Jozi Mayor Thapelo Amad: ‘No Homos please, we’re Muslims’

WITH the colors of Pan Arabism and the words ‘Palestine’ written in bold, Johannesburg’s new major Thapelo Amad made his inaugural appearance. The politician and imam is a member of the far-right, minority Al Jama-ah (Arabic: الجماعة, lit. ’the Congregation’) party, which has found itself with a golden vote, as part of a strange coalition between the Metro’s ANC and EFF.

All three parties have diverging, and perhaps irreconcilable policies when it comes to the status of LGBT, women, secularism and the Middle East.

While the Al Jama-ah manifesto opposes “moral sexuality education for primary school children to ensure they not issued with soft porn material in violation of the sexual offences act”, it has a host of feel-good policies on poverty alleviation, economic upliftment and the like.

But it significantly also opposes events such as Gay Pride, much like its counterparts, Fatah and Hamas, and is actively positioning itself to introduce moral policing in the Metro, informed by scripture.

The ‘Palestinian Embassy’ in Johannesburg were quick to shower Amad with awards in the aftermath of his successful mayoral campaign (see photo left).

One need look no further than a press release by the party in October 2022 which takes issue with News24 and its supposed “Diabolical Headlines” where the party strangely felt the need to respond to a news-story about a potential ISIS attack.

Amad’s party proceeded to upbraid reporter Qaanitah Hunter for ‘implying that only Muslims are opposed to Gay Pride’. The party then went on to claim there are several Christian organisations also ‘vehemently opposed’ on religious grounds.

Hunter claims the News24 report referred to, “implies that only Muslims are opposed to the Gay Pride event; they are aware that there are several Christian organizations — based on religious grounds – that are also vehemently against it.”

Amad’s Party ‘vehemently opposed’ to Gay Pride

The Party according to spokesperson Shameemah Salie “does not identify with any LGTQ (sic) activities whether it be Gay Pride parades and even comedy shows, it rejects any insinuation in which Muslims are not just negatively implicated but persistently fingered for wanting to cause chaos in that city. Whether – from a religio-theological perspective – we determinedly disagree with their forms sexual orientation and their queer belief system, it should unambiguously be stated that most of our communities do not support these LGBTQ groups.”

According to Salie: “Their lifestyle is condemned and unacceptable with the practices of Islam and Muslims. “

She also accused News24 of Islamophobia and said: “The paper’s repugnant headline undoubtedly is an unambiguous expression of purposeful Islamophobia; they want communities of other faiths to view Islam and Muslims negatively.”

The statement also said the party was “aware of constitutional rights” of LGBT and would find ways to ‘deal with them’.

Ed note: Secularism, as the man who coined the term George Holyoake asserted in his principles of Secularism, is not the absence of religion, but rather the absence of religious rule.

In particular Holyoake stated “A Secularist guides himself by maxims of Positivism, seeking to discern what is in Nature—what ought to be in morals—selecting the affirmative in exposition, concerning himself with the real, the right, and the constructive. Positive principles are principles which are provable. “

UPDATE: The press statement now appears to have been taken down alongside all the party’s press material and is no longer available on their website. However the document pdf and its url is still referred to on the Net and a copy is in our possession, and available below:

SEE: Everything you know about the Palestinian Struggle is Wrong

SEE: New Johannesburg mayor is from openly queerphobic party

Holocaust denialist Whoopi Goldberg regales us once more, with her platitudes on race

HOLOCAUST DENIALIST Whoopi Goldberg has doubled down on her bizarre assertion that the event which reduced a pre-War population of 11 million Jews living in areas controlled by the Nazis to 5 million, was merely ‘white on white violence’.

After issuing an apology for similar statements made on a talk-show programme earlier this year, the Hollywood actress, re-entered the fray as if she had learn absolutely nothing from the previous experience, necessitating yet another retraction.

Goldberg’s latest remarks are deeply offensive and constitute a form of Antisemitism, in which the speaker attributes race to Jews, in order to, yes, make a point about race.

Another dimension is the manner in which the speaker also denies that race-based policies, such as that which existed under the Nazis, are even racist. In effect, decontextualising the Holocaust as nothing more than ‘white privilege’, and is thus a blatant form of denial.

In a new interview with a British newspaper, The Sunday Times shared during Hanukkah, Goldberg showed little remorse for her past rhetoric, ‘arguing again that the estimated 6 million Jews who were systematically killed in the Holocaust were not targeted based on their race’.

