Israel Apartheid Week

An open letter to the Student Representative Council of the University of Cape Town in response to hosting the annual hate fest in April 2019: The Israeli Apartheid Week.

By Stephen Schulman, a UCT alumnus living in Israel

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Hall Of Hate. Jameson Memorial Hall is UCT’s venue during its annual ‘Israel Hate Week.

Dear members of the UCT SRC,

Now that the new year of 2019 has arrived it came to my notice that you, as in the past, and as is your custom, in the merry month of April, hosted that annual hate fest: the Israeli Apartheid Week.

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As a past graduate of our proud university and even though many moons have passed, I still feel a kinship to this great institution and its students and therefore would like to draw your attention to certain cogent facts and to engage you in a frank open discussion. I am certain that your studies and exposure to the benefits of academia of my alma mater have endowed you with qualities of intellectual and moral integrity and have instilled in you the virtues of disinterested enquiry, dispassionate objectivity and courtesy that shall enable you to weigh my words and honour me with a reply.

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You label Israel an “apartheid state”.

To deserve that label, a country must fulfil certain criteria. Apartheid was official government policy, legislated, executed and also condoned and ideologically justified by the main Afrikaner churches. Black people were discriminated against, disenfranchised, relocated, dispossessed and relegated to the fringes of society while there were strict laws against miscegenation and racial intercourse.

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The high-profile marriage in 2018 between Arab-Israeli news anchor, reporter, and television host Lucy Aharish, a Muslim (left), and Israeli film and television actor Tzahi Halevi and a Jew. (Photo: Meir Edery)

Unfortunately, nowadays the term “apartheid” has been too often incorrectly applied to any form of discrimination, been devalued and has consequently lost its original context.

Now, does the State of Israel fulfil the criteria to be so labeled? Does it have an official policy of racial discrimination to groups within its borders?

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Firstly, all citizens irrespective of race or religion have full equality.There are Arabs serving in the diplomatic corps and an Arab judge in the supreme court. In the Knesset (Israeli parliament) the current minister of communications is a Druse. There are Arab parties in the Knesset and even though they see themselves as Palestinians and their views are often inimical to the state, as Israel is a democratic country, they have the right to express their opinions, which they freely do. Arab citizens are an integral part of the work force and partake fully in society. In my Medical Health Fund and in hospitals and clinics, there are Arab doctors and nurses with Arabs and Jews together in the hospital wards. I have been treated by Arab doctors and nurses and wait my turn in line after other Arab citizens to see a doctor. There is mingling in cinemas, restaurants and supermarkets. Just recently a well-known and popular TV presenter who happens to be a Moslem Arab married a Jew. Is this “apartheid“?

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Israel has freedom of religion and religious sites are protected by law. The Bahai faith so viciously persecuted in Iran has magnificent gardens and buildings in Haifa. A great number of Christian pilgrims visit our country. The LGBT community lives and works freely here. Do these same conditions exist in the Middle Eastern countries surrounding us, in Gaza and the West Bank?

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You profess a deep and lasting concern for the Palestinian community. Let us now examine a few facts. In 1948, the United Nations declared Israel as a legitimate state with a right to stand amongst the community of nations. The Israel War of Independence ensued as the fledging state’s Arab neighbors refused to abide by the UN resolution, acknowledge Israel’s existence, avowed to destroy it, “push the Jews into the sea” and promptly invaded the country. In the aftermath of the war, approximately 600,000 Palestinian Arabs became refugees. Moreover, approximately 850,000 Jews who had been living in the Arab countries many centuries before Islam dominated the area, were persecuted, subjected to pogroms, disenfranchised, dispossessed and expelled.

image010 (3).pngIn the name of justice for all, a most relevant and pertinent question would be to enquire about the fate of these 850,000 Jewish refugees. The answer is quite simple: the vast majority were accepted with open arms by the fledgling state while a smaller number having European passports chose to move there. Today, Jews from Arab countries and their descendants are an integral part of modern-day Israel.

Israel did not push them into squalid refugee camps and keep them there to fester as hostages as the Arab countries have done to their fellow Moslems. Israel did not deny them full citizenship and opportunities. You profess deep concern for the Palestinians’ rights. Lebanon restricts them to refugee camps, denies them basic rights such as citizenship, health care, employment and education and disqualifies them from owning property. Moreover, they are barred from studying or practicing in twenty professions. Lebanon continues to ignore calls by various human rights groups to the Lebanese authorities to end discrimination against Palestinians.

Is this not “apartheid” in its true sense?

In reality, the policy and actions of Lebanon are closer to the Nuremberg Laws of Nazi Germany. In the wake of the Gulf War, many Gulf states, Qatar included, used the opportunity to expel the Palestinians living there. Saudi Arabia has imprisoned many and in Syria, thousands have been tortured and murdered. Is there an Arab country that has accepted their co-religionists the Palestinian refugees, given them citizenship and full rights as Israel has done to the Jews expelled from the Arab countries?  In the name of full justice and moral consistency, why have you never raised your voices in protest? Why have you not devoted a week to this cause?

The SRC has always stated its awareness of and devotion to causes for human rights.

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Turkey under Erdogan has summarily dismissed over 100, 000 civil servants, purged the army, jailed many in the opposition and effectively silenced the free press either by laws or intimidation.

Iran is under dictatorship, executing, jailing and torturing many of its citizens, persecuting religious minorities such a the Bahai and actively developing and spreading terrorism throughout the globe.

Saudi Arabia denies gender equality, has religious intolerance ad has executed over 500 people in the last few years.

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China has forcibly relocated over 1000,000 Moslem Uighurs, incarcerated, executed and harvested the organs of members of the Falun Gong sect. and let us not forget, amongst others, its maltreatment of the Tibetans.

Yet, in the light of all these well-known gross abuses, the SRC has chosen to remain silent. Why is this so?

Is it because you don’t wish to offend and bite the hand that feeds you when Saudi Arabia and China invest large sums of money in SA?

You quite rightly state your pride in being an African university and your involvement in the affairs of the continent and so it should be. Nevertheless, you remain silent in the face of injustices. To name a few:

Zimbabwe is corrupt and oppressive towards its own people. There is slavery in the Sudan and many fellow Africans suffer under incompetent and corrupt rulers. I saw in your group picture where you happily and contentedly sit, that with the exception of one white person that you are all Africans, so in raising your voices you cannot be accused of racism. You have been empowered by your fellow students to speak out. Why is there silence on your part?

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Hall Of Hate. Jameson Memorial Hall is UCT’s venue during its annual ‘Israel Hate Week.

When I was at UCT, the SRC saw beyond campus politics, was involved, protested and demonstrated against government apartheid policies. South Africa – your country, the country of your forefathers and your future generations – is mired in deep corruption with its leaders filling their pockets at the expense of the ordinary citizen. Poverty, neglect and crime is rampant. In your site, I searched in vain for any pronouncements of your concern or activism.  It is incomprehensible that you should choose silence!

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Consequently, your official platform is full of platitudes that unfortunately are devoid of any content. I find it pitiful that you find time to single out Israel while willfully ignoring the rampant injustices around you. I find it pitiful and morally repugnant that you turn a blind eye to many egregious violations of human rights and let hatred, racism and anti-Semitism blind your reason. I find it saddening that you, the student council are devoid of any moral compass and are stained with moral cowardice.

