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EFF wishes SA Jews ‘Good Yom Tov’

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JORDAN MOSHE

The wishes were shared in a tweet, reading, “EFF expresses warm wishes to the Jewish community on the Jewish High Holy festivals. Happy Rosh Hashanah.”

On 23 August, Malema claimed that Jews were training right-wing extremists to become snipers to kill blacks over land. In a private subsequent meeting with Zev Krengel, the Vice-President of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), the politician insisted that he did not mean any harm to the community. He accepted it was a lone, maverick Israeli who was involved in training.

The EFF’s Yom Tov message inspired an array of responses on Twitter. According to one user, the belief that the EFF takes issue with Jews is completely unfounded. “People don’t understand that the EFF is not against Jews or Jewish religion,” it said, “but against those that use the religion for their narrow self-interests at the expense of other religions or groups.” Another wrote, “I deeply appreciate and thank you sincerely for your warm wishes for Rosh Hashanah.”

Others were more sceptical, with one user commenting that the “EFF will say and do anything just to stay relevant”, another saying that the “EFF is just doing this for the sake of it”, and another posting a picture of a flip-flop, suggesting lack of consistency on its part.

Others were more scathing, with comments such as, “This is another sign of a sell out by our most trusted Pan-Africanist movement. Like, really now, do u have the guts to send warm wishes. That is nonsense.” Another wrote, “Probably got some money, so has changed his mind again.”

Malema’s efforts to differentiate between Jews and Israelis, and by extension religion and politics, in both his comments and the EFF’s tweet were evidently lost on some users. The tendency to conflate the two was evident in many responses, including one which read “Aaaaaam so confused right now… are we not supporting Palestina anymore?” and another saying, “Guys this [sic] are not the original Jews they are fakes the synagogue of Satan, they are Jewish by convection not blood.”

Still, the gesture was appreciated. According to Krengel, the tweet was discussed during the course of his earlier meeting with Malema, and was felt to be an appropriate way of making good on the politician’s remarks. “I discussed it with him, and suggested that a message like this may be a good idea,” said Krengel. “I’m sure he would’ve considered this option even if we had not discussed it. He was very open to the idea, and significantly chose to offer the wishes through the EFF’s account and not his personal one.”

Krengel went on to explain that the EFF was, in fact, the first political party to extend such wishes, but was eventually followed by the Democratic Alliance, and subsequently, the ANC, the latter wishing Muslim and Jewish communities well over their respective holidays.

“The community needs to take this message at face value, and appreciate where it is coming from,” he said. “I promise you that [UK Labour Party leader Jeremy] Corbyn did not send out such a message to the Jews of London before Yom Tov. It is significant because it shows that the greater community of South Africa recognises the importance of these days. This is something the local Jewish community should take to heart.”

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Russell Fig

    Oct 17, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    ‘It is surprising to see that Julieus woud give us credit for anything with his anti White Statements. Let’s hope that given enought time that he will stop being a racist. ‘

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