Anti-Semitism & its political adherents in Parliament

​THERE is officially ‘no antisemitism’ in South Africa. No sooner had Justice Minister Ronald Lamola kicked up a storm after making bizarre statements on a BBC hardtalk interview, the country was being entertained by two incidents from inside the country’s various legislatures.

A tie-episode involving the wearing of a ‘Star of David’ by a member of the Johannesburg City Council was soon followed by threats inside the National House of Assembly: “We won’t allow you make this a Jewish state. The City of Cape Town would be a bloodbath,” ranted Member of Parliament Munzoor Shaik Emam, who proceeded to threaten Jews living in South Africa.

It was Sartre who once remarked: “If the Jew did not exist, the Anti-Semite would invent him”. ” In his seminal Anti-Semite & Jew, written after the author had noticed the absence of the Jews living in Paris before the war, deported to the Nazi death camps, he wrote: “The anti-Semite convinces himself of beliefs that he knows to be spurious at best.”

The latest debacle is redolent of ANC MP Marius Fransman’s invention of ‘Jewish property tycoons in Woodstock”, and other statements for which he was ordered to apologise. A suburb that had once seen an influx of Jews from the Shtetls of Czarist Russia, but which like District Six has lost its Jewish population, a factor of immigration and structural discrimination.

Lamola’s claim: “There is no antisemitism in South Africa against the Jewish People“ is not only a blatant lie, similarly debunked, with a demonstrable increase of 631% over the past three months, but it reminds one of equally perverse statements made by the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who once proclaimed: “In Iran, we do not have homosexuals. Or apartheid’s own PW Botha who explained to the world’s press:”Most Blacks are happy” and “we treat our Blacks well.”

Sartre explained the tendency towards the objectification of Jews, who before the creation of the state of Israel, had become the ‘objects of history’ instead of the ‘subjects of humans rights’.

“A Jew is 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, so is a Jew a person whom others consider to be a Jew. Therefore, a Jew’s Jewishness exists only to the extent they are considered Jewish by those around them.

A 2010 hearing presided over by ANC apparatchik Halton Cheadle involving his own client, found inter alia, I was not Jewish enough to possess rights commonly afforded other Jews, and therefore could not claim anti-Semitism on the basis of an outrageous inquiry into my identity by an apartheid media firm — an entity that pathetically denied their role in the regime, and proceeded to pillory the findings of the TRC during the kangaroo ‘trial’.

So yes Minister Lamola, there is ‘Anti-Semitism’ or Jew-hatred in my country — a disgraceful, ugly history harking all the way back to the dark days of the National Party, whose swastikas adorned membership cards, whose laws actively discriminated on the basis of religion and cultural identity.

Minister Pandora: South Africa is sleepwalking into a catastrophe

NOT content with promoting human rights (an objective which seems to change from country to country), South Africa has taken it upon itself to interdict a single party to a conflict whose seeming binary nature is the source of major global tensions. On the one side, a group of Jihadists whose charter outlines a ‘battle against the Jews’ over the final status of Jerusalem. On the other side, an embattled ‘democratic state’ whose claims of Jewishness and democracy is subject to dispute even amongst Jews.

It should not matter on which side one is here if the end goal is secularism, universal suffrage and human rights for all, but in this conflict nothing is as it appears. Take Gaza’s Anti-Secular allies — Iran is an Islamic Republic which prohibits trade unions (not to mention women’s rights and the death penalty for LGBT):

“Trade unions are not recognized in Iran.” says Kemal Özkan of IndustriALL Global Union

“The Iranian labour law currently forbids and prevents the formation of trade unions. In Iran only Islamic labour councils are accepted but they are not trade unions – they are tripartite organizations bringing together the Ministry of Labour, the employers and some selected workers based on their loyalties and religious affiliations to the government. As a result they are inappropriate and ill-equipped to deal with the demands and needs of Iranian workers.”