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I level these charges against you. They are serious. If I have erred, I shall gladly stand to be corrected. I look forward to your reply. If not, then you will have affirmed all my accusations.

Stephen Schulman

Ramat Hasharon,

Israel.

 

 

 

“Shitty Jew”

By Rolene Marks

This is a personal account of a grossly antisemitic incident and the events that followed. It is important to share these stories, especially at a time when levels of antisemitism are rising to alarming levels around the world. We can no longer be silent in the face of hatred

Yes, you read the title correctly. This is not an easy story to share with you but at a time when hatred and vile invective against Jews is rising alarmingly across the globe, I feel the need to rise above my own personal humiliation and hurt and allow myself the vulnerability of sharing this very personal story with you.

Today, it is more important than ever to expose racism and bigotry wherever it rears its ugly head and send a message that antisemitism will no longer go unchecked. It is no longer okay to gaslight the concerns of Jews and we will no longer suffer in silence.

This story takes place in race sensitive South Africa and exposes a diabolical double standard that exists on issues pertaining to racism. The democratic rainbow nation that enjoys what is arguably the most progressive Constitution in the world, sets the bar when comes to calling out the bigots and haters but when it comes to the oldest hatred in the world, is oddly silent. Has the current political climate with the ruling ANC’s almost rabid disdain for the State of Israel filtered down and is clouding human decency?

South Africans are all too familiar with cases like Penny Sparrow, Adam Catzavelos and others who have made repugnant racist comments and are paying the price but there seems to be no punishment for antisemitism – only avoidance.

I guess when it comes to equal opportunity hatred, the South African media are not as “woke” as they purport to be. Cry the beloved country.

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It all started with a letter.

In my capacity as co-founder of the South Africa-Israel Policy Forum, I responded to both a letter written by Gunvant Govinjee and an article written by Alexander O’Riordan that featured in the Business Day and The Daily Maverick respectively. Regrettably, my opening line that stated unequivocally that my letter was in response to both the letter AND the article, was omitted in both publications.

O’Riordan erroneously interpreted some of my comments as a direct attack on him, and proceeded to call me a liar both in a letter of response in the Business Day as well as on my Facebook page. The latter followed an invitation into my personal space after a well-meaning acquaintance suggested that if we spoke to each other, we might find middle ground.

It was not to be!

O’Riordan unleashed venomous invective, calling me a liar multiple times, alleging that I called him a racist (there is a BIG difference between calling someone a racist and saying comments are such) and demanding an apology. Although acknowledging that ‘perhaps’ he had reacted wrongly, he STILL persisted in calling me a liar. I had all the facts so wasn’t as bothered by those accusations as I was by what followed.

When I replied to him by saying that I was a proud Jew, his only response is to resort to personal attack and things took a profound turn for the worse.

O’Riordan responded by calling me a “shitty Jew” no less than four times and his final punch was comparing me to Harvey Weinstein and Bernie Madoff. Now, while I cannot testify to Madoff or Weinstein’s levels of religious observance, I can ask why is religion a factor on what kind of a person they are? We don’t judge other criminals by their religion n’est-ce pas?

O’Riordan then went on to clarify who he deems “decidedly unshitty”. Those Jews that are “good” i.e. anti-Zionist or anti-Israel like Ronnie Kasrils or Joe Slovo. Good Jews vs Bad Jews – a distinction which antisemites are weaponising in order to sow division and try rationalise their hate-driven behaviour.

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O’Riordan claims that Ronnie Kasrils, a former Minister of Intelligence is a “good Jew” but please allow me to remind readers that this is a man who in an Op-ed for the Daily Maverick on the 20th of April this year, made the following comments referring to the development of business ties with Israel as “crony capitalists within the ANC” who were more than ready to have “their palms greased like Judas with silver coins“.

Today, the word ‘Israel’ or ‘Zionist’ has replaced ‘Jew’, and Kasrils, despite his Jewish roots, is trafficking in nasty antisemitic tropes. While O’Riordan – a self-proclaimed atheist – further states that there are “shitty people” of other religions, it is the focus on Jews and his propensity to make divisions that is decidedly dangerous and must be called out.

Good Jew vs Shitty Jew – this is not criticism of Israeli policy, which is legitimate and which Israelis have elevated to a national sport. This is where the line has been crossed and a further line drawn in the sand.

We, the Jewish people will decide what is offensive to us and making these despicable distinctions offends us to the core. Must we be punished and isolated for having and supporting a state of our own? Those like O’Riordan who make these distinctions believe so.

Following this, I sent an official letter of complaint to both editors, thinking that they do would share my disgust and act. To date I have had no response – not even an acknowledgement  of receipt  – from either of the editors.

Radio silence!

 At first, I was angry and then I thought, perhaps there is something more to this. Were the editors afraid of taking a stand or drawing attention to this issue? I really don’t believe it is anything personal or anti-Israel on behalf of the editors; on the contrary, I think the political climate in South Africa is such that it could invite a lot of hate-filled invective.image005 (5).png

Has the climate become such that when it comes to rising antisemitism in South Africa, people are too scared to take a stand? The recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the ruling ANC and terror organization, Hamas as well as the renaming of Sandton Drive after arch terrorist, Leila Khaled, has firmly cemented where South Africa’s alliances fall. The trafficking in antisemitic tropes by ANC and other party leaders such as the EFF who made this statement “We also call on the international community to remember the people of Palestine, the birth and death place of Jesus Christ. They represent the suffering, the permanently crucified, disfigured and humiliated body of Christ hanging on the summit for all shame. The Palestinians suffer racial discrimination, colonization and apartheid in the hands of the apartheid state of Israel” or former Foreign Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu who wished the “Israeli Embassy was in the Dead Sea” only adds fuel to the fire.

O’Riordan’s comments I find racist and offensive and the subsequent editorial silence of the respected Business Day and Daily Maverick, I find worrying, especially in today’s climate. My concern is compounded by these publications offering a platform to a professional propagandist who when unable to establish facts, resorts to racism, when referring to me as a “shitty Jew”!shitty Jew4.JPG

If he had made these comments about another race or religion, it would be equally intolerable and someone like this who trafficks in racism should be publicly shunned and exposed. O’Riordan should be held to the same standards as any racist.

If it is not going to happen in a country like South Africa that purports to be a liberal democracy to take a stand of racism in any of its ugly forms then it is up to us as individuals. Failure to do so allows for hatred to flourish.

I won’t be silent or silenced. Not on my watch.

In a democracy there should not be any place for intolerance and racism in a civilized society.shitty Jew5.JPG

Times Are A’changing

In Europe, now South Africa – Jews are feeling uneasy

By David E. Kaplan

The recent spat between the South African Jewish Board of Deputies’ vice president, Zev Krengel and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, illustrates not only the widening chasm  between South Africa’s ruling party and its Jewish community but something far more alarming.

It exposes an increasing unease Jews are feeling with their position in South Africa today.

The “issue” is not over anything pertaining to Jewish wellbeing in their country – the primary concern of Krengel’s organisation the SAJBOD – but over South Africa’s relationship with the Jewish State – Israel.

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Satisfying Selfie. SAJBD National Director Wendy Kahn, SAJBOD’s vice president Zev Krengel and SA President Cyril Ramaphosa are all smiles following post-election celebrations held at the IEC (Independent Electoral Commission’s) Results Gala.

Once a  ‘sign’ of inclusivity, the much touted “Rainbow Nation” image of the Mandela era has lost its sparkle. That inclusivity  comes today  for South Africa’s Jews  with a price tag:

Stop Supporting Israel.”

