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Ex-SAUJS leader fights antisemitism in UK workplace

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South African lawyer Jaden Cramer, 30, has made it his mission to help Jews persecuted at work in the United Kingdom (UK) since the 7 October massacre in Israel. And for this, he has been invited to the House of Lords to be acknowledged for his contribution.

Cramer, who now lives in the UK, dealt with the case of a company director who shared multiple antisemitic and pro-Palestinian posts on LinkedIn and directly to company clients. The director did this in the full knowledge that the chief executive, the other two directors, and some clients were Jewish. Cramer assisted the chief executive to exit said director of the company while working to protect the company’s rights and reputation.

In another case, an individual worked alongside colleagues who posted vehemently antisemitic propaganda on X and other platforms to the point where the worker felt unsafe to attend the office.

There are also cases in which Jewish employees have received content released by human resources and diversity, equity, and inclusion teams that is biased, untruthful, and makes them feel targeted or scared to say anything different. Cramer has drafted grievances and communication emphasising the duty of care and need to provide a safe working environment.

“Especially in the employment context, there’s a complete power imbalance between the big company and the small employee, and you can often feel lost,” said Cramer, the founder of Singularity LPO, a legal process outsourcing company where he employs or contracts South African lawyers to do work in the UK. “Addressing this power imbalance is part of what I do day to day as I engage with companies on behalf of employees and employees on behalf of companies.”

Cramer, who served as national director and then national political officer of the South African Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS) between 2014 and 2017, aims to help British Jews working in companies where they feel they are being discriminated against in light of the war in the Middle East and resulting rise in antisemitism.

Through his advocacy, Cramer was connected to the Blue and White Club in the UK, the young professional division of international non-profit Israel education organisation StandWithUs UK.

After 7 October, with the help of Cramer, the club compiled a workers’ guide explaining employee rights especially around discrimination, and clarifying what can and can’t be done and said.

“From there, it developed into a subcommittee where I would be fed people who approached the Blue and White Club with these kinds of workplace issues,” Cramer said. “I’ve helped young Jewish professionals by providing advice, legal and factual information, and counsel during the toughest times post 7 October so they could hold their ground where they felt Jews were being marginalised.” There have also been instances, he said, of threats to personal safety and criminal law infringements. As an employment lawyer, Cramer has referred such cases to UK Lawyers for Israel, an association of lawyers who support Israel.

Cramer’s deep connection to Israel was sparked when, as a teenager, he travelled to Poland and Israel on the March of the Living tour. In Grade 10 at King David High School Linksfield at the time, Cramer became increasingly involved with Israel advocacy from that point on. After matriculating in 2011, he lived in Israel for seven months where he completed a kibbutz ulpan.

Subsequently completing his BCom LLB degree at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), he became UJ treasurer then the UJ chairperson of SAUJS, later serving as national director and national political officer, attending numerous international conferences.

“There was always a strong anti-Israel sentiment on campus in South Africa,” he said, “and the false narrative of apartheid Israel was always an emotional buzzword that was particularly relevant in any discourse in the country.

“I was on campus for five Israeli Apartheid Weeks and experienced everything from shouting, swearing, and tearing down posters, to outright antisemitism with slogans like, ‘Shoot the Jew’ to physical altercations. Coping with anti-Israel or antisemitic hate hasn’t been difficult as I believe in holding the moral high ground and simply fighting the facts and looking for solutions, encouraging peace and dialogue.”

Cramer feels strongly about helping Jewish employees tackle discrimination, especially in the lingering stress and trauma that came after 7 October. “It’s hard for people to express their distress or discomfort in a way that makes sense and that’s also legally correct,” Cramer said. “It’s a weird feeling to sit there at your desk, living your normal life, when you know that for a lot of people, life will never be the same again.”

In acknowledgement of his work through the Blue and White Club, Cramer was invited to the Emerson Fellowship Graduation Ceremony at the House of Lords. The Emerson Fellowship, the flagship international programme run by StandWithUs UK, puts students through a rigorous pro-Israel advocacy training course on university campuses.

“At the graduation, the new generation of Israel advocates are welcomed into the fold,” Cramer said. Cramer is proud to be part of the current guard, who serve as inspiration for those aspiring to a life of Israel advocacy.

“There’s this community of people who share the idea that we should all be able to stand up for Israel, that Israel is a beacon of light within the Middle East,” Cramer said. “Often, it feels like a very lonely task, like you’re surrounded by hate and you’re the only one who’s seeing sense. Even from within the community, there’s so many different views, and you can often feel like it’s a losing battle.”

That’s why bringing together successful Israel advocates who are also highly regarded professionals and those who aspire to follow their example is so important. “It’s so that the new generation, especially can see that there’s a safe place for them to express their views and be protected,” said Cramer. “They see that you can still hold these views and succeed. You’re not alone.”

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