Or how about the real elephant in the room? Houthi Yemen, armed to the teeth, already participating in a regional conflict via its ongoing attacks against shipping in the Red Sea, ostensibly to effect a blockade of Israel. If the ongoing firing of rockets by either Houthis or the Gazans themselves isn’t something that gets newspaper headlines these days, then you will probably wonder why you missed this news item, the 2019 re-establishment of Slavery by the Houthis?

“Since their coup, the Houthis have sought to turn back the hands of time and take back Yemen to the era of the oppressive Imamate and all forms of slavery.

A civilian, who works for a pro-Houthi tribal leader in Saada, told Turkey’s Asharq Al-Awsat news outlet: “I have been working for years at the sheikh’s house without pay. I cannot go back to my family or do anything out of my own free will.”

“I do not know the meaning of freedom,” he said.

The United States literally fought a civil war over the issue of slavery without much objection to the loss of life on the Confederate side. This week the country tabled a bill to review its relationship with Pretoria.

Article 13 of South Africa’s Bill of Rights expressly forbids slavery, servitude and forced labour, Ours is one of the few constitutions in the world to declaim on this important issue, (not that we ever enforce such prohibitions, nor care about labour rights in the face of a seven day work week?)

Yet such are the blinkers provided by the likes of Minister Naledi Pandor, whose speech to a rousing audience of Pro-Palestine congregants at the Masjid al-Quds this week, painted a rather different picture. Wearing a hijab she claimed to not know who ISIS is despite the fact the SANDF are currently engaged in a SADC operation against ISIS in Mocambique? Later at SONA she claimed anyone opposing her views is an “Israeli agent”. She may as well be living on Pluto, since becoming a roving plutocrat?

I’ve written extensively about her many dropped narratives, half-truths, redacted quotations, outright lies and failure to defend the non-aligned movement of which Mandela, a bipartisan on the conflict, and founder of our country was very much a part. If you are not yet familiar, take a tour of this page: Everything You Know about Palestine is Wrong. Or read my unanswered letters here, and here.

The idea that South African solidarity transforms the intractable religious conflict into the 21 century equivalent of the anti-apartheid movement is magical-thinking at best.

Take any metric associated with human rights under Gaza’s Hamas regime: whether the rights of women, LGBT or the disabled, and one can only come to the conclusion — if the Jihadists were to win the war, the entire region would be universally, an area governed by autocrats, dictators, religious police and clerical militia. In short MENA would be bereft of Jews (as it already is) but without any of the necessary conditions for a sustainable, or moral existence as many at St Georges Cathedral would like to call it.

And let’s not neglect to consider what a future Pandora-sponsored, ICJ legal determination may bring, especially one that delivers us all the paradox of a “Protected Jihad” for a “Protected People” ?

In this situation under the general abrogation of religious freedom (freedom from the religion of others) effected via martyrdom and self-sacrifice, alongside the removal of core rights and fundamental freedoms we take for granted, (Yes those Zionists deserve their liberty as much as Palestinians) nobody will be allowed to oppose Houthi slavery, nor the Hamasist fantasy, that Palestinians (former citizens of British Palestine) are the ‘Chosen People’, in a weird inversion of the ancient texts associated with the Judeo-Christian canon?

That many contemporaries are rewriting the Holy Book, as if the Canaanites (who occupied all of what is now modern Syria) or the Philistines (who once occupied Gaza), having long since exited history, are the victors is abundantly clear. We would be better off if all religious texts were simple abolished and ‘G-d did not exist’ or ‘G-d is dead’, for all intents and purposes.

In such a battle of competing monotheisms, competing definitions of who is entitled to be a Jew or a Christian or a Muslim, and who is not under Pandora’s Grand Inquisition, there is only one winner, and that will be the group which succeeds in winning the battle over narrative.