Can this really be expected as an option for a People who have repeated for over 3500 years from the Psalm of King David:

 “If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem! let my right hand forget its skill!”

Zionism –  the nationalist movement of the Jewish people that supports the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the historic Land of Israel – is in the DNA of South African Jewry. Well over a half century before the Holocaust in Europe, Zionism arrived in South Africa  “in the knapsacks of the Litvak Jews.”

Many of the young new arrivals from the late nineteenth century  had been members of Hovevei Zion societies in Eastern Europe – the forerunners and foundation-builders of modern Zionism. These societies aimed to promote Jewish immigration to their ancestral homeland in Ottoman ruled Palestine, and advance Jewish settlement there, particularly in agriculture.

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Fundraising For Palestine. A 1922 pledge of 175 by a Cape Town Jew. South African Jewry’s contribution in absolute figures was second only to Jewry in the USA in the first two decades of Keren Hayesod (Foundation Fund) that was established in 1922. By 1939, with a Jewish population of 90,700 South Africa’s per capita record was extraordinary when compared to a Jewish population of nearly 5,000,000 in the United States.

It was therefore no surprise the South African Zionist Federation was established as early as 1898 – over a decade before there was even a Union of South Africa –  followed by the Board of Deputies in 1903. Nine years later the ANC was founded in 1912, with the aim of fighting for the rights of black South Africans.

Now the organisations tasked with fighting for the rights of Jews and Blacks are facing off over an issue a continent away!

What has startled the Jewish community even more, was the rebuke Krengel and the SAJBOD received as if they had no right to criticize the ANC member.

The criticism in question was Krengel referring  to Minister Lindiwe Sisulu as “the single biggest enemy” in government to South African Jewry. This was in response for her crusade for South Africa to sever diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

Krengel had every right to articulate his concerns particularly following the Minister’s ignorance, bias and antisemitism all evident in her accusing “the Israeli government of funding WITS” (University of the Witwatersrand) and adding to her accusation “This was a fact that must be taken into account when implementing the proposed downgrade of the South African embassy in Israel.”

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Down With Israel. Diplomatic downgrade crusader, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: GCIS.

If the British Labour Party, once the political home for much of Britain’s Jewish community is being investigated for institutional antisemitism – why should senior members of the ANC be free of similar rebuke?

The Jewish leadership would have been remiss in not taking the minister to task.

As national vice chairman of the South Africa Zionist Federation Ben Levitas in Politicalweb expressed:

the SAJBOD did what they were elected to do by opposing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s decision to act on the ANC’s 54th National Conference resolution “to immediately and unconditionally downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel”. The Boards mandate is to guard and protect the interests of the Jewish community and the downgrade of relations with Israel most certainly impacts on the well-being of the community.”

While the cracks have been paved over following the recent national election, some members within the community are seeing through the façade of rainbow-nation-like unity and camaraderie. A May 23 letter by Brian Josselowitz to the editor the SA Jewish Report is revealing:

You can schmooze with the political elite, and even take selfies with ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa, but he serves at the pleasure of the national executive committee, and he will not vote against ANC policy, especially on the question of Israel.

The SA Jewish Report (SAJR) gave him its unqualified backing when he won the ANC presidency at the party’s last elective conference, and if he has, as the SAJR would have us believe, an open mind about the conflict, why didn’t he take cabinet colleagues Naledi Pandor and Sisulu to task, in public, for their anti-Semitic remarks? Why has he allowed Sisulu to say that all relations with Israel are being severed, and the embassy will be downgraded to a visa office, without repudiating her in public?”

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Soothing In Synagogue. President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the Jewish New Year’s prayer session at the Gardens Synagogue in Cape Town, September 12, 2018. Picture: GCIS

A Deep Sense Of Foreboding

What is happening to freedom of speech in South Africa  when the Board’s director, Wendy Kahn, feels the need to defend  her organisation’s right to criticise government.

 “…I think the Jewish community, as with all citizens of South Africa have got a right to criticise and condemn statements and actions of government.”

All this follows:

  • in 2018 the ANC put out the red carpet in Parliament for the terror organisation Hamas that had only weeks before   fired close to 500 rockets from Gaza into southern Israel with the intention of endangering the lives of Israelis. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was co-signed by the ANC and Hamas that supported – inter alia – “the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel” and ensured that “ANC leaders and government officials do not visit Israel
  • The ongoing crusade of South Africa’s premier university – the University of Cape Town (UCT) – to boycott academic institutions in Israel
  • The passing of a motion brought to the Johannesburg council by the ANC, Al-Jamaah and EFF to rename one of the city’s prominent roads, Sandton Drive, after Leila Khaled. While glorified as the “poster girl of the Palestinian struggle”, this is the same Leila Khaled who, holding two hand-grenades in her hands in 1970, terrified a planeload of passengers on an EL AL Flight from Amsterdam to New York City and who the previous year, in 1969, had hijacked a TWA Flight from Rome to Tel Aviv diverting it to Damascus International Airport, where together with her partner, blew up the nose section of the Boeing 707. These are South Africa’s role models today – dedicated to the destruction of the State of Israel. Khaled was not hijacking civilian aircraft in support for a Two-State Solution:

        In 1970, there were only 1,514 Jews living in the West Bank!

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Explosive Personality. TWA Flight 840 being blown up on August 29th 1969 by Leila Khaled and her fellow hijackers. Source: adst.org

Is it any wonder that Jews in South Africa are questioning the direction of their country, the policies of its political leaders and the nagging thorn pricking daily, whether it is a suitable place for their children and grandchildren?

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Sign Of The Times. PFPL plane hijacker Leila Khaled (centre) warmly received in South Africa in 2015, might soon have a street in Johannesburg named after her. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA)

An old acquaintance in Cape Town who recently put his property on the market remarked:

 “It’s now just a house; it’s no more a home!”

 

 

* Feature Picture:  Cyril Ramaphosa chating to Lindiwe Sisulu on the last day of the ANC National Conference on December 20, 2012 in Mangaung, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Felix Dlangamandla)

SA At Odds With World Powers And BRICS Nations About Israel

By Rowan Polovin

Hating one Middle Eastern country has never garnered the ANC votes or won it any international favour.

There is something foul about SA’s foreign policy. It stands continuously with the anti-Western bloc of dictators, fascists and human rights abusers. It has a horrendous track record of voting at the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council that is diametrically opposite to post-apartheid’s values of freedom and nondiscrimination.

It votes against measures that sanction human rights abusers and praises the “diversity” of totalitarian dictatorships. It abstains on the appointment of a special rapporteur on violence against the LGBTI community and on resolutions condemning human rights abuses in Syria.

It keeps consistently but deafeningly silent about all the horrors and atrocities committed in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, as well as on the mistreatment of women, minorities and children. It sits Janus-faced on the international stage, facilitating the work of despots offshore, while proclaiming the values of human rights back home.

There is but one country at which South Africa directs all its opprobrium and judgment. It is the most undeserving country of such hostility but is so targeted because the governing party irrationally believes this will win it votes locally and power internationally.

