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CSA ducks antisemitism claims in Teeger uproar

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The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) has demanded that the International Cricket Council (ICC) launch an immediate investigation into Cricket South Africa (CSA) about stripping David Teeger of his South African Under-19 captaincy just before the World Cup.

In a letter addressed to the chairperson of the ICC board of directors, Greg Barclay, on 17 January, the SAJBD argued that the removal of Teeger as captain constituted “unfair discrimination against a member of the Jewish community on the part of CSA”. The Board urged the ICC to engage with CSA to ensure that Teeger be reinstated as captain.

Stripped of his captaincy by CSA on 12 January in a move attributed to security concerns but widely touted as antisemitic, Teeger’s plight immediately sparked worldwide condemnation. British television presenter and journalist Piers Morgan accused CSA of “shameful moral cowardice”, while local and international media began asking questions.

In a meeting CSA called with the SAJBD on 16 January to discuss allegations of antisemitism, the organisation was unable to provide the state security report it initially said it had received, saying it was a briefing and not a report, said SAJBD National Chairperson Professor Karen Milner in a press briefing following the meeting.

In response to the SAJBD’s argument that stripping Teeger of his captaincy but allowing him to remain on the field offered no security benefit, the CSA shifted the focus from Teeger’s safety to the safety of everybody else at the matches, according to Milner. “Every time we challenged them on the safety issue, they shifted the goalposts,” Milner said. “That’s why we understand this as deeply antisemitic.

“At the end of the meeting, a CSA member said, ‘We’ll have to agree to disagree’, something the SAJBD cannot do when issues of antisemitism are at stake,” she said. “It’s of enormous concern to us that it didn’t hear our position and at the end of the meeting, expressed how offended it was that we had called it out on this basis [of antisemitism].”

SA Jewish Report Chairperson Howard Sackstein said the CSA’s actions had alarming implications. “Given the fact that the South African Jewish community – and in fact every Jewish community – is overwhelmingly Zionist, what they’ve really done is said that no South African Jew can ever represent South Africa in a leadership capacity,” Sackstein said.

South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) Chairperson Rowan Polovin echoed this thinking, saying, “The Teeger case has shown how the South African government’s vilification of the Jewish state has led directly to actions against Jews who stand up for it.”

“Anti-Zionism bleeds fast into antisemitism. Teeger was targeted for no other reason than that he was a Jew expressing his Jewish beliefs. That these beliefs are unacceptable to the ruling class, ensconced in their hatred for Israel, is a threat to our constitutional freedom as Jews in this country. This needs to be voraciously challenged in order to ensure that it remains entirely unacceptable for a Jew to be treated differently in this country because he or she is a Jew.”

The CSA’s decision comes just more than a month after Teeger was cleared of breaching provisions of the codes of conduct of the CSA and the Central Gauteng Lions in an independent inquiry. The inquiry was sparked by the outcry surrounding Teeger’s Rising Star Award acceptance speech at the Absa Jewish Achiever Awards on 22 October, during which he dedicated his award to the young soldiers in Israel. Once cleared, Teeger was appointed as South Africa’s Under-19 captain, but his position was short-lived.

Its decision last week, which CSA said was motivated by expert advice about anticipated safety risks during the upcoming Under-19 Cricket World Cup, came just a week before the tournament was scheduled to begin, and just days after the Under-19 team met Sports Minister Zizi Kodwa.

Yet, sports security experts said the CSA was told by its security team that though there was a high probability of protests, they didn’t pose significant security concerns or a specific threat to Teeger.

These experts echo growing claims that it was political pressure from the African National Congress (ANC) government rather than safety fears that prompted the decision to strip Teeger of his captaincy. It’s no coincidence that this decision was taken in the same week that South Africa took Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), they say, because the ANC needs the CSA to follow its narrative.

They also don’t see how removing Teeger from the captaincy but keeping him on the team would mitigate any perceived security risk, unless CSA had a clear undertaking from protesters that they would refrain from protesting were this step to be taken.

