Most of all I am offended as a Secularist

IN 2010 I led evidence in a South African court that ‘Judaism was not monolithic’, or to use the parlance of Amma Khalid (see below) ‘monothetic’, i.e based on a single basic idea or principle. There were many different expressions of Judaism I told the court, in particular there were those who disputed claims made by the Orthodoxy regarding the origin of the Torah, as too were there divergences on issues of Sabbath observance.

The Torah itself was unclear and contradicted itself. Since the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment) or Reform, progressives such as myself believed in a ‘separation between Synagogue and State’. Instead of upholding my right to privacy in the face of the obscene ecclesiastical charges and racist propositions put to me by Kahanovitz SC acting for apartheid media company Media24, the court decided to adopt a moral position consistent with ultra-Orthodox, Rabbinical Judaism.

AJ Cheadle found that since I was a ‘Jew in breach’ of my alleged religion, I could not claim discrimination i.e. Antisemitism on the basis of the offensive inquiries and objections made by the respondent in the matter, who not only disputed my Jewishness but had proceeded to impugn whether or not I was indeed a Jew and outrageously denied they knew I was Jewish even though they were now insisting on authoring and issuing such inquiries.

As Thomas Jefferson put it in an 1803 letter to an English politician, 26 years after establishing an Act enshrining religious freedom in 1777: “I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others”

Cheadle then claimed to reserve judgement in the doctrinal dispute, despite his open bias towards the respondent (who turned out to be his client) demonstrated by his adopting their position in the matter.

The company had initially objected to my attendance at a ‘mixed race’ music venue on the Sabbath, and appeared to also object to my use of a company vehicle on Shabbat, supposedly in contravention of Jewish law. My own pleadings in the matter were simply ignored and mocked, with the respondent’s version of the case along with false and misleading narrative, uplifted and handed down.

Thus Cheadle upheld a claim inter alia, reiterating apartheid-era justifications for separate development, whilst proceeding to trash the findings of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission, an inquiry into gross violations of human rights under apartheid in which the company had essentially been found guilty as one of the ‘handmaidens of the apartheid regime’.

The company also attacked my byline, infringed upon journalistic privilege, sought a gagging order, and made a number of frivolous and vexatious allegations regarding several interviews conducted with jazz musicians. In turn I accused the company of censorship, race profiling of readers, de facto newsroom segregation and denial of my rights as a journalist. Restrained from calling any witnesses in the matter, I was forced to lead my evidence from the witness box, sans an attorney.

I was not given leave to appeal nor even present when the decision was handed down and a petition to the Labour Appeal Court was turned down in my absence. You can access my case documents here. https://medialternatives.com/case/

Today I was thus surprised to find pretty much my own case regarding the racist Anti-Secular Inquisition by Media24, reiterated in support of an Art History Professor, cast out due to similar sensitivities to do with religion. It is a welcome respite from the machinations of the religious police and theocrats in my own country to read the argument in support of an Enlightenment in Islam.

Almost 17 years since the initial incident which led to my complaint being filed, I continue to condemn the anti-Secular, partisan,1994-denialist decision of the corrupt Labour Court of South Africa. I once again demand that my rights to an identity independent of the state’s religious authorities and especially religious policing, be restored alongside my rights as a journalist.

SEE: Did ‘ou krokodil’ Ton Vosloo just wake up to the fact that his company continues to mock the TRC report?

It’s 2023, enter the ‘woke’ anti-everything brigade

NEVER in my wildest dreams would I expect to be confronted by a ‘woke’ self-proclaimed Anti-Racist in my own home over the festive season. The young man from New York, is “studying colonialism and apartheid’, proceeds to challenge me with some academic BS, by throwing race labels around.

In particular he insists on calling me ‘white’ in front of my Rainbow household and busies himself with a George Floyd narrative about how his ‘unique black experience’ is particular to his ‘skin colour’ ‘ and how all the stats equal to non-racialism being dead, which to him is merely a ‘neo-liberal’ concept. You can read my experience of apartheid race labelling here

I explain that Steven Bantu Biko was correct in his analysis that blackness is not the result of skin pigmentation but rather a mental attitude. I don’t get very far in narrating the story of the Unity Movement as it relates to Black Consciousness and Non-racialism. Instead he takes umbrage and insists that he doesn’t know who Biko is, as if the name of a key figure in the anti-apartheid movement means absolutely nothing to him. It is clear he is being totally ignorant and throwing offensive race labels around.

The incident lead me to pen the following:

Note to self, when confronted by the next woke anti-racist nitwit issuing a confused assault against non-racialism as yes, ‘nothing more than racism’, remember to remind the aforementioned idiot that non-racialism is not ‘non-racism’ per se as in “I’m colour blind and don’t see racism” OR “I’m not a racist but”, OR ‘I’m not woke to racism, nor institutional racism, so please provide me with a woke lecture on why I should be”.

Rather non-racialism, as the late Neville Alexander would say, is ‘opposition to the racialisation policies of apartheid’, the pseudo-scientific categorisation according to now defunct categories of race, the entire racist endeavour and its opposition that the above dolt is now attempting to negate by pseudo-scientific, obsessive, wokeness. (see note below).

As I write, the death of Adriaan Vlok, apartheid-era Minister of Law and Order has been announced. Lest we forget.