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Speak Of The Devil. While separating from the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel, South Africa embraces one of the world’s worst human rights abusers and prime promoter of instability in the Middle East, Iran, as seen here with SA’s Deputy Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Reginah Mhaule (right), expressing this past March in Cape Town before Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Abbas Araqchi (left), “we remain committed to continue to support the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

The ANC is dangerously wrong on both accounts: hating Israel has never garnered it votes in any election, and targeting Israel internationally only isolates South Africa itself. It carries out an inverted foreign policy that bashes the ‘Jew of nations’ and applauds the scoundrels.

The ANC owes the public an explanation about why it does this.

Last week, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, recklessly steered into dangerous territory when asked about her country’s relations with Israel. She spoke of removing the South African ambassador to Israel and of kicking out the Israeli ambassador to SA. She even declared that the ANC will dictate university policy on Israel.

She forgot about SA’s esteemed constitution and rule of law, and that the ANC sits below, not above it.

Our constitution was carefully written by wise people who recognised that freedom of religion, speech, association and academia are fundamental values that ensure the longevity of a democratic state. Any unjust attempts to undermine those values, as Sisulu and her faction seem intent on doing, will unravel the very structures of the democratic state her predecessors fought for.

On the issue of cutting ties with Israel and allowing the antisemitic BDS fringe movement to capture foreign policy, Sisulu and the ANC should proceed with extreme caution. South Africa is focused on rebuilding its standing in the international community and hoping to be taken seriously on international affairs.

While still a member of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA) bloc, it parts company with every other member on Israel. Every BRICS country besides South Africa is constantly improving ties and friendships with the Jewish state. South Africa stands at odds with these world powers, including many African and Arab countries that work more closely than ever with Israel.

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India Has Other Ideas. While South Africa considers ‘downgrading’ with Israel, its fellow BRICS’ member, India, opts for ‘upgrading” as seen here with India Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the India-Israel Business Summit in New Delhi. January 15, 2018 (MONEY SHARMA/AFP)

Moreover, South Africa needs Israel’s help to solve local problems such as water scarcity, access to electricity and agricultural solutions that would take millions out of poverty and turn our deserts into fields of plenty. Millions of South Africans would not take kindly to their future being stolen by petty short-term interests. Nor will they appreciate the negative effect this will have on local job creation and our already struggling economy.

Cutting out Israel only cuts out SA’s future.

If South Africa attempts to throw out the Israeli ambassador, it will send a signal that it wishes to disconnect the proudly South African Jewish community from their spiritual, religious and historical homeland. The government should take heed that Jews will never allow their bond with the Jewish state to be broken. Nor will committed Christians, who make up the majority of South Africa’s religious communities.

Antisemites may be pleased that their irrational hatred of Jews has resulted in a downgrade in relations with Israel, but the majority of South Africans will not be pleased with the uncertainty and instability it will bring.

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Red Carpet For Killers. While threatening in 2019 to “kick out” the Israeli ambassador to South Africa, its ANC leaders has no problem embracing Hamas as seen here with terrorist mastermind Khaled Mashaal being honoured in Cape Town in October 2015. (AFP/Rodger Bosch).

It is time for principled business people, government officials, political parties and civil society to stand up to the ANC’s desperate and hypocritical obsession with the Jewish state. Our future depends upon it.

 

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Rowan Polovin is chair of the SA Zionist Federation’s Cape Council.

Odd Man Out

South Africa out of step with reality

By Allan Wolman

Brunei recently announced death by stoning for adultery and gay sex.

“Death by stoning” in this day and age?

Well not that surprising given that this is the sentence dished out by the Mullah’s of Iran to women accused – only accused, mind -and not given a fair trial even in the event of being raped by her attacker.

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Brutal Brunei. The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, delivers a speech in Bandar Seri Begawan on April 3, 2019 calling for “stronger” Islamic teachings, including death by stoning for gay sex and adultery. Photo Credit: AFP

But it is Israel that is hauled before the court of liberal public opinion for its abuse of human rights!

It is Israel that the likes of BDS, Jews for a Just Palestine, and other so called humanitarians who find every conceivable opportunity to demonize her, be it for marking the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration or the U.S’s moving her embassy to Jerusalem and any other issue that becomes the topic of the moment that could in any way be associated with Israel!

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Birds Of A Feather. Shunning Israelis, South Africa’s leaders prefers the company of airplane terrorist hijacker Leila Khaled (left) who is seen here with ANC officials in South Africa on February 6, 2015. (screen capture: YouTube/BDS South Africa)

I grew up in apartheid South Africa and well remember the degradation and humiliation of having to take the lady who worked for us and helped raise our children to the “pass office” in downtown Johannesburg to obtain that most valuable of commodities, a simple rubber stamp that would allow her to remain in Johannesburg for another year.

Something that had to be repeated annually.

There are no words to explain that humiliation and degradation – that was Apartheid. Yet Israel is labeled an apartheid state, a country where every citizen is afforded the very same right to education, healthcare, political emancipation, labor relations – in fact every aspect of life that is enjoyed by its entire population regardless of being Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or whatever faith they choose to follow.

The U.S. recently recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the territory captured by Israel in the 1967 aggressive war against Israel, but we hear calls to return this territory back to Syria, a country embroiled in a civil war that has claimed over half a million lives. One must wonder what the fate of the 20,000 Druze living in that territory would be or to be more realistic how many would survive under the Syrian regime? The irony is that those hell bent on the destruction of Israel care less for the carnage going on in the Arab world but hide behind the hackneyed term of “human rights” to justify their mission of destroying the Jewish state, which we all know reads the destruction of the Jews.

On March 31st, the President of Brazil paid an official state visit to Israel, cementing a relationship initiated a short while back by the visit to Brazil by the Israeli prime minister. Brazil, a key member of the BRICS group of countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) forges close relations with Israel as do China, India and even Russia – but who is the “odd man” out from this group, no prizes for guessing.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, accompanied by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, pose for a photo as they visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City
B & B. In a show of strengthening ties, visiting Brazilian President to Israel, Jair Bolsonaro, accompanies Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu to Judaism most iconic site, the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City . Photo: Reuters

Not only the odd man – but openly hostile to any contact with Israel – are we missing something here?

 

 

About the author

Birds of a feather4Allan Wolman is a recent immigrant to Israel from South Africa. Matriculating from Parktown Boys high School in Johannesburg, in 1967, he joined1200 young South Africans to volunteer to work on agricultural settlements in Israel during the Six Day War. After spending year in Israel, he returned to South Africa where he met and married Jocelyn Lipschitz. The couple have three sons.

Allan ran one of the oldest travel agencies in Johannesburg – Rosebank Travel which he still runs together with his son in Johannesburg.

In March 2019, Alan and his wife immigrated to Israel and live in Tel Baruch between Tel Aviv and Herzliya.

Under Fire From Gaza

Igniting fires and tension, an inspiring South African couple in Israel responds to terror by sponsoring clubhouses at military bases

By David E. Kaplan

At midnight on the 25th March 2019, I recall the last sound I heard before dropping off to sleep was a clap of thunder.

Five hours later, I awoke to another BOOM! This time it was not thunder but the deafening sound of a missile having landed nearby destroying a house near Kfar Saba in the centre of Israel, injuring seven.

It was a reminder that the murderous intent of those who govern Gaza extends far and wide.

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Israeli Home Destroyed.  This home in the tranquil  village of  Mishmeret north of Kfar Saba in central Israel  was totally destroyed by a long-range rocket from Gaza, on March 25, 2019, injuring seven, including two infants. Had they not run to the communal bomb shelter across the road from the house, all seven residents would have been killed.

