Writing on the political succession debate within the ANC (‘ANC's dirty war’, 15/1/2017), Setumo Stone reports that in certain quarters the candidature of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is being opposed on the grounds that he is “in the pockets of the Jews” and “beholden to Jewish business interests”
Implicit in this statement is a sinister suggestion of Jewish financial domination. The problem with this, is that Jews are singled out and accused of manipulating political leaders through their alleged financial power. Notions such as these are racist and factually baseless. They seek to promote discrimination.
What has become increasingly distressing is that similar accusations are more and more surfacing in mainstream society. The scapegoating of Jews specifically for South Africa’s ills is becoming a common feature of our everyday discourse.
South Africa is experiencing social turbulence. Poverty, unemployment, unaffordable education, poor service delivery, crime and violence, particularly against women are daily realities that we must grapple with. It is commonplace in such circumstances for people, in their fear, anger and frustration, to seek scapegoats and create an ‘other’ who can be blamed for all of society’s ills.
Scapegoating South Africa’s ills on the Jews will not solve any of South Africa’s problems. It will only add to the polarised nature of our society. This is something we should avoid at all costs.
We have come from a history characterised by racial classification and stereotypes. To truly be liberated, we have to learn more about each other, and strive to be tolerant and empathetic.