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Double whammy for SA Jews

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We’re into our third week since the massacre of 7 October. Our grief and desolation hasn’t abated and our horror mounts as we continue to watch the worldwide protests celebrating and justifying the wholesale murder of Jews. Foremost in our minds, however, is the plight of the 222 innocent people criminally abducted by Hamas and held as bargaining tools in conditions that can only be imagined, their very lives hanging in the balance. Along with Jewish organisations across the globe, we call on our government to demand the unconditional release of the hostages.

The fall-out from the terror attacks and their inevitable bloody aftermath is having a severe impact on diaspora Jewry, with antisemitism levels skyrocketing globally. We’ll continue to communicate with the broad South African Jewish community through our community briefings, which this week will focus on expert advice for how to deal with the challenges we’re facing as a community. The briefing includes input from the Community Security Organisation (CSO) on security.

During times of heightened emotion, social media invariably becomes a place of hate and incitement. Confronting cyberhate and social media engagement is therefore a critical area where our responses need to be appropriately considered. It’s important to respond with reasoned, factually sound arguments without becoming aggressive or abusive. Should you experience antisemitism or threats online, screen shot them immediately and send them to and report them to the relevant social media host. You don’t have to put up with objectionable, offensive, or hateful social media content. Block the bigots, haters, and idiots who troll deliberately to upset and enrage.

How we respond to what appears in the mainstream media is another area that our briefing addresses. Our media department has extensive experience in engaging with media houses to address biased and incorrect reporting, and we’re working tirelessly to ensure that our voices are heard. Where there’s a case to be made that any media house has transgressed the press code, we’ll take it up, but we have to give these processes time to take their course.

Though we’re thankful for not seeing the kind of violent attacks that have become commonplace in other parts of the world, our community has experienced a sharp increase in antisemitic activity. Anyone who has experienced or is aware of threats, verbal abuse online or offline, in graffiti, comments in the workplace, or on university campuses, report it to We’ll assist you to assess the incident and propose the best way forward. If you experience violent antisemitism or if you believe there’s a credible threat of violence, call the CSO 24-hour hotline immediately on 0861 800 018.

At this time of great anguish for global Jewry, South African Jewry has in addition been confronted with a lack of understanding by our own government of how the Jewish community has been affected by these events, along with continued blinkered anti-Israel bias. As you will have seen in the media, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies is taking an unequivocal stance against this. To keep updated on all our media statements, comments, and interviews, visit our website and our social media.

  • Listen to Charisse Zeifert on Jewish Board Talk, 101.9 ChaiFM, every Friday from 12:00 to 13:00.

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