It further reminded the writer of a visit to a number of army basses close to the Gaza border a few months earlier organised by ‘English-Speaking Branch of the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers’.

There were fifty in our group who were invited to the official opening of two new army-base clubhouses, sponsored by Dave and Rae Kopping, a couple originally from South Africa. It also provided an opportunity to learn firsthand how the Israeli civilian population in the small towns and kibbutzim near Gaza were coping under the constant threat from attack from below the ground from tunnels and above the ground from rockets, mortars and inflamed kites and balloons.

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Fields Of Fire. Agricultural land in Israel burnt from fire caused by incendiary kites and balloons sent from Gaza.

As I write recalling that visit, I cannot fail to reflect that the loud BOOM that awakened my family last week and had us scurrying off to the bomb shelter was nearly a daily occurrence to the brave and resilient Israelis living in the south.

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Merchant Of Death. A terrorist in Gaza about to ignite a kite before directing towards Israel.

While Israel battles politically to get its ‘house’ in order regarding Gaza, Dave and Rae Kopping ‘enlisted’ in their own way to provide club ‘houses’ for soldiers at IDF bases near the border.

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Honouring Our Heroes. Dave Kopping (centre) with granddaughter Monique and soldier official opening a clubhouse at an army base near Gaza.

They began four years earlier following Operation Protective Edge in 2014 when the IDF had to protect Israeli civilians facing a daily barrage of missiles from Gaza for 50 days. The Koppings showed their heartfelt gratitude by donating a clubhouse at the Palmachim Airforce Base for the Drone and Helicopter Pilots. “They operate under enormous pressure, protecting us from this constant threat,” said Ray at the official opening. “They deserve a special place to unwind and relax.”

Four years later, what had changed was not the political but geographic landscape with expansive swathes of black cutting across the North Western Negev countryside caused by incendiary balloons and kites sent from Gaza and landing on fertile fields. This was all too apparent from the bus window as we saw once green fields now black from the fires caused by the balloons and kites.

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Southern Israel Ablaze. Fire near Nahal Oz caused by Gaza kite (Photo: AFP)

As my companion on the bus remarked “how sad that kid’s kites and balloons in Gaza are weapons of death and destruction.”

As a running commentary to the visual horror playing out on a blackened somber ‘stage’, our guide related how much livestock and natural wildlife had perished in the fires.

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Sign Of The Times. A clear message to Israelis on this kite destined for Israel

Southern Comfort

The Kopping clubhouses replete with comfy couches, coffee tables, kitchenettes, TVs and sound systems, honour – like the earlier one at Palmachim – the memory of the Kopping’s daughter Greer-Rose Sandler who sadly passed away fourteen years earlier from an illness, and Rae’s brother Isaac Melcer, who was killed in the Sinai during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. “He was a tank commander who served under General Ariel Sharon,” reveals Rae, “and had only been married a year.”

“What better way to honour their memory,” adds Dave, “than to know that Greer-Rose and Isaac’s names will be forever associated with those who protect Israeli citizens from harm.”

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Soldier’s Welfare. Dave and Rae Kopping’s daughter Lauren Ron (left) and granddaughter Monique in clubhouse sponsored by the family.

Tunnel Vision

The day proved an eye-opening window into the life – with all its complexities – of the civilian population living ‘Under Fire’ near Gaza, and the role the brave soldiers play in providing protection.  Entering the first base, ‘X’, we noted with surprise that far outnumbering the parked tanks, were giant bulldozers.

We did not have long to wonder why!

Earth-moving equipment usually associated with construction elsewhere, were used here to counter destruction “as we dig up the earth in search of terror tunnels,” explained a young soldier. A recent immigrant from the UK, he related a recent incident when they were out nearby on patrol.

“We were walking along single file in the fields, when we passed a plastic pipe protruding from the ground. There was nothing unusual about this, as the area is always scattered with farming equipment.” That was until one soldier, keeping up the rear, “looked back and noticed a slight sudden twitch of the pipe.”

“That’s odd; there’s no wind,” he thought!

Rega (“wait”),” he bellowed.

Doubling back, the patrol discovered it was an oxygen tube for the terrorists deep below who were digging a tunnel, and “we radioed in for the bulldozers.”

Relieved by their discovery, “We also knew from our intelligence there were fourteen more tunnels to locate.” Last year, the IDF destroyed a 2km long Hamas tunnel that entered 900 meters into Israeli territory. The problem is, “The terrorists need to be on the job for us to detect any subterranean movements.”

Such is the day in the life of a soldier protecting Israel’s southern communities – a game of cat and mouse.

Tough Times

The name of the 2014 war, “Protective Edge” had a resonance about it as “protection” is what this conflict is about. On a personal level this was brought home when a soldier asked, “Anyone want to try on our bullet proof gear?”

Some did, and were surprised by the weight, and left wondering how soldiers patrolled for hours wearing it in the blazing heat. There was sadness as we were reminded “that one of our comrades, Staff Sgt. Aviv Levi, was killed last week, by sniper fire.” He had been wearing the very same bulletproof jacket! The answer to the predictable question of how the bullet lethally penetrated – “special bullets made in Iran” – was met by a collective sigh.

Moving on to the second base, ‘Y’, we saw from the moving bus, more fields black from fire – a patchwork of this new type of warfare of kites and balloons, which much of the world media presents as “child’s play”.

Passengers flicked away with their cameras in disbelief.

Arriving at the base, we were escorted by young male and female soldiers to the new Kopping clubhouse for the official opening. Members of the Kopping family spoke as did some soldiers, who explained how tense this new warfare was.

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Soldiers On Patrol. A poster in the army base dining room near Gaza

Said one soldier, “We know how terrified the civilian population is of terrorists coming up through tunnels who could murder them.  It is our job to find these tunnels and prevent this.”  A responsibility fraught with anxiety, all the soldiers appreciate after tough days on patrol, “we now have a clubhouse where we can relax and unwind.”

Another female soldier expressed how proud she was to be serving in a combat unit, and this writer could not escape the thought that their peers elsewhere in the Jewish world would be at universities…. here they were immersed in the “university” of life – protecting “our family – Israel.”

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Wonder Women. Combat girls with participant Rocky Muravitz at army base.

Later, seated for lunch in the army dining room, a young soldier, an immigrant from the Argentine, addressed our group:

“These are tough times for the civilian population and for the soldiers. It is a tough war, but we are trained, and we are equipped, and we are inspired –   not only do we know WHAT we are doing but WHY we are doing.”

Yes, these are “tough times”, but so are these ‘kids’ – tough and proud – proud of their country, proud of their units, proud of their service, and proud of each other’s capabilities. The camaraderie was palpable. There was much food for thought to ‘digest’ beyond the lunch!

Witness To War

Our tour concluded with a visit to the Black Arrow Memorial, west of kibbutz Mefalsim near the Gaza Strip.

Operation Black Arrow (In Hebrew: “Hetz Shachor”) was an Israeli military operation carried out in Gaza on 28 February 1955 while under Egyptian control. It was in retaliation to Fedayeen terrorism unleashed by President Gamal Abdel Nasser who broadcast on August 31, 1955:

Egypt has decided to dispatch her heroes, the disciples of Pharaoh and the sons of Islam and they will cleanse the land of Palestine….There will be no peace on Israel’s border because we demand vengeance, and vengeance is Israel’s death.”

