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Events and Life Mindsets Policy issues Politics and government

South African anti-Semitism means the country is like most others

I came across the Citizen’s article titled “Alleged anti-semitic attack in Rosebank ” on Facebook today. According to the Citizen:

The assailants allegedly hurled antisemitic insults at the youths and physically assaulted two of the three youngsters.

“[The Jewish boys] were wearing kippah [yarmulke],” said Kahn, who stated that the attack was motivated by antisemitism, as the boys were clearly identified, and the statements directed at them included references to religious and political tension in the Middle East.

These attacks are shameful and, as much as they seem to represent an escalation in anti-Semitism in South Africa, they also seem to point to a relatively new trend in South Africa that I noticed last year during Operation Protective Edge in Israel. Before then, anti-Israel sentiment popped up whenever Israel took action against Palestinians but it largely remained anti-Israel sentiment.

Last year that changed and anti-Israel sentiment became thinly veiled anti-Semitism and then not so thinly veiled. What it signified to me was that South Africa was losing its relatively sheltered status compared to much of Europe which has witnessed violent attacks like this for some time now.

On one hand it seems like South Africa is just following the same regressive trend that has gripped Europe, the United States and other developed countries: it has become more acceptable in some sectors to lash out at Jews if the rage is prefaced by some sort of objective to Israel’s actions regarding the Palestinians (regardless of there being any justification for the rage). I’d say that is just progress except it isn’t. It is, however, not unusual lately.

On the other hand, South Africa following this trend means the culture of tolerance and its embrace for diversity which South Africans began to cultivate after 1994 has withered. Surely South Africa, of all countries, should lead the world with a values-based tolerance for diversity of legitimate opinions and beliefs? Instead politics and sensationalism have done away with any real semblance of an enlightened approach based on Constitutional values and a respect for human rights.

What remains, both in South Africa and elsewhere in the world, is the latest version of a seething and ancient hatred for Jews. Objections to Israel’s approach to the Palestinians by the likes of the BDS Movement is just a cover for a deeper hatred and a much bigger threat that faces not just Israel and the world’s Jews but much of the world’s population.

I don’t think this is the last time people who are visibly Jewish will be attacked in South Africa’s malls and on the streets. Tragically, I suspect this will only get worse in time and the sooner more people realize this and do more to prevent it, the better. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be a politically popular option anymore.

I hope I am wrong.

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Mindsets

Daily Maverick reveals evidence of the Marikana Murders

Apartheid - A Crime Against Humanity

Many of us remember the old days when the police vans were yellow and were manned by white men engaged in a racially-motivated campaign to dominate, control and oppress the majority racial group in this country. It was a dark time in this country’s history and one which we hoped was firmly in the past when Nelson Mandela’s release from prison inspired a non-violent and hopeful revolution, transforming South Africa into a multi-racial and multi-cultural nation. Back in the mid to late 1990s there was a lot of talk about a Rainbow Nation. We haven’t heard that talk for a while and, instead, South Africa has returned to a group mindset focused on our differences, rather than our common interests and humanity.

Rather than moving away from a split and unequal society towards a united nation, the borders between us have just been redrawn and cloaked with rhetoric, Struggle jargon and over-used words like “transformation”, “redistribution” and notions of persistent white control. It’s mostly bullshit designed to keep the uninformed voting population firmly in the pockets of whoever is keen to retain control over the country’s political and economic future but it works so we have a government that under-delivers, over-promises and keeps pointing to the modern equivalent of the old “Swart Gevaar” (or however the old National Party government referred to the spooky threats lurking in the darkness of the old South Africa).

The violence at Marikana is another reminder than we are far from the society Mandela’s ANC envisaged and the nation we hoped for almost 20 years ago. It is a reminder that the more some things change, the more they stay the same. It is a reminder that the current regime has forgotten what it fought for and that the pigs have just moved into the farmhouse. The Daily Maverick has an article today which reveals how the police at Marikana didn’t just fire in self-defence, some of the SAPS’ members cornered protesting miners away from the media at the scene and murdered them:

Some of the miners killed in the 16 August massacre at Marikana appear to have been shot at close range or crushed by police vehicles. They were not caught in a fusillade of gunfire from police defending themselves, as the official account would have it. GREG MARINOVICH spent two weeks trying to understand what really happened. What he found was profoundly disturbing.

Of the 34 miners killed at Marikana, no more than a dozen of the dead were captured in news footage shot at the scene. The majority of those who died, according to surviving strikers and researchers, were killed beyond the view of cameras at a nondescript collection of boulders some 300 metres behind Wonderkop.

After all this time, we really haven’t come very far at all. Sure, the miners were belligerent and the photos I have seen show the miners were armed with an assortment of weapons. I wouldn’t have wanted to be standing there facing them but there is a difference between containing a violent confrontation and hunting the protestors down and shooting them as they flee. That is what the old SAPD did under a National Party government. That is what we saw in a virtual police state. This is what this country is becoming.


Image credit: Apartheid – A Crime Against Humanity by United Nations Photo, licensed CC BY NC ND 2.0