleansing trumps the PA’s claim of “Judaising Jerusalem”. The PA has been outplayed, but its’ hands are tied. It would desperately like a solution to this impasse that gives no credit to Hamas.

The flag-wavers of the world are no doubt supporting the Hamas version!

Nasty Narrative. A protestor against the evictions in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, raises his placard to the world branding Israel  for “ethnic cleansing”.  [File: Maya Alleruzzo/AP Photo]

On the other hand, it would be reasonable to assume sure that the owners of the property would far rather have the rent paid, than evict the tenants.  They cannot relish the fact that they will become the face of the picture-posters of Israeli oppression. One cannot be oblivious to the fact that there are Jewish groups who would like nothing more than to have Jews reclaiming property and living in the recaptured and united Jerusalem. The Israeli government, which would probably have liked nothing more than this matter to fade into the background, is obviously being forced into taking a stand. Its hands are also tied.  But the real sympathy and concern must go to the judges of Israel’s Supreme Court, who have to hand down a decision. On the facts, it can logically only come to one conclusion- occupants who have previously agreed that they are lessees and who have admitted that they have not paid rent must be evicted. But the political pressure must be immense, no matter what is said about giving judgement without fear or favour.

The Supreme Court of Israel has given the Attorney General until 8 June to decide whether it wished to become involved in the Sheikh Jarrah case. However, the political pressure, both domestic and international, to prevent the eviction continues to grow. Secretary of State Blinken, on his trip to Israel, warned Israel that America was opposed to the eviction. Heavyweight commentators who should (and probably do) know better, are inflaming the situation by maliciously referring to the evictions as ethnic cleansing (Case in point South Africa’s pre-eminent Muslim political commentator Naeem Jeenah in a debate against Lay Of The Land’s Rolene Marks).  May God protect and guide the judges!

The decision is no longer about Sheikh Jarrah. It’s about irrational Judenfressen in its most ugly, vicious form. Sheikh Jarrah is an excuse to find a socially acceptable way to publicly express Jew-hatred while pretending that the obsessive hatred is justifiable.

As a lawyer, one is taught to look for the win-win scenario and that it is usually better to settle out of court than to run a costly trial that you risk losing. Sheikh Jarrah is one of those cases. While the players may be politically boxed in, everyone else attempting to interfere is not. While I don’t profess to have all the answers, I do see a way forward. The Palestinian Authority can’t be seen to be conceding on the issue. The Israeli government can’t be seen to be dictating to the Court. BUT there are still two options:  eviction or payment.  There is nothing that prevents a third party from paying the outstanding amounts of a debtor.  Surely, one of the international players such as the one which take millions of dollars to Gaza in a suitcase every month, or one of other the countries that have pledged billions of dollars for the reconstruction of Gaza can find some way of paying the owners the money that is due to them and prevent the evictions, which may again set the world on fire.  One knows that there are finer details that would need to be worked out, but if there are negotiators that managed to broker a cease-fire between two implacable enemies, this dispute resolution should be child’s play. If the world sees it necessary to meddle in an Israeli domestic court case, then why not resolve it instead of pouring fuel on the fire?  Are we talking – a million dollars? Two million dollars? Five million dollars? Whatever it is, it’s cheap at the price! 

It used to be said that that there were five degrees of separation between everybody in the world. With the internet, it’s less. So lobby your congress-person, your parliamentarian, your elected representative, the NGO’s and all those other people and organisations that have interfered in the matter, but have not contributed to a solution.

Someone must know somebody who can do something constructive. Get the message out! Let the big-shots get an out of court settlement. These things happen every day.  Get the problem solved before the Supreme Court is obliged to hand down an irrevocable order. This message I send to you on the wings of my prayer.

The alternative is the winged fins of missiles again being launched!

About the writer:

Craig Snoyman is a practising advocate in South Africa.

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO)