‘Crude anti-Semitism’ popping up all over
We began our visit to Berlin by joining thousands of people on Sunday at the landmark rally at the Brandenburg Gate protesting against “Jew hatred”. This was both inspiring and disconcerting – disconcerting, because we have to ask why we are once again having to confront this kind of vile prejudice, a mere 75 years after the Second World War. Have the horrific lessons of that history still not been learned?
The inspiration came from the impressive line-up of influential German political and religious leaders who all expressed their outrage and condemnation of anti-Semitism in all its forms.
Chancellor Angela Merkel opened her speech with the reassuring promise: “That people in Germany are threatened and abused because of their Jewish appearance or their support for Israel, is an outrageous scandal that we won’t accept.”
Fighting anti-Semitism, she said, was a “national and civic duty”. Unfortunately, Germany is not the only country experiencing crude anti-Semitism, something greatly exacerbated by the Gaza conflict.
The WJC meeting has provided an opportunity for the leadership of world Jewry to discuss this scourge and their plans to combat it. It has showcased once again the incredible work and projects undertaken by the WJC, of which the SAJBD is an executive member. It is fast becoming the international Jewish leadership brand, focused on addressing and responding to issues of importance to world Jewry.
One of the most significant initiatives, which is receiving a great deal of justified attention, is the growth of young Jewish political leaders. In this regard, I am thrilled to congratulate Marc Posniac from the SAJBD Gauteng Council, who has been elected chairman of the steering committee of the Jewish Diplomatic Corps.
I was very sorry to miss what to all accounts was an excellent Gauteng Conference last Sunday, and once again wish the incoming executive all the best for the coming year. I am looking forward to participating in the Cape Council Conference this weekend.
Need for heightened awareness
The Yamim Tovim are coming up, and in light of the steep rise of anti-Semitic activity in recent months, there is a need for heightened awareness on our part to ensure that proper security arrangements are in place.
The CSO, in close partnership with the police services, is as always pursuing this task with the utmost thoroughness and professionalism. Every community member needs to do his or her part, however.
We all need to be constantly vigilant and report any activity that could be regarded as suspicious, and we also need to co-operate fully with the CSO, both by taking to heart the carefully thought-out security tips they provide and by unquestioningly following their directives when attending communal functions.
This being the last issue of the SA Jewish Report before Yom Tov, I take this opportunity on behalf of the SAJBD to wish our wonderful Jewish community of South Africa a happy and peaceful New Year and well over the Fast.
- Listen to Charisse Zeifert on Jewish Board Talk, 101.9 ChaiFM every Friday 12:00-13:00.