Take note: I have merely the fate of my own humble byline to consider, rendered as it has been, by a Marxist Pretoria in ways that make the apartheid regime seem like quaint liberals compared to the machinations of the current bureaucrats in office. Freedom of the press in my country has long been ripped asunder by the Independent Group and its opposition to the outcome of WW2.

READ: Quo Vadis, whither South Africa’s Religious Freedom?

Has Pretoria positioned itself as a base for terror support?

THE ahistorical attempt to paint the anti-apartheid struggle as a ‘battle by theologians against secular identity’, ramped up this week.

Following a rowdy debate on the Israel-Gaza conflict inside parliament with far-left parties aligning themselves to the objectives of far-right Islamists, Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni warned that ‘any South African taking part in the Israeli military in the conflict in the Middle East will face the law.’

Ntshavheni said the Foreign Military Assistance Act prohibits any South African from participating in military operations in other parts of the world, and specifically mentioned those joining the IDF while ignoring the problem of jihadists seeking to assist Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS and Al-Qaeda, all considered terrorist organisations by the West.

Foreign minister Naledi Pandor has called for the arrest of top Israeli officials by the ICC, demanding the body issue warrants for ‘violating international law’. This from the same government which refused to arrest Omar al-Bashir for the Darfur Genocide and which last year opposed the ICC when it came to Putin’s involvement in the Bucha massacre.

Read Palestinian John Aziz piece All My Life I’ve Watched Violence Fail the Palestinian Cause

Statements by the ANC Johannesburg over the past weeks have even gone so far as reinventing history by claiming ‘Nelson Mandela expressed his position regarding the PLO in his 21 June 1990 input at the Town Hall USA where he said “Yasser Arafat, Colonel Gadaffi & Fidel Castro support our struggle to the hilt”. ‘

Mandela had instead been critical stating: “I also explained to Mr Sigmund and company that in our organisation we have Jews. In fact Mr Gaddafi did not allow us to open our offices in Libya precisely because we had the courage to say to him, we work with Jews in our organisation. And he didn’t allow us to open an office until February (1990) this year when he had to accept us as we are. We are not prepared to be swayed by anybody, we have an independent policy which we set no matter with whom we discuss.”

At the same Townhall meeting the bipartisan, Secular Mandela had made his views on the conflict very clear and was very aware of the limitations and dangers of unbridled support for any one cause external to his own party’s national objectives.

“I explained to Mr Sigmund, that we identify with the PLO because just like ourselves, they are fighting for the right of self-determination. I went further however to say, that the support for Yasser Arafat and his struggle does not mean that the ANC has ever doubted the right of Israel to exist as a state, legally. We have stood quite openly and firmly for the right of that state to exist within secure borders, but of course, as I said to Mr Sigmund in Geneva in August, that we carefully define what we mean by secure borders, we do not mean that Israel has the right to retain the territories they conquered from the Arab world, like the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the West Bank. We don’t agree with that, those territories should be returned to the Arab People.”

The same week an equally revisionist statement emanated from the Dept of Education. It seems Pretoria Mullahs have adopted a Fatwa. The statement said the historical term “Mandatory Palestine” was used in Question 5.2 of the Mathematical Literacy Paper 1, written on November 3″ and was found to be offensive by the Palestine Solidarity Alliance since it “infers that Israel is a legitimate democratic state and occupier.”

If this seems like a prelude to removing references to South Africa’s own colonial history, for example the period under the British occupation (1806-1961), yes that is the ‘woke’ trend.

Apparently the Dept. expects its students to openly lie about world history in order to accommodate sensitivities around Palestine, a state which never existed, for all intents and purposes, prior to the UN Mandate for Palestine & Transjordan under the British. Palestine has had only observer status at the UN, since 2012.

Texts which provide credence and support for the notion that Israel exists, whether as an historical or a UN recognized entity, have long been the target of Hamas morality police within Gaza. If this means your neighbors Bible may be next, yes that may well be the case, need one add that the Quran recognizes Israel as the land of the Jews?

