As stressed in previous columns, the Board maintains close links with international Jewish communities and organisations. This week, our National Director Wendy Kahn took part in a conference and workshop for Jewish professional communal executives in Dublin. The event, which fifty directors of Jewish organisations from around the world attended, provided an excellent opportunity to share best practice on a variety of matters of common concern. One of the highlights was being hosted at a reception by Irish President Michael Higgins at his home. Through involving ourselves in forums such as these, we are able to forge mutually beneficial working relationships with our overseas colleagues in addressing such common issues as combating antisemitism, promoting inter-religious contacts and encouraging cultural and intellectual exchanges.
When my children were in primary school, they had no idea what their Mum did as a job. I didn’t fit in the mould as a doctor, lawyer, speech therapist or teacher. When it came to careers’ day in grade 2 they asked me to come in and talk to the kids but my talk was met with blank stares. I never handed out surgical masks or Nandos burgers. I was just a lady with a complicated story.
I have no illusions about `Israel Apartheid Week’ (IAW) being an antisemitic hatefest with BDS and their cohorts dressing up as human rights activists and using this platform to spew hatred against SA Jewry.
What struck us this year was how hard the BDS folk tried to convince the public that IAW wasn’t antisemitic. It was definitely a case of `the lady protesteth too much’. One of the opeds on this theme, which appeared in the Sunday Tribune on the eve of IAW, was by SA Jews for a Free Palestine activist Sheila Barsel, who dogmatically dismissed our claims of antisemitism as being not `accurate’.
It is remarkable that, seventy two years after the Holocaust, a seemingly never-ending amount of new material on the tragedy continues to emerge. Surely by this time, the history of this period, should have already been told. Yet, on an almost daily basis, new stories are coming to light and fresh research (thanks in large part to the recent opening of Eastern European archives) is being undertaken. New books are being written, while educators are constantly looking for ways to ensure the Holocaust is never forgotten.