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ANC MPL uses anti-Semitism to attack the opposition

  • TaliDAandJewsinCTSharonDavids2
Sharon Davids, the ANC’s MPL in the Western Cape, made outrageous anti-Semitic remarks in an attempt to besmirch the DA during a debate on Friday in the provincial legislature, following Premier Helen Zille’s State of the Province Address.
by TALI FEINBERG | Mar 01, 2018

Davids blamed the Jewish community for the water crisis, which she said was a fabrication, and accused Jewish leaders of belonging to a “Jewish mafia” and of being paid to create fear and discord.

The DA “fabricated” the Day Zero water crisis in Cape Town to gain kickbacks from the Jewish mafia, claimed Davids, adding that former leader Tony Leon was hired to communicate the party’s “doomsday message” of Day Zero and that “Zille had it in for Patricia [de Lille] after she stood up to her about this land in the Jewish area”.

Proof that the DA was favouring Jewish people, said Davids, was illustrated by party leader Mmusi Maimane “hanging out” with DA MP Michael Bagraim, who had spent time on the SA Jewish Board of Deputies.

This is not the first time Davids has landed in hot water. In 2016, she was found guilty of inflating her travel claims. Denis Joseph, who was chairperson of the legislature’s conduct committee at the time, said: “As chairperson of the conduct committee, I find it unacceptable that a public representative inflates travel distances for financial benefit. Member Davids was charged according to Clause 2 (4) (b), that holds every member of the provincial Parliament accountable for due diligence in the execution of his or her official duty.”

While the DA released a statement condemning Davids’ anti-Semitic remarks while the sitting was still in session, the ANC’s lack of response was deafening. And when the SA Jewish Report called the ANC’s media officer for the Western Cape, Yonela Diko, for comment on Monday, he asked: “What did Sharon say?”

This was in direct contrast to the reaction by DA chief whip Mark Wiley, who, during the sitting, had pointed out that Davids’ remarks violated Article 15 of the Constitution, which protects freedom of religion and belief.

When the ANC eventually released a statement at the SA Jewish Report’s request, it said that Davids’ comments deserved consideration: “Anti-Semitism is not a scaremongering tool to whip others in line and to prevent them from interrogating the truth,” wrote provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs.

“If there is an illicit relationship between the DA and some Jewish-aligned formations, such must be interrogated without fear or prejudice. We will therefore be talking to Davids to understand the context in which the remarks were made.”

Said Rael Kaimowitz, chairperson of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (Cape Council): “Instead of outright condemnation of Davids’ bizarre statements, Jacobs has effectively supported her. Suggesting that her anti-Semitism is a result of something that Jews have done is a classic form of racist victim blaming.”

The University of Cape Town’s Professor Milton Shain, an expert in anti-Semitism, explains why Davids’ comments are a classic form of what’s been termed ‘the world’s oldest hatred’: “The comments are clearly anti-Semitic. The very notion of a ‘Jewish mafia’ plugs into age-old canards of sinister cabals and nefarious actions on the part of all Jews. The idea that Jews are ‘manufacturing the water crisis’ to serve their own interests reminds one of the medieval well-poisoning libel.

“Sharon Davids is emulating the language of the infamous Greyshirt leader Louis Weichardt [whose organisation followed Nazi doctrine] and others on the radical right in the 1930s. Is the ANC happy to follow in the tradition of South African fascists at the time of World War II who blamed Jews for all their problems and asserted sinister motives on the part of Jewish parliamentarians and the Jewish left? Is the ANC happy to have the equivalent of the pro-Nazi Robey Leibbrandt speaking for it in the provincial council?” he asks.

“If reported correctly, Davids should be expelled from the ANC. She should know better. Is she talking about Albie Sachs? Is she talking about the late Arthur Chaskalson, or the late Joe Slovo, or the late Helen Suzman? I’m afraid that must be the conclusion if she chooses to generalise about ethnic groups,” continues Shain.

“Michael Bagraim should take Davids to the Human Rights Commission. Is he not allowed to ‘hang out’ with his party leader? Are Jews not allowed to tender for a Jewish community centre or school in Sea Point? Should the ‘sinister’ Tony Leon be sidelined from business or political activities? Perhaps Sharon Davids wishes to curtail Jewish rights. Sadly, it would appear that the ANC is going to play the ‘Jewish card’ as we move toward the provincial and general elections in 2019. No one should fall for it.”

The ANC’s silence was met with outrage on social media. “This creature is the ANC version of Penny Sparrow minus the outrage against her,” wrote Tony Leon, while Zackie Achmat tweeted: “The @ancwcape_Info must condemn this stupid and populist anti-Semitism.”

Sheryl Lowenthal tweeted directly to President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC MPs Naledi Pandor and Derek Hanekom: “This disgusting anti-Semitism and racism is a direct result of the ANC being captured by hateful BDS. It’s a total insult to Jewish South Africans. I am disgusted – this is not what Nelson Mandela stood for and is an insult to the Constitution.”

Howard Feldman added: “@CyrilRamaphosa @NalediPandor Two consequences that will naturally follow the ANC obsession and hatred towards Israel. 1. A rise in racist anti-Semitism. 2. A rise in terror within SA borders. Both are already a problem. The power sits with you to change it. #BDS #Antisemitism”

Mike Abel tweeted to the powers that be: “Have you issued a statement yet condemning these wild, insane, inflammatory and wholly untrue statements of your Sharon Davids from ANC WC? Silence = consent... Speak up if you have a conscience and then, fire her. This is hate speech.”

Popular former DA councillor Jacques Weber wrote on Facebook: “It has now been 48 hours since this ignorant MPL stood up and made probably one of the most despairing statements, yet not a single murmur of an apology from her nor a single statement from the newly appointed ANC Top 6. I guess for me the honeymoon period in the ‘changed ANC’ is very much over.”

Kaimowitz explained: “Such allegations amount to a racist smear campaign against the Jewish community. The surfacing of such clearly anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are particularly disturbing in view of the very difficult situation that the people of Cape Town find themselves in and the potential this creates for seeking convenient scapegoats for what has gone wrong.

“We urgently call on the ANC nationally and in the Western Cape to show it is genuinely committed to fighting racism in whatever form it arises. The ANC must distance itself from these remarks and justifications, and speak out clearly that this is an unacceptable narrative. As always, we are available to engage on this issue.”

Davids has since attempted to backtrack on her remarks, claiming that she had referred only to a “foreign-based company” and “Israel-based people”.

2 Comments

  1. 2 Russell Fig 06 Mar
    This woman is clearly off the wall. Her remarks also seem antisemetic.  Nonwhite South Africans shoud be grateful to the Jewish Community for their role in oposing Apartheid. Why is it that so many historicaly disadvantaged people in South Africa are either unaware of this or forget it?     
  2. 1 nat cheiman 06 Mar
    Sounds like Ms Davids needs a good colonised education .
    Also, sangoma's are not the way to go when you are an MPL

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