Letter to Cape Times


Dear Ed,

I am not sure which is more alarming, your series on Peter Plum, a member of the Hitler Youth, active during the NAZI era,(23 Nov 2015, pg6) or your front page story on a Turkish interdict against several members of the IDF?

For starters, glorifying the Nazis, by legitimising both the ideology and narrative of the Nazi regime, is extremely close to hate speech. Giving Peter Plum a platform may provide insight, but it certainly does not bode well for Jews.  Coming so soon after the Paris atrocity in which 89 ‘Eagles of Death Metal’ fans were gunned down by armed assailants, claiming to speak on behalf of Islam, at a nightclub once owned by Jews, and following so soon on the heels of the state visit by Hamas.

I can only commiserate with those in our community who were never consulted. As Jacob Zuma, himself acknowledges, having already issued an apology, post fact, during his recent address to the South African Jewish Board of Deputies. This apology isn’t headline news. But suppressing Jews is what South Africa’s media does best, when it ignores the plight of the Jews of District Six and other working class suburbs, when it papers over Nigerian Jews living in Yeoville, and forgets about persons such as the Lemba, whose ethnic and cultural identity link them to Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

It is not that I do not sympathise with the plight of Palestinians, whether Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Arab, but in condemning Israel, why is that the broader public do not find the time, to condemn the current administration’s support for the gassing of civilians at Ghouta?

As a BRICS nation, South Africa deserves universal​ condemnation for its support of a Russian bombing campaign against the Free Syrian Army, in support of the Assad regime. A regime which has ruled in Syria without any opposition since 1970, under the exact same Pan-Arab flag that is waved around at Free Palestine rallies.

I am also reminded of Turkey’s war against the PKK and the genocide of the Kurds. For a country such as Turkey, with a long list of massacres, to be cooperating with South Africa, which has its fair share of massacres (Soweto, Sharpville, Boipatong, Marikana) supposedly to serve warrants on some IDF soldiers charged with illegally boarding a sailing vessel registered by Turkey, as if we are all angels down here, seems to me to be the height of hypocrisy.

To date, nobody has been charged with the deaths of workers at Marikana. While I certainly sympathise with the plight of Palestinians, one has got to question the timing of the announcement ​of the interdict by Suraya Dadoo of the Media Review Network,  and your publication​,​ and ​ following so soon after the events of the past two weeks. Doing this raises questions as to whether or not South Africa is in any way involved in the global terror campaign being perpetrated by Salafists.

The issue of Jihadist training camps in South Africa has been raised on a number of occasions. Most recently Gwede Mantashe was asked whether or not his party would be supporting the Jihadist armed struggle for the creation of an Islamic state to replace Israel. His response was that while this was not on the table, the country would be making funds available and Hamas were invited to open offices in Johannesburg.

I therefore urge fellow South Africans, instead of supporting war, to instead re-affirm our commitment to Peace, African Unity and the non-alignment movement, in particular that we keep to the path of our nation’s​ historical resistance to war, while preserving the Secular and Non-Sectarian legacy of our nation’s founder, the late Nelson Mandela.

Peace
David Robert Lewis
[Unpublished letter written before the downing of a Russian plane by Turkey]
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