When Anti-Racism manifests in true opposition to Racism, for example, Rwanda’s attempt to remove ethnic distinctions between Hutsis and Tutsis, it may be considered positive Anti-Racism.

Negative Anti-Racism of the woke variety, on the other hand, is essentially another form of Anti-Humanism. Yet another attempt to exclude persons, to otherise and ostracise individuals, on the basis of pseudo-scientific pet theories about race, this in an absurd and tragically flawed effort to forge some form of hip counter-Hegemonic Narrative, one based upon moral brinkmanship, cancel culture and ostracisation.

So let’s get this one sorted for the New Year — racism according to most contemporary definitions is ‘hostility, prejudice or discrimination towards another person on the basis of their membership or association with an ethnic or racial group’. It is also ‘the belief that different races possess distinct characteristics, abilities, or qualities, especially so as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another.’

Therein lies the rub.

Racism is certainly not challenging one’s strongly held opinions and beliefs about race, and it is by no means the act of refusing to be racialised or race labelled. I am pretty much done with ‘woke’ youngsters attempting to lecture a struggle veteran, on racism whilst upholding race categories that deprive persons such as myself of a defence against the problem, this at the same time my very real lived experience of apartheid and case against an apartheid media company (see here) is trivialised.

NOTE: Wokeism is a form of virtue-signalling but often going beyond what may be required. When one offensively treats everyone else as if they were asleep, insisting on lecturing from a primer on a subject to experts in the field. Thus amateurish over-compensation. Blind scholasticism without reference to actual evidence and research. Purposeful misreading of history to score short term popular goals. A ‘platformism’ strategy, where an individual hogs the mic or assumes the mantle of expert even in the face of real expertise. The person who claims to be awake, is more than likely, the one still asleep.

SEE: Masilo Lepuru: ‘Africa, for the Natives Only.’

EXPOSED: Did ‘ou krokodil’ Ton Vosloo just wake up to the fact that his company continues to mock the TRC report?

TON VOSLOO, the former Naspers chairman, appears to have suddenly realised that he is ‘living in a different country’. A piece published by Tammy Petersen of News24 carries details of his sudden change of heart, in which he selectively refers to events effecting the company’s standing in relation to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.

In 2010 the company mocked the TRC Report during a hearing before the Labour Court of South Africa and proceeded to oppose a 2015 application before the Equality Court, brought to review the company’s opposition to the TRC Report and its continued hostility.

Vosloo makes no apology for acting in this way but appears keen to put other matters to rest. His employees think nothing of assisting the ‘Old Crocodile’ in his latest spin on events, in the process we uncover yet another fraud, courtesy of the Internet Archive (see below)

Referring to a letter published on Netwerk24 and Die Burger, Petersen relates that after attending a graduation ceremony, Vosloo suddenly became ‘ashamed of his beliefs and actions’

Why did we act “so mockingly” against those who warned about the dangers of apartheid? Vosloo appears to ask.

“These musings of an elderly Afrikaans speaker are far too late. Why did we, in our fiery youth and with our prowess as seasoned journalists, act so mockingly against those who warned us about the perils of forced racial segregation?” he wrote.

“Why did we support the government of the time when it violated the Constitution by filling the Senate with staunch Nationalists to remove the so-called coloureds from the electoral roll?”

Past tense, not so fast

The piece is remarkable for in placing emphasis on the past tense, Naspers appears to narrate a new version of the historical record, one varying the company’s previous attempts at revisionism and spin-doctoring.

A previous 2015 mea culpa issued via the company, was essentially a case-limited half-apology by Media24’s Esmerie Weideman, issued two days after I filed a review application before the Equality Court citing the company’s opposition to the TRC. The apology referenced a sole individual, one Conrad Sidego, who had experienced difficulties with separate facilities at the company.

Peterson now seems to have discovered a news report purporting to be from that time claiming:

“When apartheid was abolished, the Afrikaans press declined to make a submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), News24 previously reported.

“However, more than 100 Afrikaans-speaking journalists later submitted affidavits to the TRC in their individual capacity, acknowledging the Afrikaans press had been integral in helping to keep apartheid in place and should have accepted moral responsibility for what happened.”

According to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, the report was published no earlier than the period surrounding 4 October 2022, when it was first recorded by the Archive’s webcrawler, and is thus fraudulently introduced as if it were published in 2015. The archive has three snapshots of the page stemming from this later date, when it was presumably published with the fraudulent dateline.

Lying once again

Media24 manager Ishmet Davidson at the time lied about the TRC episode on camera — the company essentially suppressed its own history and continues to censor any negative criticism of its operations. In 2006 the company sought a gagging order in its attempt to quash criticism.

Peterson now suddenly refers to hard facts first published on Medialternatives: “JBM (Barry) Hertzog formed the Nasionale Pers (National Press) in Stellenbosch in 1915, soon after founding the National Party. The party later governed the country and enforced a system of racial segregation.”

None of the statements released by the company at the time acknowledged the independent submissions made by journalists in their private capacity. Instead Ton Vosloo is recorded by his biographer as having taken a bleak view of what he perceived to be nothing less than ‘an act of betrayal’, a view-point which continued under Koos Bekker.

Vosloo’s page on Wikipedia is a self-authored hagiography (one treating its subject with undue reverence) in which the term ‘apartheid’ along with the Krokodil’s association with the regime, is simply airbrushed out of history, aided and abetted by corruption within our justice system.

