Last Friday, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) led a delegation to Parliament, comprising mainly South African Jewish stakeholders to address the International Relations Portfolio Committee, at the invitation of its Chairperson The Honourable Masango.
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies is horrified by the shocking racial attack in Mpumalanga referred to as the 'coffin assault'. We condemn this racist incident in which Victor Mlotshwa was kidnapped, forced inside a coffin and threatened with his life.
Just one year after Penny Sparrow reached notoriety for her racist comments about beach-goers on the Durban coast, it is with a sense of déjà vu that the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) condemns yet another South African, Ben Sasanof, for similar offensive comments he made concerning the Durban beachfront this weekend.
On Sunday, the SAJBD Gauteng Council and the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre (JHGC) held a joint function in memory of legendary human rights activist and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.
In a letter to its colleagues and students, the Senior Executive Team from the University of the Witwatersrand has described as “devious” the action of the Wits Palestinian Solidarity Committee’s booking of the lawns under the pretence of other activities. It was stressed that the students had deliberately misled the university management, and that this had far-reaching consequences: “This kind of disruptive, deceitful action cannot be dealt with through security,” the letter stated.
Reports of violence, intimidation, and hate speech directed against lesbians, Jews and whites during the protests at Wits University yesterday are distressing. While the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) is sensitive to the myriad serious issues facing students in this country, it is never acceptable to target minority groups and inflame hatred. According to comments and photos on Twitter, a student claims: “They strangled me, choke-slammed me, threatened me. After, they said ‘queer bodies + feminists not welcome.” In another tweet, it was noted that students were ushered out of buildings by protestors shouting: “Whites must die! Jews must die!”
Early this morning, the South African Jewish community lost one of its most loved and respected members with the passing, at the age of 98, of Advocate Jules Browde, an eminent member of the Johannesburg Bar and a long-serving human rights activist and Jewish communal leader.
Over the past year, we have seen an escalation of hate speech being disseminated through social media. The authorities, to a large extent, have struggled to truly address this trend. It is for this reason that the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) supports the Portfolio Committee on Communications in its undertaking to amend the Film and Publications Act, 1996. However, the SAJBD is of the view that the extremely complex nature of the electronic media cannot be effectively regulated simply by broadening the already existing Film and Publications Act (FBA).