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Al Jama-ah leader calls for arrest of Jewish leaders



The leader of South African political party Al Jama-ah has called on the South African Police Service (SAPS) to “arrest Zionist bodies in Cape Town”, claiming they are “after our students at UCT [the University of Cape Town].”

The call was made by Ganief Hendricks, a founder member of the extremist Al Jama-ah party and member of parliament (MP). He made the comments on a Facebook post, which was later deleted. Then on 29 May, he shared a video of clashes in Israel, saying, “This is why I asked [the] minister of police in the police budget vote to arrest the officials and members of the two bodies in Cape Town supporting all of this and not condemning.”

His remarks were in response to the firm stand taken by the Cape South African Jewish Board of Deputies (Cape SAJBD) against the Israel hatred which has been allowed on UCT’s campus, and the harassment by protesters outside the Cape Town Jewish community’s campus. This campus includes a shul, a library, two museums, and a kosher restaurant.

“It’s a criminal offence to support racism and apartheid Israel,” Hendricks said in parliament. “The United Nations resolution on apartheid makes it mandatory for all member states to support the resolution against apartheid; Amnesty International has recognised apartheid as a crime and has called for the Israeli authorities to be held accountable for apartheid crimes.”

Al Jama-ah publicly called on the SAPS to execute the arrest of the “two bodies” (assumed to be their leadership) which he said were “advocating for racism and apartheid Israel”. However, SAPS spokesperson Andre Traut told the SA Jewish Report that he couldn’t comment unless a case was actually opened.

“The Cape SAJBD is appalled at the false accusations and clear threats against the Jewish community made by the leader of the Al Jama-ah party, Ganief Hendricks,” said Cape SAJBD Executive Director Daniel Bloch. “His attack on the Jewish community in South Africa is unbecoming of a leader in parliament.

“The Al Jama-ah comments were in response to the Cape SAJBD’s recent statements, and there have been further comments made by PAGAD [People Against Gangsterism and Drugs]; the Palestine Solidarity Campaign; and the UCT Palestinian Solidarity Committee. As usual, these organisations spread misinformation and lies to make their case. This is a clear example of how anti-Zionism blurs with antisemitism.”

Hendricks also posted photos on Facebook of himself meeting the consul general of Russia, where he asked Russia to “arm the resistance in Palestine … to take sides and support Palestine with weapons to defend themselves so there’s only Palestine, and Muslims and Jews live together”.

Calling for the arrest of South African Jews is one of several extreme statements Hendricks made in the month of May. On 10 May, he was removed from parliament after calling the Democratic Alliance (DA) a terrorist party during the international-relations budget debate.

Hendricks’ outburst related to political divisions in the City of Johannesburg, where the party gave the DA 48 hours to provide evidence against newly appointed Johannesburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda, who is claimed to have been scamming members of the public.

Hendricks accused the DA of using “spy equipment”. He also refused to take his seat, and was told to leave the chamber.

“They introduced spying equipment in the City of Johannesburg. They should charge you for terrorism! The DA is a terrorist party,” Hendricks said.

DA Chief Whip Siviwe Gwarube called for action against Hendricks for hurling profanities.

Hendricks said that if the DA failed to withdraw the allegations against Gwamanda, they would approach the courts for remedial action.

“There are three members of the South African parliament who are insistent on mentioning Israel and Zionism on a regular basis,” said MP and deputy shadow minister for employment and labour, Michael Bagraim.

“Unfortunately, hatred of Zionism more than not deteriorates into antisemitism,” he said. “It’s easy to detect how the use of Israel and Zionism becomes a thinly veiled disguise of actual antisemitism. This veil has been crudely lifted recently by Hendricks. When he posted his remarks on Facebook, it was there for all the world to see the most vile antisemitism. Furthermore, while in parliament, he said it was a criminal offence to support ‘apartheid Israel’. This rabid antisemitism spews forth on a regular basis from Hendricks.

“I was absolutely gobsmacked on hearing Hendricks rant about the DA being a terrorist party,” said Bagraim. “At first, one could have thought he was having some sort of medical seizure and in spite of the chairperson desperately trying to call him to order, it got worse. Unfortunately, this modern-day form of antisemitism seems almost palatable. It’s now almost kosher to attack Zionism and Israel when you are actually wanting everyone to understand that it’s really Jews that you hate. With people like Hendricks, that thin veil of Jew-hatred is easily lifted.”

“[The National Freedom Party’s] Shaik [Ahmed Munzoor] Emam and Hendricks have used every opportunity they can in their speeches to lie about Israel, not defend Palestine,” said MP and shadow deputy minister of trade, industry, and competition, Darren Bergman. “When lines are being blurred between Jews, Israel, and Zionism, they are spewing hatred and clearly trying to incite violence.

“This is a time when leaders with constituents should be doing everything in their name to seek peace and resolve,” said Bergman. “More so, they have a moral obligation to ensure that when they say things at the podium, they should be fact-checked.

“Again, we call on all leaders, not just the Muslim community, to condemn these attacks on the Jewish community and support our rights as South African citizens,” said Bloch. “We would like to reassure our community that we are taking these threats extremely seriously. We’re still exploring all options available to protect our community from further threats. We will continue to fight for every Jewish person’s right to live, work, and practice our religion in a safe environment, free from discrimination, hate, and antisemitism.”

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  1. Robert Mancusso

    June 8, 2023 at 2:09 pm

    “Again, we call on all leaders, not just the Muslim community, to condemn these attacks on the Jewish community and support our rights as South African citizens,” said Bloch.

    The Muslim community encourages Anti-Zionism/Anti-Semitism, so don’t waste your time expecting any sympathy from them, just take whatever steps are necessary to secure the Jewish community.

  2. Christina Nothnagel

    June 9, 2023 at 2:40 pm

    God Bless Israel, my Lord’s Chosen Land and Chosen People .THE JEWS .HALLELUJAH.

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