Please note, the review application referred to above was abandoned due to lack of attorney representation following the absurd 1994-denialist outcome of Lewis vs Legal Aid SA (LASA). A scandalous decision in which AJ Bernard Martin of the High Court in 2019 proceeded to support the assertion by John van Onselen of LASA, to the effect that ‘the TRC Report would take a long time to read and may be ignored’.

For the record, the author condemns the crude High Court decision as ‘repugnant, vulgar, indefensible and contrary to our constitutional order’, one which includes a Preamble urging ‘recognition of the injustices of the past’.

Useful idiots, that Fish Hoek ‘Anti-Racist’ saga

IN A VOICE recording taken by a pupil, Asanda Ngoasheng, the principal facilitator of a controversial diversity course held at Fish Hoek High School can be heard saying ‘Black people can be mean, they can be cruel, they can be prejudiced, they can be nasty, but they can never be racist against white people … because racism requires power.’

The contentious idea is apparently part and parcel of a political re-education programme being punted by the Department of Education. All part of a so-called diversity training course, one which facilitator Caiden Lang claims, is predicated on Critical Race Theory (CRT).

Lang writes in The Daily Friend: “To imagine that what happened on Monday at Fish Hoek High was a diversity training session gone wrong is to fundamentally misunderstand what anti-racist education informed by critical race theory is all about. It is to assume that anti-racist education is geared towards social cohesion by teaching people to be less racist, sexist and so on and to help them to coexist.

“This is a mistake.

“Anti-racist education is about being on the right side of history. The discomfort and anger experienced by those kids is an intended first step to becoming ‘anti-racist’. It is a feature, not a bug.”

Unfortunately race typology, the division of society into black and white, and blind obedience to authority, is not what CRT teaches: “CRT is an academic concept that is more than 40 years old,” writes  Stephen Sawchuk in Education Week. “The core idea is that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies.”

Civil Rights history

As Professor Kimberlé  Crenshaw, the civil rights activist who coined the term put it: “It is a way of seeing, attending to, accounting for, tracing and analyzing the ways that race is produced, the ways that racial inequality is facilitated, and the ways that our history has created these inequalities that now can be almost effortlessly reproduced unless we attend to the existence of these inequalities.”

Though there appears to be some disagreement on the finer points, where CRT was once a theory firmly situated within the discourse of civil rights and thus secular humanism, as a cross-disciplinary subject it has increasingly turned into nothing more than a radical political platform, a campaign gateway by politicos introducing unverifiable concepts such as dialectical materialism (all history is about power) and political notions such as ‘oppressor and oppressed’.

The result is invariably traumatising for young learners, bringing to mind Soviet-era political re-education camps. An affront on ones psychology, and most certainly a violation of a number of clauses in our constitution, including freedom of thought, belief and opinion, academic freedom, right to receive and impart information (in this case, you may receive the Department’s dogma, but don’t talk back or impart), the right to psychological integrity (the Dept seeks to impose discursive sanctions whilst assaulting learner’s mental functioning).

Criticism

Critics of CRT state that the theory leads to ‘negative dynamics such as a focus on group identity over universal, shared traits; divides people into “oppressed” and “oppressor” groups; and urges intolerance’.

CRT in its current form, as rolled out by the Dept commissars, presents caricature and stereotype instead of facts and information, and appears more applicable to the context of black persons living as an oppressed minority in the USA where “white Americans are the racial and ethnic majority, with non-Hispanic whites representing 57.8% of the population”.

Peter Wood in Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist? published by the National Association of Scholars writes “The idea that “black people can’t be racist” is just a meme, not a coherent argument.”

Michelle I. Gao in “Who Can’t be Racist” responds: “This argument’s main point — that minorities can’t be racist because they have no power to act on such antagonism — is also reductive. We shouldn’t have to take stock of each other’s race and relative power in society before making a judgment on an act itself. We shouldn’t have to condone prejudice or discrimination against anyone, for any reason.”

In South Africa where persons who define as black are in the majority and have been part of a black majority government for nearly 30 years, there is an immediate rebuttal. The assertion that ‘black people can’t be racist, ‘because racism requires power’ and ‘blacks have no power’ is only even vaguely reasonable if one believes personal power to always be bound up with economic power, instead of the vote.

It is a tired narrative that our country has one of the highest Gini coefficients in the world, the measure of the gap between rich and poor, and that wealth often correlates with our demographics, which says nothing about the Human Development Index (HDI) where SA ranks relatively well.

Here the debate is rather between the haves and have-nots. Providing learners with intellectual tools, rather than prescriptions and injunctions and avoiding a party-line if you will.

Racialising the issue and dispensing with ‘non-racialism’, presents a unique set of problems since not every person informally categorised as black is ‘poor and underprivileged’. There is no universal truth in stating ‘black persons are always poor, have no economic power and therefore they can never be racists’. Saying this, merely gives credence to another ridiculous proposition, ‘black people can’t be litterbugs’.

In the same way as maintaining apartheid’s many Askaris and turncoats, were not traitors so much as heroes, even though they murdered on behalf of the regime?

Philosophical Considerations

Consider the first statement’s corollary, ‘if black people can’t be racists, then whites can never experience racism’.

And Afrikaners can’t be oppressed by the British.

And Jews can never experience Anti-Semitism.

Or ‘white folk’ can never be poor, because, well being poor depends upon … power?

In this jaundiced, reductionist view, those white activists detained, tortured and even murdered by the apartheid regime, were not experiencing racism per se, but merely the brutal instrumentality of the regime. As an activist classified by the apartheid regime as ‘blanke‘, I cannot be spat at, slapped and smeared by right-wing extremists.

The descent from humanism along with its universal truths, the Freedom Charter and its exemplar, our non-racialist Constitution, towards the narrow political objectives and moral absolutism of anti-racism’s pundits, articulated by a radicalised Education platform, is a slippery slope one which invariably ends with denial of the self-same history its zealous advocates profess to teach.

In this jaded current state-of-mind, there were no white people in the civil rights movement as such, nor even the anti-apartheid movement for that matter.

And if there were, such persons like myself, were merely allies at best, or worse, useful idiots.

SEE: Palesa Morudu dismisses ‘diversity grifters’ at the same time she downplays the incident as a mere ‘reading of a poem to a captive audience of 800 pupils

SEE: FF Plus lays complaint with SAHRC about Fish Hoek ‘diversity’ session

Misguided academic rails against Die Antwoord’s postmodernism

Adam Haupt’s stock ideas are derivative and contrived. Deserve to be rejected by anyone supporting freedom of expression. There is no rock without drums. Without the cross-pollination of African rhythms, there would be no jazz music, and likewise hip hop. Ditto, Die Antwoord.

In a piece published on The Conversation, the UCT academic launches into support rather than an appraisal of several allegations of ‘cultural appropriation’ leveled at South African alternative hip hop group Die Antwoord. Immediately reaching towards conclusions and an opinion-based misapplication of what he terms ‘dominant and marginalised subjects’, which borrows heavily from the work of a solitary UK academic Rina Arya, in the process, dishing out the Encyclopedia Britannica whilst ignoring the work of continental theorists.

Haupt thus appears oblivious to the earlier writings of literary theorists such as Julia Kristeva and Roland Barthes, who once championed the idea of inter-textuality. For Kristeva intertextuality was a “mosaic of quotations” where “any text is the absorption and transformation of another”. Roland Barthes argued “a text is made of multiple writings” because writers “blend and clash” existing meanings.

Books are not written in a vacuum. According to Michel Foucault, they are “caught up in a system of references to other books”. Each of these theorists made the same point: “the meaning of a text owes more to other texts than the writer who puts their name to the work.”

The concept may be applied here to music culture, language and even fashion. In fact, Haupt’s criticism was once leveled at Eminem.

Rapper Marshall Bruce Mathers III, was slammed for ‘appropriating’ rap music, a genre which ‘began at block parties in New York City in the early 1970s, when DJs began isolating the percussion breaks of funk, soul, and disco songs and extending them’. That’s right, black rappers, appropriated Disco, the Bee Gees, ‘white boy music’.

Take the context of Apartheid which was all about preventing cross-pollination and hybridity to the point where ethnic identity was preserved on bantu reservations by the selfsame logic used by Haupt – ‘for your own good’ and to ‘stop whites going native’.

It may feel good to object to the postmodern intertextuality and cultural hybridity of Die Antwoord, whose work he criticises for being associated with Afrikaans, but doing so places the writer alongside other puritans, Strydom, Verwoerd, Vorster and Malan. The academic merely demonstrates how fatuous, pompous and censorious he has become in a mode of writing that eschews the requirements of rationality and evidence-based research, to posit that the mere position of the subject within, generalised and unequal power relations, is enough to aver, racism?

In Haupt’s weird weltanschauung the reception of words such as biltong, blatjang, dagga and kwagga into Afrikaans are the result of a plot to eradicate a language he calls Kaaps, forgetting that the Dutch Creole emerged as a Gamtaal, an attempt, often by sailors, to communicate, so elegantly described by Daniel Defoe in his novel Moby Dick.

Haupt goes so far as attacking Yolandi Visser for painting her face with makeup, and the result is somehow redolent of ‘Swarte Piet‘, a Dutch character associated with the ‘colonial gaze’.

Women have been deploying makeup for centuries. It is a false equivalence to raise the spectre of Hollywood ‘blackface’, in other words, a ‘white actor playing the role of a black person’, since Yolandi is clearly just being Yolandi. There is no harm caused by her self-expression. Nobody is out of a job. So far as the misguided academic is concerned, artists and musicians labelled white should be placed on mute, and should not express themselves, because, well, they are white and he is not?

Haupt’s assertion of linguistic imperialism is tenuous at best, appearing to rely on the fact that similar accusations may have been written up, by other academics, and thus he engages with another logical fallacy, that of circular logic (circulus in probando), a problem inherent to deferred investigation and meaning, in an obvious scholastic bias — inauthentic criticism which at the end of day, rings hollow, since Zef is a style which emerged from the polyglot and patois argot of Parow, not the armchairs of moral policemen like Haupt.

Zef may have a passing association with so-called Afrikaaps, but saying this language or mode of expression should be reserved for certain people, is like saying all language is copyrightable, which is clearly not the case. Nobody is going to fine you for speaking German without a license. Doing so would place one alongside those who seek to suppress language. In fact such activity would resemble the self-same stratagems of those dastardly colonialists.