Al Baqara 2.47 ; Al Maida 5.21; AlAaraf 7.137; Yunus 10.93; Al Israa 17.2-104;Ta Ha 20.80; Al Mumim 40.53; AlDukhan 44.32; Al Jathiya 45.16, all refer to Israel and lead credence to the idea that the Quran itself borrowed heavily from the Old Testament.

Min. Pandor, don’t call me an Infidel

Dear Minister Pandor,

Statement by DIRCO 30 October refers.

Judaism is a religion. It is also an ethnic and historical community. Our views as Jews are certainly not monolithic. There are many Jews who do not support war, or who find the politics of the Netanyahu administration reprehensible.

There are those who disagree with the status quo, and who nevertheless support the two state solution, those who support Israel and who also support Palestine, those who do not support either Israel or Palestine, and even those who may over-identify with the cause, and who are willing to support whatever occurs on account of their own claims against ‘Imperialism’ on behalf of the oppressed and so on. The saying goes, take two Jews and you will get three opinions.

It does not assist the situation to declare what South Africans must believe, whom we should support, and which organisation is representative of our views in this conflict.

And it certainly does not assist the cause of peace to platform the perspective of those who claim Jews are Infidels or Kufrs when they’re in the Middle East, and Haraam or forbidden when your department disagrees with their views?

Hard as this may seem, one cannot simply remove Zionists from the picture in the Middle East, and as a statement by your department released yesterday suggests.

Turning such persons as Zev Krengel of the Zionist Federation into Heretics, results in sanctions and censorship on the basis of ethno-religious identity, sanctions that are dangerously and scandalously progressing towards that of a modern religious inquisition — a persecution of belief, outlawed by our own secular constitution.

Let me be the first one to tell you that I find your department’s open threats of prosecution against those who support Israel’s ‘right to self-defense’ — a viewpoint held by the majority of leaders of the free world — in the absence of consensus on your own legal position — completely illogical given the circumstances of 7 October, and especially given the rights of free speech guaranteed by our constitution.

If persons such as Krengel have something to say, they should be allowed to say it in public. If their views are disagreeable, they should be debated and their views proven wrong, rather than closed down by government fiat or departmental proclamation.

Such an easy resort to a fatwa and threat of punishment are the hallmarks of totalitarian regimes, as they were the currency of the apartheid state and demonstrate quite amply why South Africans should be concerned about your recent trip to Iran and callous phone calls to various Iranian proxies in the Middle East.

Not only has your spokesperson made the astonishing claim of ‘repeated discredited information related to the beheading of children in Israel’ without bothering to attend the recent press briefing in which the first forensic reports were released to the public,(following Hamas live-streaming of its bloody mayhem), but you further confuse ’cause and effect’ by claiming: “This disinformation is part of the arsenal of dehumanisation tactics used to justify a ‘by any means necessary’ approach.”

Such a statement is immediately contradicted by the reality of Palestinian open support of ‘just war ‘ and ‘by any means necessary’ — policies long since advocated by Hamas, as a recent SABC programme aptly demonstrates.

The events disputed by your department are extremely troubling — the least of which is the lamentable loss of life experienced on both sides and especially the loss of life of innocent children, those who deserve our support.

Instead of compassion your spokesperson chose to weaponise the plight of Palestinian civilians — innocent persons who should not be political footballs nor sacrificial lambs. It is Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh who has openly demanded the blood of these children for his revolutionary cause in pursuit of his “Final Battle”, while holding hostages, and continuing rocket attacks against civilians — action that risks drawing all nations into another World War.

We are a nation at peace, and no South African wishes war to become the order of the day. The cause of the Palestinian people and the rest of the world, is not served by your department authoring cant and issuing propaganda over what has occurred.

