The SAJBD in the Media

The Board featured prominently in the media last week, with our statement condemning the racially-motivated ‘coffin’ assault in Mpumalanga receiving wide coverage. Alana Baranov, who represents us on the steering committee of the Hate Crimes Working Group, was interviewed on  several radio news programmes, while opinion  pieces on the subject of combating racism and prejudice (including antisemitism) by David Saks and Charisse Zeifert, appeared in the Sunday Tribune and Sowetan respectively.

By contributing the voice of our Jewish community to broader debates, we participate in issues of national importance. This year, one of the most pressing of these issues has been the escalating problem of racially-charged antagonism, something that is becoming more evident at all levels of our society, including in politics. Recapturing the spirit of tolerance, understanding and reconciliation with which South Africa’s brave new world of non-racial democracy was launched 22 years ago has never been more vital. Our community, whether as individuals or through communal organisations must do everything we can to reignite that world.         

When a criminal act is motivated, wholly or in part, by prejudice or intolerance, it adds a significant dimension of severity to the offence. ‘Corrective rape’ against lesbians, for example, combines a brutal physical assault with an attack on the very identity and self-worth of the victim, not to mention that of the LBGT community in general. In recognition of this, a new Hate Crimes Bill has been gazetted and will be coming up before Parliament early next year. The Board is currently finalising its submission on the Bill, in which we will bring our particular concerns as a Jewish community together with our thoughts and recommendation concerning how to tackle such issues as hate speech (particularly online) and how to implement more effectively the anti-discrimination legislation currently on the statute book.    

Recent Articles

A day in THE LIFE. Getting down to business with the SA Jewish Board of Deputies

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. 

The reality of Israel APARTHEID WEEK. Exposing the anti-Semitism of the BDS

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’. 

Lessons we can learn from the Holocaust

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.