Cosatu's Tony Ehrenreich Censured for Threatening Jewish Community

This week, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) unequivocally upheld a complaint against Ehrenreich lodged by the SAJBD. Ehrenreich was found guilty of prohibited hate speech, of harassment and of violating the complainants’ right both to dignity and to equality. He was directed to apologise in writing to the SAJBD and affirm his commitment to constitutional values.  

In its 26-page ruling, the SAHRC observed that even if a clear distinction had been made between the SAJBD and South African Jews in general, the statement would still have constituted a clear violation of the complainants’ rights. The language of Ehrenreich’s Facebook post in essence called for war against members of the targeted group and openly stated that they should “be murdered by their fellow South Africans in retaliation for acts taking place in another country”. This was “deeply psychologically and emotionally hurtful in terms of Section 10(a) of the Promotion of Equality and Prohibition of Unfair Discrimination Act”, and further constituted incitement to cause harm, which was prohibited under the Bill of Rights.   

SAJBD National Chairman Shaun Zagnoev believed that the ruling provided a useful addition to existing case law that helped to clarify where the boundaries lay between freedom of expression and constitutionally prohibited hate speech.

“The SAJBD welcomes the SAHRC ruling. It sends an unequivocal message that there is no justification for propagating hatred and making threats against fellow South Africans, irrespective of one’s political views (including on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict)” he said.

Zagnoev added that the SAJBD would continue to pursue cases like this to their conclusion, regardless of how long it took, in order to ensure that those who threatened or defamed the Jewish community were called to account. He noted that several other ANC Western Cape political figures had also made antisemitic statements in recent years, which the SAJBD was currently pursuing through the SAHRC. 

Recent Articles

Jewish Life July 2019

Keeping an Eye on Things

Reflections and stories from my experience as an election observer.

Elections are a special time.  They bring with them optimism, excitement, and new horizons.  In our country they symbolise hard fought for and cherished free talking to fellow South Africans whom we would normally never meet, while waiting in a queue to vote.  We laugh together, moan and commiserate about the long wait, but also reminisce about the magical 1994 election.  It is a great leveller.

Above Board 27.7.19

At the time of writing, together with our National Vice-President Zev Krengel, I am in Israel, where we have participated in a number of high-level meetings aimed at providing updates on recent political developments in South Africa, sharing information pertaining to our own community and getting perspectives on the current political situation in Israel. This will form the basis of my next column. 

Above Board 11.7.19

Nahum Goldmann Fellow Programme nurtures Jewish leadership

The recently concluded Nahum Goldmann Fellowship Programme (NGFP), which this year was held in Israel, once again brought together a broad range of up-and-coming young Jewish leaders from around the world for an intensive period of Jewish learning, discussion and sharing of experiences and perspectives. As always, participants found it to be an extremely enriching and inspiring experience, particularly in the opportunities it provided for engaging with Jews from completely different backgrounds.