As we stood at the Black Arrow Memorial, we saw balloons flying from Gaza in the distance then descend on fertile Israel fields and suddenly there was a blazing fire. We were witnesses to war. Over six decades later, the message from Gaza remains:

                                        “…vengeance is Israel’s death.”

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War & Remembrance. The Black Arrow Memorial is both a public lookout of the Gaza Strip and also a monument to the IDF soldiers who lost their lives fighting the fedayeen between 1953 and 1956.

For more information on the English-Speaking Branch of the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers, contact volunteer Ian Waldbaum at Tel:

(054) 4745 092.

Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers

 

 

(Feature picture credit: Tamara Cohen)

The Apartheid Libel

By Monessa Shapiro

Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) is once again upon us.  And with it are the fabrications and deceit that we have come to associate with the proponents of IAW, not least of all the BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions).  For to describe Israel as an Apartheid state is mendacity of enormous magnitude, a lie that minimizes the pain and degradation that Apartheid South Africa was.

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A nefarious untruth that negates the suffering that was Apartheid, the misuse and abuse of the term Apartheid – like other emotive terms such as “ethnic cleansing” or “genocide” – stifles debate.   For to label Israel an Apartheid state is not to criticize it, but rather to say that it is so evil that it is beyond criticism and any form of debate.

And so, if Israel is an Apartheid state, then the call of the BDS and other advocates of IAW for “Palestine from the river to the sea,” have merit.  For them, the notion of “Palestine from the river to the sea” would result in the demise of Israel; necessary of course, because like Apartheid South Africa, no apartheid state deserves to exist.

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Setting The Facts Straight. The truth BDS and IAW advocates hide from the public.

Is Israel even vaguely aligned to an Apartheid state? Each and every Israeli citizen – Jew, Moslem and Christian, black or white – is equal before the law, has equal access to medicine and education, has the right to vote and the freedom to practice his or her religion.  Every Arab living in East Jerusalem was offered full Israeli citizenship after the Six Day War and the return of East Jerusalem to Jewish hands.  Those who refused were given permanent residency.  Israeli Arabs are judges on the Israeli Supreme Court – an Arab judge sentenced Israeli President Katzav to prison.  Supreme Court judge, Salim Joubran, an Arab, was elected as vice-President of the Supreme Court in 2017.  Arab members of Parliament sit and debate with their Jewish counterparts in the Israeli Knesset.

In their rantings, the supporters of IAW fail to take cognizance of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.  They fail to recognise that the first Arab state was established from the British mandate in 1922, when Britain, reneging on its obligation to re-establish a Jewish state in the whole of British mandatory Palestine, gave all the land East of the Jordan river to the Hashemite kingdom in the formation of Transjordan (modern day Jordan).  They ignore the fact that the establishment of the State of Israel was an affirmation that the only two states in Palestine that had been independent prior to the formation of Israel, were in fact homelands for the Jews – the first in about 1000 BC and the second in 164 BC.

And they conveniently disregard the fact that Jews have since about 2000 BC had a constant presence in the land of Israel, including in Judea and Samaria (today known as the West Bank).  The only time that Jews were prohibited from entering East Jerusalem where stood the First Temple and Judea and Samaria, was during Jordan’s occupation of these territories, between 1948 and 1967.

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United In Hate. Have these Imams at an anti-Israel protest in South Africa in 2018 forgotten what Apartheid was? (Photo: Reuters)

They disregard United Nations Resolution 181 that divided what was left of British Mandatory Palestine into a land for the Jews and a land for the Arabs.  The Arabs could today have been celebrating 71 years of independence in the second Arab state, formed from the British mandate.

 Death to Jews

image009 (1).pngIn addition, the advocates for BDS and IAW provide no context for the Israel-Palestine conflict.  They do not acknowledge that every war Israel has fought has been against an enemy who has wished to annihilate her. They never mention the fact that Israel has since her inception, suffered from ongoing terrorism because her neighbours cannot abide a Jewish presence in the Middle East.  They gloss over the fact that the Hamas Charter calls for the murder of all Jews and the destruction of Israel.  They never protest the wanton murder of innocent Israeli men, women and children.   The slitting of a sleeping Jewish baby’s throat is disregarded, as is the slaughter of rabbis at prayer in a synagogue.  No mention is ever made of the thousands upon thousands or rockets fired into Israel aimed at civilians or the underground tunnels burrowed into Israel with the intention of murdering and kidnapping Israeli civilians. The ‘Great March of Return’ is viewed by them as an innocent civilian protest. The fact that Hamas leaders urge protestors to go to the fence “armed with a knife” or “eat Israeli livers” if they are hungry is totally ignored by the advocates and supporters of BDS and IAW.image008 (2).png

At the same time those who term Israel an Apartheid state overlook the true Apartheid of the Middle East:

  • The fact, that I, as a Jew, cannot enter many of the Muslim countries
  • The fact that Mahmoud Abbas has made it quite clear that no Jew will be allowed in a future Palestinian state
  • The fact that at the entrance to Arab towns in the West Bank are signs warning Jews and Israelis not to enter as their lives would be in danger

The assertion that Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria are preventing the establishment of a Palestinian state smacks of Apartheid and racism. Why should Jews not be able to live among Arabs in a Palestinian state as Arabs live among Jews in Israel?

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The sad truth during IAW at South African universities.

By ignoring context; by ignoring history; by ignoring the reality that is Israel; and by calling for the eradication of the only Jewish state in the world and of no other, the supporters of IAW and the BDS reaffirm for all that at the heart of their pro-Palestinianism is primal Jew hatred.

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image007 (16).jpgMonessa Shapiro is a retired teacher and a member of the Media Team. Monessa also writes and blogs for the Times of Israel.

Remembering Moses Moyo

Personal tribute to a friend and ally – the renowned journalist, publisher and lover of Israel who passed away in Johannesburg South Africa in November 2018.

By Kathy Kaler, CEO and host of Afternoon  Drive Show, Chai FM

Being a radio presenter, I consider myself privileged. I get to engage with thousands of people daily via ChaiFM. People share their opinions, fears and hopes with me – daily. And all are important and yet most of our listeners I will never meet.

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Except for Moses Moyo!

His text messages came in to the Morning Mayhem almost every morning since 2013 until his sudden passing.

Moses’ messages were frequently in defence of Israel while at other times comments about service delivery in Johannesburg, but most often they were song requests – Yaakov Shwekey, Moshe Peretz or Benny Friedman.

He signed them all ‘Moshe’.

It was only when I received a video of Moses singing along (to Benny Friedman’s “Mazal and Brochanogal!!) that I realised I was engaging with someone from “outside” our often-insular community.

But I was wrong.

Moses Moyo was someone very much engaged in the Jewish community.

On every level.

He loved our culture, our music, our religious rites, our traditions and even our quirks.

And he loved Israel. Passionately.

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Moses Moyo

Moses understood profoundly, the importance of the Jewish state, not only to Jews but what Israel means to the world and her place in the greater scheme of things.

Always interested in hearing the human stories, I took the initiative to call Moses up one day and invite him for a cup of coffee. And that was where our friendship began.

In a little coffee shop in Glenhazel. It was 2014.

I came to know Moses as a great defender of the underdog – whether he was standing up for Israeli actions to defend her borders or the plight of African asylum seekers in Hillbrow. Moses stood for truth and all that was right in the world. It is no secret. Anyone who knew him will tell you that.