Culture is always fluid, it does not live in a museum and deserves to be seen within an intertextual continuum. Die Antwoord are a living cross-referential subject-object, not a mere expression or mode of power-relations. Speaking and singing are not always an expression of two basic stereotypes — the oppressor or the oppressed, — as if we are all mere government bureaucrats rather than artists creating living works of art, books, music videos? Haupt’s position is essentially anti-humanist for it seeks to subjugate his subject, fixing and doctoring the other’s creativity to his own fanciful interpretations.

We are anything but stereotypes.

The cheap parlor game played by Haupt invariably involves throwing around stock objections, bald assertions which may be based upon Marxist class analysis, and thus contrived academic notions of power and power relations — ideas obviously gleaned from narrow contemporary proponents of historical materialism (where all history should be strictly-speaking the history of classes). The result is a major contradiction — an historical dislocation and distortion leading to internal inconsistency.

Inconsistency which, at the face of it, tends to break-down the minute one bothers to actually read history — engaging with facts instead of mere, discourse. He could do better by getting to grips with Post-Marxism, which provides an anti-essentialist approach in which class, society, and history are no longer treated as unitary, universal, pre-discursive categories?

If apartheid wasn’t about cultural purity, what was it, mere materialism?

By the same token do we avoid food which isn’t cooked by Gogo?

Is there really an ever-present ‘grand narrative’ always reducible to geopolitical categories such as colonialism and empire?

Whither ones own private meaning, existence and right to language?

Do we have to remind Haupt to object whenever he encounters a black man in a French suit wearing an English collar and tie? Ditto those Celtic tattoos you just acquired at the local tat-shop. Why would anyone want to deny Die Antwoord‘s right to freedom of expression, if not to pursue a personal vendetta, or simply to get ahead in academia? Power-relations are not corrected by an inversion of power. We can turn the map of the Earth around, but we cannot change the fundamental fact of our common humanity.

So herewith my attempt at another definition. If the shoe fits wear it:

Wokeism is the purposeful misreading of history to score short term popular goals. Blind scholasticism without reference to actual evidence and research. The person who claims to be awake, is more than likely, still asleep.

We all one species folks

Dear Ms Naledi Pandor

Dear Ms Naledi Pandor,

Your campaign to exclude the Jewish African Diaspora from the African Union refers.

That I live in a country with an egregious history of involvement and support for Hitler’s policies of mass extermination of Jews, should not have to be the starting point for a debate in South Africa. Yet, I am forced to remind you that it was then Minister of Interior, DF Malan who introduced both the Quota Act (1930) and Aliens Act (1937), restricting Jewish employment and also Jewish immigration to South Africa.

A National Party membership card of the time carries both the Swastika and the words: “The South African National Party emanates from the S.A. gentile National-Socialist movement and incorporates the said movement as also the SA Grey Shirts”.

The resulting political formation was the selfsame movement which introduced apartheid race laws defining our country’s citizens in terms of race criteria — criteria modelled upon Hitler’s own Nuremberg Laws.

Between 1933 and 1941, the Nazi policy of judenrein (cleansing of Jews) aimed to remove the German Jewish population “by making life so difficult for them that they would be forced to leave the country”. By 1938, about 150,000 German Jews, ‘had already fled the country with many Jews unable to find countries willing to take them in’.

The plight of the SS Stuttgart, a ship carrying 537 Jewish refugees is illustrative of the problem. Chartered to beat the ban imposed by the Aliens Act, it was opposed in Cape Town harbour by DF Malan’s Grey Shirts, who subsequently held several meetings on the “Jewish Problem”, addressed by HF Verwoerd and TE Donges, who exclaimed: ‘The Jew is an insoluble element in every national life.’ [1]

The Évian Conference was convened 6–15 July 1938 at Évian-les-Bains, France, to address the problem of German and Austrian Jewish refugees wishing to flee persecution by Nazi Germany. Attended by 32 countries, with South Africa apparently in observer status, our country agreed to “taking only those with close relatives already resident”, in the process condemning many of the Holocaust’s victims.

Last year Israel was granted observer status by the African Union — 46 AU Member States already have relations with Israel including our own, and the resolution has the support of a majority of its members. In so doing, the Chairperson of the AU affirmed the union’s “positive role of mediator to the conflict.”

Nevertheless South Africa’s policy towards Israel, consistent with Mandela’s bipartisan support for a two-state solution, was taken to task by the vocal Palestinian Lobby within the country. The result is that your government currently opposes the presence of Israel within the AU and now comprises a minority group of 21 nations so opposed.

A recent Constitutional Court decision (SAHRC on behalf of SAJBD v Masuku and Another) affirmed the right of Jewish South Africans to an identity which includes affinity with the State of Israel. Counsel for the SAHRC stated that the word Zionist “in the South African context means Jew because the vast majority of South African Jews are Zionist”.

Whether or not you take issue as I do with current definitions of Zionism — whether as a religious, political or secular philosophy, is beside the point.

The fact remains that Israel itself possesses a considerable African population, comprising Ethiopian and Maghrebi Jews i.e. North African Jews who are “native Jews who had traditionally lived in the Maghreb region of North Africa”, and others, comprising some 3.3% of the total population.

