SAJBD condemns racially divisive rhetoric by Malema

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) condemns the latest utterances by EFF Leader Julius Malema against the Indian community. Alana Baranov, the SAJBD representative of the Hate Crimes Working Group (HCWG) notes that “racially divisive rhetoric such as this creates an atmosphere in which hate and discrimination directed towards a certain group of people may flourish and become socially acceptable. We should be working to build bridges between communities, not to tear them down.”


The prevalence of racism in our country is deeply concerning. Politicians should be particularly careful not inflame tensions by singling out any minority for abuse. It is irresponsible, counter-productive, insensitive and a threat to fostering mutual respect and understanding among us.

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The SAJBD was heartened by an email we received from Mr Solly Hattia, a member of the Muslim community.

“My experiences living amongst a Jewish community.  My first engagement with Jewish people began when the company I worked for merged with a Jewish family-owned-business and to whom I was then to report to as my new CEO.  My first encounter with my new Boss, Ronnie Norwitz, was on a Friday when he came down to my office at around 12 looked at his watch and said “Solly aren't you going to be late for your Friday prayer?”  Never before in all my years of working, had I ever had this courtesy from a boss!  His other interesting comment on my return from the Mosque was all ways, "Friday's are good days ".  Ronnie would always say this with the gesture of a clenched fist swinging his arm through the air as if he was going to hit someone.  He always greeted me with a smile and a kind word.  Braai days at work you would find him at my fire naturally. 

THE REAL PROBLEM WITH IQBAL JASSAT’S LATEST SCREED

At the biennial conference of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies Gauteng Council next week, Gauteng Jewry will have the first opportunity of engaging directly with President Ramaphosa since his assumption of the presidency earlier this year. Rather than delivering the traditional keynote address, Mr Ramaphosa will be exchanging views with eminent business leader Stephen Koseff on challenges currently facing South Africa, what the Jewish community is (or could be) doing to help address them and how each sees the future of the country and its people. In other words, it is not about what this country should be doing to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian, or any other foreign policy issue, but is framed as being a South African conversation between fellow South Africans on South African issues.