Road Ahead

A year ago, Moses planned to run the Jerusalem Marathon as part of the DL Link #RunForRecovery team. Due to issues with his passport, he had to forego the 2018 Marathon but had it on his radar to run this year. Moses was incredibly positive and for him it was just a postponement.

Little did anyone know…

In October last year, while listening to the Morning Mayhem on ChaiFM I heard about Moses’ untimely death. Like so many others who knew him, I was filled with disbelief. And sadness. And loss. Not only had I personally lost a friend, but as a Jewish and Zionist community, we had all lost an ally.

After his passing, the Jewish Community started fundraising for Moses’ children’s education.

Education… A tree of knowledge, right? The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) and the Jewish National Fund (JNF) will also be planting a tree in Israel in Moses Moyos’ name. I will be at that ceremony. Two trees. A tree of knowledge for his children in the form of the trust fund and a physical tree in the Holy Land.

Moses would have loved that.

What a testament it is to our community organisations to honour a wonderful man who was so loyal to our community and did so much to bring Christian and Jewish Zionists together.

This year I am part of the Jerusalem Marathon 2019 DL Link #RunForRecovery team. I will be running the 10km Marathon.

This morning I went for my early morning run on the streets of Jerusalem, and as I ran down Ben Yehuda into Jaffa road – my tears flowed.

And I let them.

They were tears for Moses Moyo.

They were tears of Gratitude.

Of Appreciation.

Of humility.

Of Loss.

Of celebration.

Of Joy.

Of Simply Being Alive. (Eventually I had to decide whether to run or cry – doing both is near impossible).

So, I ran.

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Moses Moyo: “I refuse to be bullied – My scarf keeping me warm today”

This Friday I will be running for Moses Moyo to complete what he wasn’t able to.

My official DL Link racing shirt (yes, apparently a Marathon is a race!) has his name on the back along with the names of the two other warriors for whom I am running. The red DL Link Jerusalem Marathon 2019 Tour T-shirts have his name on the shirt of all 85 runners on the team.

Because we are all Moses Moyo

Champions of the Underdog. Pursuers of Truth. And Proud Zionists.

Onward and Upward. Always.

More on Moyo (By the Editor)

Moyo was the founder and chairperson of ‘Friends of the Inner-city Forum’, a community-based organisation in the inner city of Johannesburg. He was also a founding director of Ekuphumuleni hospice. He played an important role in the creation of Tirisano Inner-city Housing Co-operative – an initiative to help people buy flats in the inner-city of Johannesburg on a rent-to-buy basis.

He was a reporter with Eyewitness News.

Moyo was a pro-Israel activist and raised money by offering to run in the Jerusalem Marathon for the DL link, a cancer survivor organisation.

Moyo was the Deputy President of the Association of Independent Publishers.

 

 

 

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Kathy Kaler is the CEO 0f Chai FM, a Johannesburg based radio station and is host of the Afternoon Drive Show.

 

Anti-Semitism and the African landscape

  By Rolene Marks

The history of the Jewish people and that of many African countries is more similar than it is different. There are some striking parallels – tribal allegiances, love of the indigenous land and a shared history of persecution and colonialism.

In the fledgling days before the founding of the modern State of Israel, Jews fought to end the British mandate that effectively colonized their ancient land.

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Theodor Herzl

It was with philosophy that both the founder of modern Zionism, Theodore Herzl and Israel’s Prime Minister, Golda Meir, who was the first to recognize that the Jewish state was the natural partner to help beleaguered African countries.

They recognized the shared desires of the African people as well as the Jews to live free in their homelands and respected the national liberation movements of the time, sensing a mutual desire to that of their own Zionist ideals. Zionism after all, is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people.

But today, much like in many other parts of the world, anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head on the continent. A continent that has suffered more than its own share of discrimination and persecution.

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Israeli PM Golda Meir (while serving as FM) and Kenya President Jomo Kenyatta laying cornerstone of Israeli Embassy in Nairobi (December 1963)

From the north to the south

Many would be surprised to find out that there once were thriving Jewish communities in many countries across the continent and while communities are sparse in sub-Saharan Africa, in Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt, they once flourished.

The Lemba of Southern Africa, the Igbo of Nigeria, Ethiopan Jews, the Abuyudaya of Uganda and the Sephardi and Ashkenazi of Europe, many of whom settled in Africa to escape persecution and who can forget the Mizrahi Jews of Arab countries, who were forced to flee Islamic rulers.

Due to rising anti-Semitism and poverty, these communities barely exist anymore. Outside of South Africa which has the largest community on the continent, there were communities in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, Zaire (the Democratic Republic of Congo) and Zimbabwe. While many left for Israel, others left for Europe or elsewhere.

The continent’s massive poverty rates and political turmoil in the late 20th century led to some African national leaders blaming Jews for the problems of their countries which they claimed, “are operated by a conspiracy against the African race”. Anti-Semitism in Africa includes false rumors and allegations that the AIDS pandemic, was bioengineered by either the US, the United Nations or “the Jews” in a plot to exterminate millions of black Africans and that the disease is a part of the “Jewish” or “white Europeans’ maneuvers against Africa” or a continuous practice of “racial genocide”. African nations are prone to accept unreliable anti-Semitic reports and revisionist history that the slavery of black Africans in the new world was because of “Jewish merchants working for European colonial masters”. According to social scientists, these theories are appealing to some impoverished and downtrodden people without enough education to know the “Jewish conspiracy” myth is false and unprovable.

The South African story

In post-Apartheid South Africa, the Jewish community has not been spared. This is particularly troubling considering that the contribution made by the Jewish community during the Apartheid years was significant in the fight to end the racist regime. One famous example was that out of the 13 Rivonia trialists, 5 were Jewish.

Who can forget the inimitable Helen Suzman, the lone voice of opposition in parliament to the Apartheid government? Jewish and a woman to boot! Some of the greatest names to enter the pantheon of anti-Apartheid activists, be it through political, cultural, religious or civil action, include Johnny Clegg, Rabbi Isaacson, Joe Slovo, Arthur Chaskalson, Nadine Gordimer, Gill Marcus and Albie Sachs to name but a few. The founding fathers of the Rainbow Nation, Mandela, Sisulu and Thambo were intimately involved with Jews, having worked alongside many throughout their legal careers. Mandela famously visited Israel with “his” Rabbi Cyril Harris and met with then Prime- Minister, Shimon Peres. Mandela famously refers to Menachem Begin and the Irgun as the basis on which he hoped to model the armed wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom:

“I read The Revolt by Menachem Begin and was encouraged by the fact that the Israeli leader had led a guerrilla force in a country with neither mountains nor forests, a situation similar to our own.”

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Chief Rabbi Cyril Harris and former President Nelson Mandela (Credit: Afrika Tikkun)

I think that these great stalwarts of human rights would be greatly hurt to witness the appalling invective levelled against South Africa’s Jewish community.

Good Jew, Bad Jew

Manifesting more as anti-Zionism rather than traditional anti-Semitism (although the two cannot be separated) the clarion call seems to be “Jews are welcome, Zionists are not.” Or are they? Over the past few years, anti-Semitism is manifesting on the Southern tip of the continent much like it is all over the world. Social media platforms have become new battlefields and threats of violence and subsequent incidents have increased.