There also exists a sizeable population of Jews in Africa, such as the Ogoni from Ogoniland in Nigeria,​ ​Abayudaya in​ ​Uganda and Zimbabweans, who to some extent are recognised by the Orthodox Rabbinate, following completion of religious victuals, but who are otherwise discriminated against by the Israeli Beth Din.

Our own country has a relatively small Jewish diaspora, with Non-Theist Jews such as myself, a minority within a minority.

To those who persist in pursuing an abhorrent apartheid doctrine, within South Africa, for instance, by claiming all Jews should be classified as white for the purposes of population registration, but be nevertheless discriminated against when it comes to our secular rights and freedoms, I can only state, that my own children are very much Rainbows and people of color.

Instead of campaigning to remove Israel from the AU, supposedly to pressure the Israeli government when it comes to the dispute over the Final Status of Jerusalem, I suggest that your time could be better spent tackling the lack of rights and representation of black Jews within the African Union.

Instead of embarking upon a path which leads directly into a confrontation with the majority of AU members, in order to pursue a territorial conflict in which Arab states were awarded some 65% of the territory of Ottoman Palestine, only to dispute the remaining 35% awarded under the British Mandate and UN partition plan, may I suggest that you could a lot better by removing sanctions against your own citizens — unlawful sanctions against persons such as myself who do not currently possess a right to a secular identity due to the prognostications of your own political, religious and legal emirs.

Take a look at a map of Palestine supplied by the Ottoman Railway Company showing that Palestine once included what is today Southern Lebanon, parts of Syria and the East Bank of the Jordan, before you rush to defend the Anti-Semitic supercessionist movement called Hamas.

Instead of cynically expressing solidarity with a Palestinian sectarian organisation which seeks to create a ‘Palestine within Palestine’, currently lacks a Freedom Charter and which is fundamentally opposed to LGBTIQ rights, you could do far better by creating a safe and open space for both parties to the conflict to witness African Ubuntu and the democratic processes within the AU.

If you wish to raise any issues with regard to the above, please do not hesitate.

Sincerely yours,

David Robert Lewis

Notes

  1. incapable of being dissolved into a solution.

SEE: Remarks of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on the granting of observer state to the State of Israel

Israel Amnesty Report, an exercise in ellipsis and paradox

THERE is an astonishing contradiction at the heart of the latest Amnesty International Report on Israel, one deserving further analysis. Resolving it, could be the key to unlocking a potential solution. Ignoring it, could mean, business as usual, since the document’s omission of history and demographic context, makes the report in all likelihood, an exercise in futility.

Prior to 2018 and the passing of ‘Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People“, by the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s raison d’être was exactly, as the didactic law maintains, to provide a nation-state for the Jewish people. Yet there was always hope that the country could achieve a lot more for all its citizens. As a cosmopolitan and democratic hub in the Middle East, it had pretensions at being just like any Secular Western country, a melting pot of divergent interests.

It was successive Intifadas beginning in 1987, which put paid to this notion. The reason can be seen by the manner in which Amnesty International treats the issue of nationality, preferring to tackle the problem from the perspective of a proposed, single unitary state, one which ignores the logic of Islamic Jihad, and Palestinian separatism, all while holding to a UN-sponsored fiction that Israel occupies Gaza, for the purpose of analysis.

Thus Palestinians in Gaza, according to Amnesty are being denied their rights to become Israeli citizens, at the same time they are being denied their rights to become Palestinians in a country that includes all of the territory under the former British Mandate.

The same is true in the West Bank, where the issue of nationality, passports and permanent resident status are compounded by an ongoing dispute involving land and borders, one that revolves around a centuries old teleological crisis involving the City of Jerusalem. To put this another way, it is a crisis within monotheism, as to which monotheistic religion prevails at the end of the day.

In recent years there have been a number of attempts to apply UN definitions of the ‘crime of apartheid’ under international law to the conflict. I have written about some of these earlier, mostly misguided endeavours to impose pseudo-scientific race definitions onto the situation [1], and have routinely objected to the resulting category error, since clearly nations are not races. There is no distinct Palestinian ‘race’.

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[Amnesty International] does not seek to argue that…any system of oppression and domination as perpetrated in Israel…is…the same or analogous to the system of segregation, oppression and domination as perpetrated in South Africa between 1948 and 1994.

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Amnesty International has analyzed Israel’s intent to create and maintain a system of oppression and domination over Palestinians and examined its key components: territorial fragmentation; segregation and control…It has concluded that this system amounts to apartheid.

Thank you Whoopi, your statement demonstrates an important point of departure in our common struggle

SOME get what Whoopi was trying to say: ‘Slavery wasn’t about race, Apartheid wasn’t about race, the Holocaust wasn’t about race. It was about man’s inhumanity to man.’ (Or in the case of Leni Riefenstahl, woman’s inhumanity to woman). Except, that wasn’t exactly what she was saying. The wording is mine. The actor and talk-show host, wasn’t drawing a humanistic lesson from Hitler’s Final Solution, a universal truth that could apply equally to slavery, apartheid, the Rwandan Genocide.

Instead she was responding to the school-banning of Art Spiegelman’s Maus by a Tennessee School Board. And engaging in a trite intellectual exercise that often begins by downplaying the profound impact of Auschwitz, (why get hot and bothered by the banning of a comic book?), a dramatic intervention which then proceeds to ignore the role of the perpetrators, in order to raise an anti-racist point or two about Israel.