“The View” co-host also claimed that the Nazis targeted people of African descent in addition to Jews because they were physically different, and ‘went as far as to suggest that Jews had an easier time blending in with White people and hiding from the Nazis than Black people did at the time of the Holocaust.’

Goldberg suggested “these are two white groups of people. The minute you turn it into race, it goes down this alley. Let’s talk about it for what it is. It’s how people treat each other.” You can read my earlier comments and response to this statement here.

Whoopi’s comments are not simply illogical and wrong-headed, but could mislead one to conclude that black persons such as herself, cannot experience racism.

Race is the child of racism not the father. The issue here is not whether “Jews are divided on whether they are a race, religion or both” or perceive themselves to be a race (they don’t) but whether the Nazis did.

For the record, the Jews for the most part, form an historical community much like the Kurds, in which ethnicity plays a part, however there are many sub-communities, and thus one may discern Haredi, Sephardi, Ashkenazi and Mizrahi or Oriental Jews.

Local news-outlets such as IOL have failed to cover this story since it exposes and thus jars with the obvious attempt to decontextualise the Holocaust in order to provide a different narrative to the Israel/Palestine conflict, one in which the tragic genocide never occurred.

UPDATE: IOL are now carrying Whoopi’s second apology and retraction.

Kanye West: Yeezus, you ain’t Mr Jeezus

KANYE WEST is certainly never one to avoid controversy, but over the past weeks, his pronouncements on social media have been called out for being nothing more than vulgar anti-Semitism. The result was the cancellation of lucrative contracts with sports brand Adidas, the shelving of an unreleased documentary, and a major talent agency CAA cutting ties.

Both singer Boy George and celebrity Kim Kardashian have spoken out against the rapper’s casual resort to hate speech.

Kardashian wrote that hate speech is “never OK” or “excusable.”

“I stand together with the Jewish community and call on the terrible violence and hateful rhetoric towards them to come to an immediate end,” she added.

Instead of issuing an apology, West doubled down along his bigot-alley pronouncements by claiming the term ‘anti-Semite’ was now akin to the ‘use of the N-word’, before taking a month-long ‘vow of silence’.

His absurd attempt at issuing reverse psychology certainly fell flat, since such an equivocation seeks to deprive black Jews and Jews of color with what is, in reality a stock defence against racism. The term Anti-Semitism was coined in 1879 by  Wilhelm Marr to designate the anti-Jewish campaigns underway in central Europe at that time, it was later adopted by academics as a better sounding term than Judenhass, or Jew-hatred.

While some may feel a little sympathetic with West encountering contemporary cancel culture, and his views certainly deserve opprobrium, South Africans should feel ashamed that local news-outlets appear to have censored the news story.

One can only surmise that the reasons for doing so is because cautionary tales about bigots and thus the antics of the rapper also known as Ye, who just happen to be black, don’t sit well with editorial attempts to normalise anti-Semitism, at the same time Anti-Semitism’s proponents, seek to excuse racism whenever it appears convenient to do so.

A similar incident involving bizarre Holocaust statements (subsequently retracted) made by actress and talk-show host Whoopie Goldberg earlier this year, was similarly given the silent treatment by the local press, who seem to believe anti-Semitism doesn’t exist.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) ‘non-binding working definition of anti-Semitism’ states: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

In South Africa, a working definition might include ‘open hostility towards Jewish secular identity’.

If the brouhaha around David Unterhalter and the Judicial Service Commission was to be considered, a working definition could incorporate perverse anti-Secular ‘inquiry into religion’ in other words, religious inquisition or investigation that tends to avoid or exclude members of other religions, thus unfairly discriminating against members of the Jewish faith or persons who define themselves as Jewish

SEE: Everything you know about the Palestinian Struggle is Wrong

SEE: New Johannesburg mayor is from openly queerphobic party

Lushaba 2: That record needle skipping faux pas remains

READING some of the latest ‘academic’ defenses of Lushaba in the ‘petit press’, one could be forgiven for thinking that he had delivered an important speech at UCT pronouncing on the supremacy of politics over law, utilising dialectical materialism to thoroughly debunk so-called legal institutional analysis, in the process setting the Holocaust in its rightful place, a mere peccadillo involving white people.

Both Chris Roper and Steven Robins are at pains to point out the context of a general critique of various approaches to the teaching of political science. While Roper’s is anything but a systematic contextualisation (in effect denying that the comments were even made), Robins errs on the side of rewriting the lecture altogether, as if the specific context of revolt against democratic and constitutional norms is all good and fine if one also raises substantive issues of colonial violence.

