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Cape Board launches #NoPlaceForHate campaign

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“The #NoPlaceForHate campaign speaks directly to the mandate of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, and is a call to action to each and every one of us,” said Cape Board Vice-Chairperson Vivienne Anstey, launching the Cape Board’s new project at its annual conference on Sunday, 5 August.
by TALI FEINBERG | Aug 10, 2018

Envisioned along the lines of the successful Lead SA campaign, the Cape Board has partnered with numerous community and Western Cape organisations in this simple but powerful campaign which is poised to go global. “As Jews, we know first-hand the dangers of hatred. Today, we find ourselves in a country with constitutional ideals that echo our commitment to a shared humanity, dignity, and a just society,” said Anstey.

“We need to uphold the dignity of difference, and embrace – even advocate – for the other. Failure to do this makes us irrelevant and invisible in their eyes. As a Jewish community, we can no longer stand alone and separate ourselves. We must pursue justice and build bridges. Democracy is more than an ideology; it is the imperative to behave justly. As Pirkei Avot states: ‘If I am only for myself, what am I?’”

Anstey said active citizenship was “an obligation”, and that the Cape Board foresaw that this campaign would be far-reaching with universal messages. The action plan was practical, she said, designed to involve everyone, not just those at the top.

It speaks to individuals, adults, children, young adults, the elderly, employers, employees, households, offices, organisations, and communities.

“Each one of us belongs to many groups with circles of influence, and everyone must play their part,” said Anstey. “Adopting the campaign #NoPlaceForHate means we pledge to change our behaviour, to stand up against the abuse of rights, cyber hate, warring parties, and hate speech beyond our own interests. We can no longer stand idly by. We intend this campaign to be viral and visible.”

To get involved is easy. Simply sign up on the website, and you will receive a toolkit which includes a logo you can attach to your emails stating that you are a signatory to the #NoPlaceForHate campaign. You can also write on the online pledge wall, download posters and videos, and add your project to a database.

Each person is called upon to return to their school, shul, home, or organisation to adopt a project or process that expresses this commitment, as a collective and as an individual. It can range from, for example, ensuring that your domestic help is paid fairly and cared for, to aiming to eradicate lashon hara at school or shul.

The Cape Board has already been working behind the scenes to make #NoPlaceforHate a reality. Along with its daily work in the fight against anti-Semitism, it has been deeply involved in the Hate Crimes Working Group, a network of civil society organisations set up to spearhead advocacy and reform initiatives pertaining to hate crimes in South African and the region. It was also involved in the recently promulgated Prevention and Combatting of Hate Crime and Hate Speech Bill.

The Board has worked closely with refugee communities severely disadvantaged by the closure of the Cape Town Home Affairs office; and it organised a World Refugee Day event with Western Cape advocacy and interfaith organisations Africa Unite, Passop (People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty), I AM, and the Turquoise Harmony Institute, a non-profit organisation promoting interfaith and inter-cultural dialogue. In addition, it has hosted a meeting with leaders of the Khoisan community on fighting discrimination.

Cape Board Chairman Rael Kaimowitz wrote to Moulana Aftab Haider, the head of the Shiite community in South Africa, to express support after the brutal attack at the Verulam mosque north of Durban in May, and to the Cape Accord, an alliance of Muslim organisations working against hate speech.

Over the past year, Cape Board staff have met a group which wants to publicise the recent human rights abuses by the Northern Cameroon forces resulting in thousands fleeing to Nigeria; and attended a number of events with the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, including a screening on gender justice, a panel discussion on “Buying into racism”, and the release of the SA Reconciliation Barometer Report. Board committee members also attended the 24th commemoration of the Rwanda genocide in April.

Partner organisations in the #NoPlaceForHate campaign include the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative; the Union of Orthodox Synagogues; the South African Union of Jewish Students; the South African Holocaust & Genocide Foundation; the Scalabrini Centre; the Injabulo Anti-Bullying Project, and many more due to sign up. The Cape Board welcomes any partners who want to join hands in this initiative.

As it is written in Pirkei Avot, “Other people’s dignity is as precious as our own”. The #NoPlaceforHate campaign brings this timeless message to the modern world, allowing every person to put these words into action.

Visit www.capesajbd.org/toolkit for more information and to pledge your commitment to the #NoPlaceForHate campaign.

2 Comments

  1. 2 Bev Goldman 10 Aug
    An excellent initiative - well done to the Cape Board for starting what is hoped will be rolled out in all communities, not only the Jewish.  We have such a long way to go in our beautiful country to ensure that everyone, irrespective of colour, creed or economic status, is recognised as someone of worth.  Everyone of us is - but sometimes we allow others who don't value us to set the tone and make judgements.  As individuals each with our own strengths and characteristics, we need to take responsibility for our actions, our speech, our interactions, and behave in ways of which we will be proud, irrespective of the criticism or condemnation of those who would destroy our reputations.  There's too much of the latter around us - and it's damaging and dangerous.  This new campaign can work wonders for people's self-esteem, for making the world a better place.
  2. 1 Rita Rubin 10 Aug

    Congratulation  beautiful written and expressed.  May this idea grow from strength to strength by all.

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