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Wits University Johanneburg

There seems to be a division between who is termed “good” or “bad” Jew. Good Jews apparently are not Zionist and identify as Jewish by “cultural ties”, not those awful traditional, Israel loving kind. There have been atrocious incidents of anti-Semitism ranging from the BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) movement and their cries of “shoot the Jew” at a conference hosted by the South African Zionist Federation to the appalling tweets from populist Black Land First leader, Andile Mngxitama and a whole host of incidents and issues in between.

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Anti-Semitism and the African landscape9
Pretoria University 29/08/2017

Many look to Europe or the USA as the barometer on how anti-Semitism manifests but if we ignore the South African model, we do so at our peril. It would appear that when BDS and their supporters in South Africa sneeze, their global network catches a cold. This is not to say that anti-Semitism in South Africa is restricted to BDS and the far left but the far right, perhaps emboldened by the alarming rise of their counterparts in the USA are rearing their ugly, neo-Nazi heads as well.

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Pretoria University 29/08/2017

The consequences of rising anti-Semitism in South Africa are worrying. This could mean the marginalizing of a minority group that has played a vital role in not just the fight against the injustice of the past but continues to punch far above its size in helping to build a new country. It would also result in many of South Africa’s Jews leaving for safer pastures – and along with them, investment and employment opportunities for many of the country’s impoverished.

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Mr Bongani Masuku found guilty of hate speech against the Jewish community in South Africa, 2017

South Africans fought against Apartheid and many paid a painful price. After the struggles of the country’s dark past, do we really want to see this vicious cycle of discrimination and racism rise again?

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BDS Activist: Israelis as Inhuman Nazis

Silence is no longer an option and the message that Jews are just as much a colour in the Rainbow Nation as any other community needs to be heard. Loudly.

 

 

 

 

Blame by the Numbers

 Israel’s paltry trade with South Africa during Apartheid era

By Rolene Marks

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Israel Apartheid Week will wind its hate filled way across the world in March and April – one of the main accusations is Israel’s support of South Africa during Apartheid. Lay of the land sets the record straight.

 

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This Is Apartheid. A 1956 sign common in Johannesburg. IMAGE: THREE LIONS/GETTY IMAGES

Israel’s detractors love to compare the Jewish state to Apartheid South Africa. This is not a comparison based on facts but rather part of a greater campaign to paint Israel as a pariah state and deal out the same sort of isolation through boycotts and sanctions as was done to South Africa during the height of Apartheid.

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This Is Apartheid. Separate stairs for “Europeans “ and “non-Europeans”.

Many try to single out Israel as the only country during those years to have had any dealings with South Africa but on closer inspection, trade and co-operation between the two countries was so minute to that of other countries whose trade with the Apartheid government registered in the billions of dollars.

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This Is Apartheid. Separate toilet facilities for “Whites”.

While Israel’s cooperation with the Apartheid regime is a cause of much embarrassment to me as both a South African and an Israeli, Israel’s role in not standing up to Apartheid is insignificant in comparison to other countries.

Focus on the Facts  

Israel’s total amount of trade with the then Apartheid government was a mere $200m dollars per annum compared to:

– U.S.A                – $3.4 billion

– Japan               – $2.9 billion

– Germany          – $2.8 billion

– U.K.                   -$2.6 billion

– Arab countries   – $3 billion

The Arab countries could have brought the Apartheid regime to its knees – if it wanted to! It didn’t.

It was the oil tankers from Iran and Saudi Arabia which kept the wheels of Apartheid oiled. Arab oil exports to South Africa totaled more than $3 billion per year and, if that supply had been cut off, would have ended apartheid in the 1960’s!

Double Standards

The Saudi and Iranian human rights records are abysmal and constitute some of the worst human rights violators in the world today. Nonetheless South African government officials frequently visit both countries. The singling out of Israel for opprobrium smacks of a horrendous double standards when one considers that in Iran, homosexuals are hung from cranes, and the ruling government has no compunction in denying the Holocaust or calling for the destruction of the Jewish state.

This occurs all the while parading their ballistic missiles through the streets of the capital, Teheran!

France supplied Apartheid South Africa with weapons, nuclear material and financial aid, Switzerland the USA and Britain funded the Apartheid regime, Germany supported the racist regime in extensive trade. I include a few of the thousands of examples that can be sited:

Royal Dutch/Shell’s subsidiary, Shell South Africa, was involved in extensive operations in the petroleum, mining and chemical industries of South Africa and Namibia, with an estimated turnover of more than US$2 billion in South Africa in 1989.

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Business Buddies. In released reports, Margaret Thatcher made no mention of Nelson Mandela during the only formal talks she held with South Africa’s Apartheid president, P.W. Botha.
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Select Memories. Why does BDS SA ignore the real culprits who cooperated with Apartheid? A poster produced in 1971 by the British Anti-Apartheid Movement protesting British Arms to South Africa, Source: African Activist Archive

In 1962 Britain’s ICI and South Africa’s De Beers each put £5 million into AECI (African Explosives and Chemicals Industries) to set up three new plants producing tear gas, ammunition for small arms, anti-tank and aircraft rockets.

British Leyland’s South African subsidiary supplied Land Rovers that were used by the South African police against students in the 1976 Soweto uprising.

Selective Morality

The human rights records in Iraq, Libya, Syria have resulted in many hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths. Once again, South African government officials have no problem visiting these human rights violators, and those that purport to be human rights activists, like the BDS movement, remain silent and raise no issues of concern?

One must ask if a special standard is applied to the Jewish State and why?

It appears that perspective has little to do with the assumptions made about the historical relationship between Israel and South Africa. It also looks as if human rights are not a factor when dealing with bilateral relations between South Africa and other countries. When South African leaders visit Russia, perpetrator of some of the greatest crimes against humanity in modern times in places like Syria and Chechnya, and which in 2014, invaded and then occupied the Crimea in the independent Ukraine, they never raised any issues of concern.

Why does South Africa – that maintains that its “legacy” obliges it to take issue wherever and whenever human rights are grossly violated – remain silent against gross violations by Russia?

When the ANC hosted internationally criticised Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in South Africa – a man responsible for attempted genocide against the Jewish people – there were photo ops and soundbites instead of condemnation.

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Time For South Africa Apartheid week. (SAAW). Service delivery protests in the Western Cape where people were protesting for basic rights such as housing, electricity and greater infrastructure (Source: Henk Kruger)

And therein lies the rub!

When a special standard is applied to Jews and the Jewish state, it leads people to ask some very troubling questions.

Israel is a free, vibrant albeit flawed democracy. Is the Jewish state culpable as its detractors try make out?

The facts speak otherwise.

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Apartheid SA Today. Sprawling urban minority separated from the nearby squalor of the shanty town. This sight is typical throughout present apartheid South Africa where the “have nots” – predominantly Black – are separated from the “haves” in shanty satellite communities outside cities and towns throughout the country.

When it comes to historical trade relations between the two countries, Israel’s opponents are intentionally defaming the Jewish state ‘making mountains out of molehills’ by way of lies and deception.

 

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Unveiling The Truth. South African apartheid government needed weapons and the French arms industry needed money – thus started a long term alliance. In the Open Secrets’ series, ‘Declassified: Apartheid Profits’, we see how a secret office in Paris was brokering weapons deals in order to bust the apartheid arms embargo. While Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island, France and its major corporations were among the most loyal supporters of Pretoria’s racist regime, to which they sold arms, nuclear and industrial technologies, in total disregard of UN sanctions. At the time, there was little protest. In this report (above), we learn of PW. Botha, then Minister of Defence visit to France in 1969 to discuss secret arms deals..