A case of competing frames of reference?

Robins erroneously writes: “As Roper indicates, the wider context of the lecture, and the logic of Dr Lushaba’s overall argument, do not in any way support Holocaust denial, and he certainly does not seek to argue that Hitler and the Nazis committed no crime in their acts of genocidal violence.”

“Instead, the lecture is a critical reflection of the racial blind spots of his discipline of political science, and why it was only after the Holocaust that genocide came to be recognised by scholars and human rights lawyers as a crime against humanity.”

If this were the case, then why did Lushaba not come right out with it, and say so, why beat around the bush? Why slip into an obnoxious, bigoted statement denying Hitler’s culpability for crimes against genocide, or should that be humanity? To use an ignoramus like Roper as an authority, would be to ignore his earlier statements made concerning Negritude and Césaire, a man whose work he rejected in a public address made in 1996, in the process claiming that the term itself was ‘racist’.

As I wrote previously, the result is not simply a moral vacuum in which the only historical crimes of any import are those against black persons, (and vice versa) but worse, a descent into reductionism, racial categorization and the logic of the late BJ Vorster, whose grey shirts were allied to the Nazi Party.

That Lushaba’s approach to political science provides short thrift to his subject matter, may be seen by the equally false claim that there are only three approaches worth considering. Check this page.

Equally problematic is his approach to proven facts like the 13th Amendment to the US constitution. Sorry Sir, while the amendment may have had the effect of extending the category of human being, it tragically did not state so in its wording. The same error appears in Roper’s fatuous piece devoid of truth yet upbraiding the media for breaking the story.

This shoddy approach to evidence-based research in favour of polemic and opinion-making easily embraces racist bile.

While I agree with Robins: “the lecture raises substantive issues about the relationship between the Holocaust and black histories of colonial violence that are certainly worthy of academic and public debate”, I categorically disagree with its intention and true purpose.

The trouble with his long-winded mitigation argument, sans facts, is the obvious attempt to drown out objections. Thus it is not what Lushaba actually says, and what is recorded, but rather an intellectual interpretation of events, one which seeks to spin an obvious faux pas, which passes for a response. In exhalting Hitler’s purported innocence, and ignoring that the intended audience are not pHd candidates per se, but rather first year students, both gaslight instead of enlightening the public. His students deserve a lot better than lies.

“One possible charitable interpretation of Dr Lushaba’s comment is that he understands the word “crime” quite literally to mean a legally proscribed, punishable offence and that he was claiming that under Nazi law it was not a crime to kill Jews” writes David Benatar.

To add fuel to fire, Lushaba proceeds to claim our objections are in the minority, blames the media, and stands by his words. One would at very least expect an apology, but that would mean climbing down from his seemingly ‘unassailable’ academic pedestal, a pedestal from which he has seen fit to launch racist invective.

There are undoubtedly many valid criticisms of racism and colonialism, however, a critique of racism which concludes that in order to combat racism, one has to suppress women, or homosexuals for instance, would not be a valid critique. 

Similarly, a criticism of traditional approaches to political science, a critique which starts by inferring all law is subordinate to politics, but then falsely concludes the findings of war crimes made under Nuremberg were wrong, is not an educated segue into modernist and post-modernist discourse, but rather, a moribund approach to dialectical materialism, one which invariably leads into antinomian and relativistic terrain.

It is the exact same terrain in which our own TRC findings have been subordinated and reduced to irrelevance by political cadres and apparatchiks of Lushaba’s ilk, emanating from our nation’s academic institutions.

Time to call a spade a spade.

SEE: Commandante Lushaba and the Führer

SEE: Remarks over Hitler by UCT lecturer Lwazi Lushaba are offensive

Dear Steven Friedman

Dear Steven Friedman,

I understand you have become somewhat of an expert on Jewish identity?

Since the decision by the SCA overturning a decision by the Equality Court, you are now able to tell a Theist from a Non-Theist, and a Zionist from a Non-Zionist, simply by looking at the other person?

The SCA decision requires some decoding, since an earlier decision by the Equality Court is replete with captions from Bongani Masuku of trade federation COSATU regarding a supposed “Jewish race” (nations are not races) and both findings carry his exortions to ‘target every Zionist’ including their families, “to subject them to perpetual suffering until they withdraw from the land of others and stop their savage attacks on human dignity.”