Sincerely yours

David Robert Lewis

Putin presents Pretoria with a not-so-pretty pickle

NO SOONER had Pretoria (Tshwane) shown the world that it cared very little for the UN Charter codifying the major principles of international relations, from sovereign equality of States to the prohibition of the use of force in international relations, it found itself facing a legal problem presented by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The issue of Putin’s attendance at a BRICS summit  the upcoming 15th BRICS Summit from August 22 to 24, in Durban following the ICC issuing an arrest warrant, comes after the SANDF conducted military exercises with Russia and China on the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine.

It was an embarrassing show of support for the aggressor, presenting a major predicament. On the one hand foreign minister Naledi Pandor claims South Africa is neutral on the issue of the Ukraine war, supposedly practising a ‘continental tradition of non-alignment’, on the other, the country has aligned itself with an emerging power-bloc that includes Russia.

The embattled Ramaphosa government may just have to decide which side its bread is buttered. It cannot simply pretend the world is not watching, or that ANC civil rights history translates into eternal immunity from world opinion. The fading Mandela Miracle which birthed a Rainbow Nation has rapidly turned into a tragic story of hubris and self-defeating political intrigue.

While many within the ruling party, see the BRICS Development Bank as an all-important counter to ‘Bretton Woods’ financial institutions, the reality is far from the rhetoric — most of the country’s economic activity involves the West, with trade far outweighing business within the BRICS bloc. Though China ranks ahead of the USA $11.69B vs $10.73B, the addition of the EU, UK and Japan make such a comparison seem absurd.

Germany$8.83B2022
Japan$8.50B2022
United Kingdom$6.30B2022
Netherlands$6.02B2022
Trade with the West far outweighs BRICS trade

The BRICS bank, a hallmark of the political project which begun under Zuma, is by no means independent, and the price of gaining an international banking conceit, one which translates into an essentially unproven claim, a counter-weight to the Washington Consensus, (Putin’s much vaunted “multipolarity”), may yet turn out to be a unsustainable, too expensive and complicated in the long run.

Much like the G20, BRICS (a product of the Left) is merely an artificial acronym invented by Goldman Sachs economist Jim O’Neill , to denote the five biggest emerging economies. It is currently neither a political nor an economic union, and stands awkwardly on the world stage, unlike the more important African Union and SADC, both also teetering on the brink of collapse, the product of ANC neglect.

South Africa’s economy has been unable to post meaningful growth figures over the past five years, despite the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA). The welcome trade surpluses (a factor under Ramaphosa’s drive for R1 trillion investment) have swung into a deficit of R23.05 billion — a significant decline from January 2022’s R4.64 billion trade balance surplus — amidst signs that multinationals like BP may be quietly withdrawing from the country, sensing sanctions on the horizon?

Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor is thus effectively steering the nation down a rather bleak path, (in step with Iranian Ayatollahs) one that could lead to outright sanctions, trade embargoes and equivalent loss of influence and prestige.

Twenty-six African countries voted in favor of a resolution rejecting Moscow’s controversial 2022 referenda in four Ukrainian regions, with South Africa increasingly isolated and outmanoeuvred on the continent.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana is already battling grey-listing by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for falling short of international standards for the combating of money laundering and other serious financial crimes, and Pandor appears to be working hard to essentially sabotage his efforts. It is no coincidence the FATF action also occurred on the anniversary of the Ukraine invasion.

More worrying is the manner in which the country, (more so under its previous President Zuma), appears to be importing organised crime — adopting Putin’s kleptocratic system of state capture and oligarchy to some extant, a system benefiting economic elites at the expense of ordinary citizens.

The findings of the Zondo Commission into corruption and state capture have yet to translate into meaningful prosecution and jail-time for the culprits.

South Africa may yet return to the period in which it was viewed as the polecat of the world.

SEE: Pandor’s prevarication over Ukraine, Lavrov parallels Pik Botha statements on special military operation against SWAPO

Ukraine: Enter Dugmore & the Tankie Left

TANKIES are leftists who defend Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, but who are otherwise opposed to the use of tanks to resolve disputes. It is a term derived from an earlier generation of Western leftists who backed the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 — and who also defend Russia’s behavior today. It may applied to any situation of paradoxism in political outlook involving the use of state force, such as invasions, pre-emptive strikes and the like.

