Rising concerns over the proliferation of antisemitic conspiracy theories within the ANC’s Western Cape branch was the main subject addressed during a first-ever meeting between the SAJBD and newly-appointed ANC Secretary-General Ace Mogashule on Tuesday afternoon. The meeting, which took place at the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters, was attended by the Board’s National Chairman Shaun Zagnoev, Vice-President Zev Krengel and National Director Wendy Kahn.
The Board referred specifically to recent comments by ANC MPP in the Cape Provincial Legislature claiming that “Helen Zille was in love with the Jewish mafia” and the subsequent attempts by ANC Provincial Secretary Faiez Jacobs to justify them. Reference was also made to previous comments by ANC leaders, including former ANC provincial leader Marius Fransman, alleging that the ruling DA in the Western Cape was unfairly favouring the Jewish community. Such rhetoric, it was emphasized, fostered a climate of prejudice and distrust against the Jewish community, in addition to being factually baseless. As such it ran completely counter to South Africa’s democratic, anti-racism culture, as well as that of the ANC itself.
Magashule reiterated that while the ANC was a broad church encompassing a diversity of opinion on many issues, its zero-tolerance approach to all forms of racism and bigotry, including antisemitism, remained unchanged. He undertook to shortly bring the Board’s concerns to the attention of the party’s senior leadership for discussion and resolution.
Zagnoev described the meeting as “very encouraging”, adding that the Board delegation had been very warmly received. He emphasized that the meeting was a preliminary one and would be followed up in due course by further engagements, in which other issues of specific concern to the Jewish community would be addressed.