Absent the Holocaust, and the Nakba seems to be a terrible, singular tragedy unleashed upon innocent civilians by Jews on holiday from Eastern Europe. Absent the 1929 Hebron Massacre, subsequent 1941 Farhud Massacre, and especially the complicity of Palestinian leadership during the 1940s and 50s in pursing a ‘definitive solution to the Jewish problem’ — a broad campaign to remove Jews from Arabia articulated by Amin al-Husseini, and the result looks a lot like apartheid South Africa.

Whoopi’s ‘inhumanity to mankind’ spiel, is often trotted out whenever the privileged ‘woke’ few, wish to castigate the Zionists for defending their attempts to create, what they claim, is a secular safe haven for Jews. Since I am a non-theist and non-Zionist, I often used to engage in exactly the same type of banter. Whoopi was being rhetorical, she was not adding, so much as subtracting from an important conversation, one which needs to begin by drawing humanistic and universal lessons from history.

Unfortunately the conversation around Maus, was not the correct moment to be doing this. It was downright offensive and insensitive. Amidst the resulting twitter backlash, Whoopi was forced to apologise and has been suspended from her show The View, for two weeks.

If there is a universal truth to be drawn from Belsen and Treblinka, it is not by denial of Hitler’s attempts to create an Aryan master-race. It is not by denial of the Nuremberg race classification laws, nor denial of the Nazi’s attempts to cast persons as superior and inferior.

It is by examining the manner in which pseudo-science and cherry-picking of facts are abused by crackpots on the far right, and also by misguided individuals on the left, and realising that Hitler’s propaganda machine had a massive role to play in creating the necessary conditions for the genocide, not simply one or two bloody massacres listed in the hundreds, but rather an industrial-scale effort to affect the euthanasia of an entire population in the millions* — the sheer magnitude of which is mind-boggling.

It is often said of the Rwandan Genocide that radio played an important part in the deaths of Tutsis at the hands of the Hutus. Television and social media have become integral players in formulating public opinion. In my own country I have witnessed the emergence of anti-immigrant pogroms and the failure of newshounds and journalists to do anything about prejudice and bias when it comes to debating issues. Need one refer to censorship?

Last year, South Africa was entertained by a controversy surrounding Miss Universe, at the same time our then chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was taken to task for expressing his opinions on a political controversy. This year, we have seen an Emma Watson ‘solidarity’ fiasco (solidarity is ordinarily expressed with persons sharing common values and interests, not those like Hamas, opposed to our constitutional dispensation) and readers will no doubt find much of interest in the latest Amnesty Report on “Apartheid Israel’ (more analysis on this I promise).

When we find ourselves thus regaled by our media, remember there are always two sides to every story, and then there is the truth. Not even during apartheid did we attempt to negate our opponent’s very existence, nor did we advocate the removal of the Boers from an existential perspective. Rather, we arrived at our common peace settlement because we debated and hosted talks, talks which included all parties and all factions, listening and listening again to each other’s different perspectives, in arriving at our democratic solution.

*Note there was a population at the time of some 11 million Jews living under the Nazis

LETTER: The DA is becoming the poster child of the Right, refers

Dear Ed


The DA is becoming the poster child of the Right, (Mail & Guardian 18 October 2021) refers


Steven Friedman claims to be a ‘political scientist’. Though his career and professorship may appear to chart a course within South Africa’s academic establishment, he merely demonstrates the parochialism which reigns at these institutions.

A case in point is the manner in which Friedman has taken it upon himself to be the ‘pre-eminent analyst within the country of the British Labour Party (BLP)’

I write this letter, not to take issue with the professor’s opinions on the Democratic Alliance, but rather to point out the manner in which the man’s criticism of local politics has descended into a false and misleading indictment of the BLP. 

That Friedman cannot distinguish between the polices of either the Tories nor Labour for that matter, and thus conflate both parties with the Democratic Alliance (DA), is par for the course. More alarming, is his general thesis on ​”current campaigns against ‘antisemitism’ in Western Europe and the United States​” —  campaigns which he alleges are not aimed at racial and religious bigotry, but are rather ‘quite the opposite of their stated intentions’.

​In his latest piece he states​: ​“Power holders who not so long ago were keeping Jews out of clubs and limiting their number at universities claim to be so angered at anti-Jewish prejudice that they have passed laws to prevent it. But this is not a newfound non-racialism. The campaign is really about protecting the Israeli state, which has become a favourite among the bigoted – including some who really are antisemites – because it discriminates against Palestinians. Conveniently, branding supporters of Palestinian rights as racists can also be used to hound left-wingers out of the British Labour Party. To oppose racist treatment of Palestinians is to be branded a racist.​”​

The ‘left-wingers’ he refers to are none other than past BLP leader Jeremy Corbyn and his allied supporters. Friedman’s blatantly dishonest account of the matter has been previously published in New Frame.
Lies about Corbyn surely deserve a careful examination of the truth?

When the Equality and Human Rights Commission report into anti-Semitism in Corbyn’s Labour party was released, it was damning, writes Jay Elwes in The Article. “Facing allegations of anti-Jewish racism, the report said Corbyn’s Labour was “responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination” in an attempt to counter and dismiss those claims.”