The statements made at a 2009 Pro-Palestine rally, were found to be hate speech by the Equality Court, in contravention of section 16(2) of the Constitution, and also section 10 of the Equality Act, and are consistent with equally incendiary statements, made in 2014 by one Tony Erenreich calling for ‘retribution against all Jews’ and for a policy of an “eye for an eye”, which were also found to amount to hate speech by the SAHRC.

If anything, the 2014 statements by Erenreich, build upon and far exceed the position articulated by Masuku in 2009 and need to be seen in the context of emerging policy development within the union movement in South Africa, and all feeding into the ruling party’s own position, as well as that of various opposition groupings. (See Vavi’s position here).

It should be stated that Masuku appears to have toned down his race rhetoric somewhat, at first pleading that he did not single out the Jewish race (sic), ethnic gender, or religious group,  and then by qualifying his statement further.

The SCA decision therefore records Masuku’s somewhat altered (and apparently acceptable) position, that “the only group that he made specific reference to is the Zionists and that Zionism is a political ideology which is inclusive of various religious groupings.”

As such, the SCA decision opines “his statements were directed at supporters of the State of Israel from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, rather than to Jewish students. He asserted that the religion and ethnicity of the supporters of the State of Israel were of no concern to him (and COSATU) and that his references to ‘Zionists’ connoted adherence to a political ideology rather than a religious or ethnic orientation.”

And therein lies the rub, since how does one aver a political ideology supposedly flowing from ones identification as a Jew (or love of Jews), but apparently devoid of religion, ethnic orientation, cultural predisposition or otherwise? As a cartoonist put it, ‘there may be something Jewish about the state of Israel’. And the result has been a veritable war of definitions — who gets to decide who is Jewish or not — and equally affecting those who are not Jewish per se but merely allies, friends, lovers, philosemites or what have you?

In Anti-Semite and Jew, the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre defined a Jew as ‘a person that others look at and say, “look, he/she is a Jew”. Just as a chair is a chair by virtue of our considering it a chair’.

Last year the SACP, a hot-bed of bureaucratic tinkering and economic flatulence, released an equally novel statement deploring, ‘crypto-Zionism’ and railing against undercover Zionists, or any people who may know other people who happen to be Zionists … and who may simply be Jews?

The Society for Secular Humanistic Judaism for instance, an organisation which eschews ‘supernatural authority’, defines a Jew as ‘anyone identifying with the past, present and future of the Jewish people’. A website by the SSHJ contains the following:

  • Judaism is the historic culture of the Jewish people.
  • Jewish history is a human saga, a testament to the significance of human power and responsibility.
  • Jewish identity is best preserved in a free, pluralistic environment.
  • Ethics and morality should serve human needs.
  • The freedom and dignity of the Jewish people must go hand in hand with the freedom and dignity of every human being.

So far as you, Friedman are concerned, there is a convenient border (and brick wall) between Zionism on the one hand, and Jewish identity on the other, and for my part, (and speaking as somebody who has signed many statements distancing myself from both the SAJBD and Israel), and who for years has found it possible to be both a Non-Zionist and Non-Theist, (at least until one Halton Cheadle attempted to define my Jewish identity), without being tackled by hate-mongers on all sides, the issue is rather moot.

The SCA decision for instance, carries a definition of Zionism as ‘a political movement that had as its original aim the creation of a country for Jewish people, and that now supports the state of Israel.’

By this erudite definition, (and Masongu’s defense) anyone supporting the borders of 1948 and/or the armistice of 1967, as Nelson Mandela did, is a Zionist or worse.

Which brings one to the core problem of defining hate speech and anti-Semitism within a South African milieu and developing local jurisprudence, which if the SCA decision is anything to go by, suggests that attacks against Jews for simply having Jewish family (or odd members who may also be Zionists), is all fair game, acceptable discourse within the bounds of protected speech and righteous political action?

So let’s be frank about the problem.

Anti-Semitism like racism, is a thang when it comes to South Africa, see here and here.

It certainly is a thang when it comes to Cheadle and Erenreich

Antisemitism in short, is hostility towards Jews as Jews.

Other definitions abound, such as one by the European Union, for example, “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour.” or “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.”

In September the UK Labour Party adopted in full an international definition of anti-Semitism, after months of similar controversy.

It incorporates all the 11 examples of anti-Semitism cited by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance into its code of conduct.

Time for South Africans to arrive at an acceptable and internationally binding definition, one that does not eviscerate legitimate criticism of the State of Israel.

SEE: Supreme Court of Appeal gets it spectacularly wrong in hate speech case

SEE: Ronnie’s Sermon from the Grand Masjid