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“Disappointed & angered to receive e-mail from Fed”




Bernard Katz of Johannesburg writes:

By the time this letter is published the South Africa’s 2014 elections will be over and the result will be known.

Nevertheless, I was extremely disappointed and angered to receive an e-mail from the South African Zionist Federation last week Thursday which can only be interpreted as a call for Jews to vote for the ACDP and avoid the ANC, based purely on the SAZF’s assessment of who is a friend of Israel.

I have no doubt that South African Jews were capable of deciding who to vote for without the advice of the SAZF and that the e-mail’s impact on voting habits was close to negligible. But that is beside the point.

For purposes of this letter I have ignored the dubious scientific method applied by the SAZF, where attending Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations and participating in a pro-Israel demonstration get equal ranking with eight other categories, presumably selected by the SAZF.

Is the SAZF really trying to suggest that Jews in South Africa should vote in a South African election based on the SAZF’s assessment of a party’s friendship towards Israel? Should we ignore jobs, the economy, corruption and service delivery and vote for the party who in the opinion of the SAZF ranks as the friendliest to Israel?

Surely when one votes in a South African election the test must be to vote as a good citizen of South Africa and in the best interests of South Africa.

How would we Jews feel if the Muslim community had put out an e-mail titled “Are you voting for a friend of Palestine?” compiled with a similar bias to the survey produced by the SAZF?

The SAZF e-mail serves no benefit to the South African Jewish community or Israel and can only have the effect of increasing friction between population groups and irritating the ruling party.

As King Solomon may have said: “There is a time for defending Israel and a time to remain silent.”

Meddling in a South African election is surely not in the ambit of the SAZF’s jurisdiction. The SAZF e-mail is an embarrassment and counterproductive to the interests it is attempting to serve.

It should be retracted with an apology with immediate effect.


Bernard Katz

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  1. Gary Selikow

    May 5, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    ‘The ANC have campaigned very heavily for the Muslim vote and kept the SACP and COSATU in their camp with their pro-Palestinian extreme stance

    Anyway on what issues does the ANC merit  a vote? I cant think of any rational reason to vote ANC.’

  2. Israeli

    May 7, 2014 at 6:33 am

    ‘This reminds me of the infamous remark made the then secretary of state, James Baker, on Israel’s involvement in the Gulf War. \”F—k the Jews, they don’t vote for us (Republicans) anyway.’

  3. Sam the Zionist

    May 12, 2014 at 11:24 am

    ‘It seems that Gary may have assumed Bernard was promoting the ANC, whereas, to me he was simply noting the SAZF’s most favoured and least favoured / ranked parties.  The point must be that a vote for a small party like the ACDP is not going to help change SA, no matter how much they love Israel, whereas a vote for the DA, even with some \”BDS\” supporters and members, will. 

    PS – even Zionists can be pro-Palestinian (statehood) as the 2 are not exclusive, and are a necessity for a peace deal to ensure the future of a Jewish state in Israel.’

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