The report found there were ‘three especially egregious breaches of the Equalities Act’, including: Political interference in anti-Semitism complaints; a failure to provide adequate training to those handling anti-Semitism complaints; and harassment.

This is a far cry from Friedman’s ​fanciful version of events.​

According the Friedman, not only was there no evidence of anti-Semitism inside the British Labour Party, but ‘the closest (the report) comes to finding that anti-Jewish racism is a problem in Labour is the claim that some in the party use “antisemitic tropes” and say that “complaints of antisemitism [are] fake or smears”.

Corbyn was thus an innocent ‘victim of a trick’, he claims, one which ‘has been used for years in the United States and here to portray racial redress as racist. Less well known is that it is now used to paint opponents of racism as antisemites, people who despise Jews.

That Friedman was ignoring serious complaints made on the left regarding harassment of members of the Jewish Labour Movement (an anti-racist group) which had resulted in 7 MPs including Chuka Umunna, a black MP leaving the party last year is clear.

He thus continues to trot out a well-known criticism of the right, (‘mere tropes’) in an attempt to smear ‘black Labour’, as hopelessly tied to Israel, while promoting Corbyn’s reinstatement as leader of the party.

The only trick here is Friedman’s own chicanery and mendacity in attributing race to Jews and thus reducing all adherents to Judaism, to the status of simulacra. People who ‘look like they could be Jews’.

It is a common tactic of race-obsessed critics to focus attention on ‘Jews of European origin’, whilst forgetting there is a mosaic of difference within the Jewish diaspora, which includes inter alia Jews of Ethiopian, Nigerian and South African origin. Nations are not races, and rather the issue here is one of ethnicity.

In 2018 I wrote an open letter to Friedman questioning his apparent expertise on the subject of Jewish identity, his neglect of issues relating to secularism, and the problem of ‘who gets to decide who is Jewish or not?’ He failed to respond and continues to issue forth with blatantly false allegations, allegations which have not been tested in any court.

I have only to reiterate my own experience with racism and Anti-Semitism at Media24, to demonstrate, the lay issues at stake, have absolutely nothing to do with Zionism per se, nor the tedious opinions formulated by shoddy academics, over whether or not a Palestinian or Jewish State has a right to exist (why not?). But rather the manner in which open debate on the subject of Jewish secular identity in general and Anti-Semitism in particular, is circumscribed and defined by self-appointed political apparatchiks such as Friedman.

As Thomas Jefferson once stated: ‘I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others.’

South Africa is a secular state with a “We, the People’ constitution. The phrase “In humble submission to almighty, God” was removed from earlier drafts of the constitution, and is a well-established narrative recorded by Judge Albie Sachs.


Kind regards


David Robert Lewis

[Letter unpublished]

You’re living in the wrong country Mr Cheadle

SOUTH AFRICA’S corrupt legal authority Halton Cheadle is at it again. Readers may remember the erstwhile ‘labour czar’, a man who in 2010 sought to determine a labour court decision in favour of his own client and business associates, in the process shooting down the TRC Report and inter alia altering this writer’s religious affiliation to conform to an absurd decision, one inverting the very facts of apartheid.

Cheadle, who is no longer a director at the law firm bearing his own name, appears to believe article 12 of our constitution is no major impediment to vaccine mandates. Article 12 guarantees the ‘right to bodily and psychological integrity’, which includes the ‘right to security in and control over the body’; and the right ‘not to be subjected to medical or scientific experiments without informed consent’.

In an interview broadcast on eTV last night, Cheadle made out a case for vaccine mandates which boil down to a resort to his own authority, or what is commonly referred to by scholars as an ‘argumentum ad verecundiam,‘ i.e. a form of fallacy in which the opinion of an authority on a topic is used as evidence to support an argument.

In support of his assertions which boil down to changing the democratic character of our democracy in favour of a totalitarian state, Cheadle then trots out the well-worn argument that vaccines have been ‘effective in countering smallpox, polio and diphtheria’. All good and well, until one arrives at involuntary vaccination.

In the interview, he appeared anxious to meet any religious objections.

Cheadle should know that the only case precedent in favour of mandatory health interventions apply to prisoners and state patients, and Medialternatives has covered similar ‘rubbish posing as legal opinion’ in the public domain and put forward by one Pierre de Vos ( please read my response).

De Vos is known to often resort to a common fallacy namely obscurum per obscurius or ‘rendering the obscure more obscure by reference to obscurity’.

While de Vos avoids examining the evidence for universal vaccination and Cheadle appears to be reading CDC newsbriefs alongside Glenda Grey (see my follow up post), both scholars have not bothered to record, nor deem it fit to tackle legitimate public and human rights concerns.

For instance concerns articulated by demonstrators over the weekend regarding both the efficacy of current vaccines and the long term effects and safety of mRNA dosing.

For the record, I have vaccinated with the Pfizer jab, am in favour of vaccination and immunisation as a form of positive discrimination in labour law but draw the line when it comes to removing patient consent.

South Africa has an egregious and tragic history of involuntary psychiatric treatment of political dissidents, torture as treatment, forced gender re-assignment, and medical experimentation and sterilisation programmes aimed at reducing the black population.

Cheadle is an embarrassment to both UCT and all the victims and survivors of apartheid.

He certainly should not be practising law, let alone making pronouncements on eTV that seek to strip citizens of individual and personal autonomy, not to mention human agency.