The ANC’s Cameron Dugmore best epitomises South Africa’s tankie left. In 1987 as UCT SRC president, he appeared on a combined ECC – IDF platform alongside then SAUJS President, Johnathan Handler. It was the first of a large group of 23 objectors, which included Christian pacifists, Jewish and also Atheist objectors

Handler opposed the use of SADF tanks in the townships, but paradoxically supported the IDF and its war in Lebanon. It was the 1982 invasion of Southern Lebanon under direction of then Defense Minister Ariel Sharon  which had lead me to a path of opposition to the use of force by the State of Israel. Of course, I naively assumed at the time, there were parallels between the SADF war in Angola and what was happening in the Middle East (you can read my response to Seth Rogen here).

This week at a combined Russian and South African gathering, hastily called to celebrate apparently ’30 years of solidarity’. Dugmore took issue with the Democratic Alliance (DA) for wanting to light up Cape Town’s public buildings in the colors of the Ukrainian flag. He also attacked what he claimed was the parties ‘refusal to debate issues to do with Palestine’.

That Dugmore shares the Russian autocrats homophobic and misogynistic worldview is not that surprising given Palestinian opposition to LGBTIQ+ rights, and the Tankie left should pause to consider that Putin is admired by Republicans on the far-right, and the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Jewish.

Russia proceeded to bomb a well-known Holocaust war-memorial yesterday, commemorating Babi Yar, a site where some 150 000 Jewish Ukrainians were massacred.

Many on twitter were quick to point out that Ukraine had also been a part of the USSR, and if anything, South Africa owes the country a debt of gratitude for its support of the anti-apartheid movement.

South Africa itself has ties with the Russian people and the former Soviet Union going back over 70 years and to World War 2 where it fought alongside the allies. The attempt to recast Putin as a contemporary savior figure has been condemned as nothing short of foolish nostalgia, the result of the ANC’s moral agnosticism.

Naledi Pandor for example was quick to jump on the ‘unconscionable racism’ experienced by many Africans attempting to flee Ukraine under martial law amidst unavoidable restrictions on travel — nothing less than ‘supporting evidence’ for Putin’s claim that he was ‘denazifying the country by invading’. (read my previous open letter to the Minister)

Poland for example has a 1 in 10 policy, only letting in 1 Foreigner for every 10 Ukrainian women and children. Africans fared a lot better at the Hungarian border, where unlike Poland, there were no far-right groups objecting to their presence.

Meanwhile a Russian millionaire offered a $1 million bounty for the arrest of Putin, stating: “As an ethnic Russian and a Russia citizen, I see it as my moral duty to facilitate the denazification of Russia. I will continue my assistance to Ukraine in its heroic efforts to withstand the onslaught of Putin’s Orda.”

And by that he means to De-Putinise Russia.

Though our own country is a partner in BRICS, (an economic block dreamt up by economists, in the same vein as FAANG, a Wall St acronym), there is little to be gained by equivocating on the issue. The government has been taken to task for being on the ‘side of the oppressor’.

The much-vaunted BRICS bank is bound to come under pressure from economic sanctions, even China has baulked at the prospect of a financial fall-out from Putin’s war, bearing in mind that the Chinese economy has just experienced a major event in the managed deflation of a stupendous property bubble.

President Xi Jinping can ill-afford to bankroll his neighbours war adventure in the Ukraine, and neither is South Africa able to afford the luxury to go it alone so far as international sanctions and pressure on Putin is concerned, –our own sovereign debt and junk rating, must rank high on the agenda of our finance minister.

South Africa chose to abstain from a UN General Assembly vote this week, condemning the Russian invasion. Pretoria may live to regret its lack of action.