In their meeting with the SAJBD, CSA also admitted that it had initially asked Teeger to step down citing security concerns, but that he had refused to do so. Thereafter, it stripped him of the captaincy. CSA refused the SAJBD’s request to reinstate him.

“We’re seeing high-level political interference with a sinister, discriminatory agenda,” said the SAJBD. “The fact that the ICC is allowing this tournament to go ahead is tacit endorsement of CSA’s action.” Shortly afterwards, the SAJBD formally called on the ICC to intervene.

Former South African Jewish cricketers Mandy Yachad and Adam Bacher also oppose CSA’s conduct. “Its decision to remove David Teeger, an Orthodox Jew, as captain of the South African Under-19 team, ostensibly in the interest of safety, is deplorable and constitutes a sad day for sport and cricket in particular in South Africa,” said Yachad.

“In doing so, CSA has succumbed to pressure – if not instructions – from the government, which has openly supported Hamas, none more so than in bringing the case of genocide against Israel in the ICJ.

“If safety was an issue, of which I’m certainly not convinced, surely the correct way to deal with the issue would be to stand by the decision made to appoint Teeger as captain and, rather than bowing to pressure and threats, beef up security?”

“I can’t understand how [CSA] has come to this decision, especially when an independent inquiry into Teeger’s statement concluded that he didn’t violate the CSA code of conduct,” said Bacher, pointing out that CSA should have stood firm in its decision to appoint him as captain. “I know David personally,” Bacher said. “He’s a young man of integrity and a proud South African who has always encouraged cultural diversity and respect via his acts at school.”

Actively opposing the controversial decision, the SAZF this week started a petition calling on CSA to reinstate Teeger as captain and apologise. Within hours, it had attracted more than 45 000 signatures and has since spread globally.

Meanwhile, on 16 January, the Democratic Alliance (DA) issued CSA with a letter of demand to reinstate David Teeger as captain. Should CSA refuse to do so before the close of business 19 January 2024, the DA will submit an official complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission.

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  1. Pieter Hugo

    Jan 18, 2024 at 2:43 pm

    The national intelligence agency could not foresee the June riots and looting two years back where there were hundreds of thousands people involved, but they could see that there would be a threat against the junior cricket team if David was to be named as captain? Makes one wonder….

  2. Choni Davidowitz

    Jan 21, 2024 at 1:59 pm

    Young man, the only way you will be re-instated will be if you convert to Islam. Be wise and MAKE ALIYAH.

  3. .yitzchak

    Jan 23, 2024 at 9:21 am

    The Jewish long distance walker from SA in 1936 was a gentleman named Eisenberg who was passed over for the 1936 Berlin olympics.

    The whole foreign policy stance by the SA govt has been taken over by radical i-slam-ists using the language of Teheran and Hamas.
    The SA cabinet meeting of 18.10.2023 called for a 2 state solution based on the “1947 borders”.Whose language is that?.(Not even the 1967 borders, and before the UNGA 181 resolution partitioning Palestine.) The ANC-Hamas cabal including Mme Pandor and her bimbo in DIRCO..Mr Zayin Dangor(Jesse Duarte’s nephew ) who dances to the tune of the ANC on a short chain. Remember she said that Jacob’s coffee should be boycotted! Now tell me antisemitism and antizionism dont mean the same thing!

    It is now called “Yakoob’s Coffee” and passed by the SA Halal Council.

    Meanwhile “Concerned SA Jews(and Jewesses) are debating whether our Jewish sisters were voluntary collaborators in their despoilation .and murder (True martyrs al kiddush hashem.)
    Now here’s film material for their propagandists.All those borderless sisters need to make a stand.

    Mr David Teeger needs to toss the CSA for a six, play a few googlies and creepers, and especially at teams from moslem countries.
    .Stumps has nor been called yet. You are the D’Oliveira of our century.
    Let’s also ban samoosas and curried meat lunches for the cricket venues… and yes insist on kosher food.

    Let’s sponsor Mr Cachalia’s visit to Israel… watch the horror movie.Go to Abu Kbir forensic institute,
    and visit our towns and villages which have been torched. and scorched

    For all South Africans, now we know the face of islamic Jihad. Don’t be fooled.

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