Subscribe to our Newsletter

click to dowload our latest edition


The Jewish Report Editorial

It’s a critical election, so vote!

Avatar photo



As we head toward one of the most essential elections we’ve ever held in this country, it’s time for us to consider who to vote for. This time around, there’s no slam dunk as to who will win and who will be the official opposition. There are many parties with potential, and many that are quite frightening for our community because of their stance on Zionists, which has become just another word for Jews.

That is, unless you’re an anti-Zionist Jew, which doesn’t make sense to me as it simply means being a Jew against your own people. I believe those who have chosen this path will eventually see that to others, they are useful idiots, serving an agenda in proving Israel haters aren’t antisemites because there are Jews – like them – who hate Israel. At the end of the day, the Nazis really didn’t care who you supported, if you were a Jew, you were a Jew.

I do understand that there are Jews who are afraid to voice their opinions because it will have an impact on how people see them. They may well find that when those people they were trying to impress turn on them, they realise that they might have been better served in standing up and being counted when they could.

That aside, the SA Jewish Report went to all the relevant political parties to ask them questions that pertain specifically to our community. We wanted to know where they stood on issues that really matter to us. For the rest, we could find answers in the national media.

It was an interesting endeavour, which I hope will help you make up your minds. I guess, the bottom line is who do we trust to take us forward in this country we love and call home?

While the African National Congress (ANC) had perfectly well written answers, which I believe many within the party stand by, I couldn’t vote for the ruling party because it has let us down on every level. I drive through Johannesburg dodging potholes. I have this year had to deal with water outages and believe that though there’s no loadshedding now, it will resume as soon as the elections are over. I say this because we also had no loadshedding when the BRICS conference was being held in Sandton and over the December holidays. But when the sun went down on the holidays and the conference, loadshedding was back with a vengeance. So, what’s changed? Nothing!

The ANC had everything it could to make this country work, but somehow, it couldn’t or just didn’t. So many of us looked to Cyril Ramaphosa as the man who would turn things around after the mess of corruption that his predecessor Jacob Zuma left. So much for that! Not only did he do nothing of the sort, he also stabbed the Jewish community in the back. I now think of him as “Brutus Ramaphosa”, who stabbed his best friend – as in the story of Julius Caesar – in the back. Et tu, Brute?

What was particularly interesting about this exercise of asking political parties questions that relate to us was that it’s clear that we have friends and people who do want our support in this country. The Patriotic Alliance, Freedom Front Plus, and African Christian Democratic Party were just some of those who made such an effort for us. Perhaps they aren’t the parties we may ordinarily vote for, however this is no ordinary election!

In the run-up to this week, I was sure that the one party that would make an effort to reiterate its long-established support of the Jewish community was the Democratic Alliance (DA). I have no idea about the numbers, but a large percentage of Jewish people have voted with this party for so long.

So, when I sent the questions to the person I was told to submit them to, I didn’t question that I would need space for the party’s responses. However, none were forthcoming. I badgered the guy, who told me that he had sent them to the national director of communications who was going to respond. The deadline came and went, and I heard nothing. Eventually, a week after deadline, I made contact with the communications director himself, who initially told me that I could find answers to all of my questions in the speeches that DA leader John Steenhuisen had given over time. I explained that the structure of this particular feature was for the parties to respond themselves in a question-and-answer format. He eventually WhatsApped me the answers contained in our pullout. I went back to him – the only party I made a real effort with because of our historical alliance – and he made it clear that he, and I take it the DA, wasn’t willing to show favouritism to our community. They couldn’t talk about rising antisemitism because they were against all racism. Our discussion was tense, and I eventually realised that I was going to get nothing more than I already had no matter how much I asked. I have to say, I was very disappointed.

Having said that, I’m not sure we can tar a political party by the behaviour of one person, albeit its national communications director. However, it has made me rethink who I’ll be voting for, that’s for sure.

The biggest deal isn’t who you choose to vote for, but that you vote. If you believe that Songezo Zibi and Rise Mzansi have the same values as you, in spite of a couple of antisemitic people on their list, rather vote for them than not vote at all.

When people say they don’t think they’ll vote because their vote doesn’t count, or there’s no party they feel will serve them, that is unacceptable. Suffice to say that South Africans died and went through hell in order to have the right to vote. So it’s incumbent on us all to vote.

And voting for a small party, which might just get one seat in Parliament is better than nothing. We need to remember that from 1961 to 1974, Helen Suzman was the lone anti-apartheid voice in Parliament. And what a voice it was! That solitary voice did so much brilliant work in those years within Parliament. So, don’t dismiss voting for small parties. Having said that, do your homework, and vote wisely. You have less than three weeks

Shabbat Shalom!

Peta Krost


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *