Jewish man may be behind antisemitic posts
In a shocking turn of events, antisemitic posts written on a fake Facebook profile are believed to have been written by a member of the Cape Town Jewish community.
According to an affidavit made at the Sea Point Police Station on 1 February 2022 by Capetonian Peter Flentov, “someone created a fraudulent profile in my name” and then “posted two antisemitic posts in an attempt to make me appear to be antisemitic, impair my dignity, and damage my reputation and standing in the community.”
He said he had reason to believe the fake profile and antisemitic posts were written by a prominent Cape Town Jewish professional. The SA Jewish Report cannot name the Jewish man at this point.
The first antisemitic post, written on 5 January 2022, says, “I have to say that many or most Jews on the Atlantic Seaboard act as if they are really rich and privileged – and they echo this on other fb [Facebook] groups.
“I find it in poor taste and ironic since are they not meant to have suffered under ‘the Holocaust’ – and if that’s the case, they should show compassion to homeless people living around Clifton, Camps Bay, and Sea Point.
“I mean, with their wealth and power, they should put their heads together to raise funds to help these people. Have they forgotten their history?”
The second post talks about South African Jewry’s response to apartheid, and says, “It’s no wonder that the Jews of the Atlantic Seaboard now feel shameful. If you look closely, the office bearers of the main NGOs [nongovernmental organisations] who operate in our area are, in fact, Jewish. The question is, does this late attempt at altruism absolve them in any way from their lacklustre political attitudes of the apartheid years?”
Flentov repeatedly tried to get Facebook to delete the fake profile, but it was deleted only this week after local newspaper, The Sunday Times, wrote to the social media company about it.
In his affidavit, Flentov describes a toxic and vicious feud among people on Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard, centering on the response to homeless people. He names two members of the Cape Town Jewish community [including the Jewish man in question] as leading a relentless campaign against those who disagree with them.
According to Flentov, it began on 20 February 2020 when he “reported that a Green Point resident had slashed the tyres of his neighbour’s car”. Flentov wrote about this on two community chat groups, but didn’t name the suspect.
“Later that day, [the Jewish man] was arrested on a charge of malicious damage to property based on a case opened with SAPS [South African Police Services] Sea Point by the owner of the car,” the affidavit said. “On 21 February 2020, after [the Jewish man] was released, he published a lengthy post in which he stated that he was the person who had been arrested for slashing his neighbour’s tyres. He then started an ongoing campaign of online harassment against me in which he has, at times, enlisted the help of others.”
Flentov’s affidavit says the Jewish man told a third party that he would “do everything in my power to bring him [Flentov] down, to make him regret that he started with me”. The affidavit also describes many other fake Facebook profiles and community groups that have been utilised by the Jewish man and his supporters in the feud. It also notes that the fake profile describes Flentov as living in Boston, which Flentov did do for a number of years. “It’s not something that’s generally known. It is, however, something that [the Jewish man] has knowledge of.”
Regarding the fake profile and antisemitic post, Flentov said in the affidavit, “This was a blatant attempt to steal my identity in order to commit fraud. These [antisemitic] posts contain statements that characterise Jews in antisemitic terms and suggest that I’m a Holocaust-denier. I’m shocked and deeply offended by the comments made in my name. The antisemitic posts are degrading and harmful to my esteem and dignity. I believe we’re all part of the same humanity and that every person deserves to be treated as an equal and with dignity. I vehemently oppose all forms of ethnic stereotyping and discrimination. The two antisemitic posts unlawfully made in my name are an act of crimen injuria in that they intentionally and seriously impair my dignity.”
He said he believed the Jewish man planned to post more comments to make Flentov look antisemitic, but the page was shut down. “Instead, he posted comments on a post I made that disclosed the fraudulent profile. He publicly called me an antisemite, a Jew-baiter, and a Holocaust-denier, and claimed that I was ‘no friend of the Jewish people’. He further attempted to impair my dignity by trying to link me to actions that my mother was allegedly involved in during World War II.”
The SA Jewish Report contacted the accused Jewish man, who chose not to respond to the allegations that he had created the Facebook profile and written the antisemitic posts. However, he did share numerous items that he said proved Flentov was antisemitic. It’s unclear if these items are real. The Jewish man also shared his own social media comments in which he emphasised that the antisemitic posts on the fake Flentov profile were antisemitic. He insisted that the fake profile was real, even after it had been deleted.
Cape South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) Executive Director Daniel Bloch says, “Peter Flentov informed the Cape SAJBD of a fake Facebook profile made in his name due to the antisemitic nature of the posts published on this account. After investigating the matter further, we chose not to pursue legal action, and advised Mr Flentov to report the profile to Facebook so it could be removed.
“The Cape SAJBD acts to protect and advance the rights, status, and welfare of the Western Cape Jewish community,” he said. “We work tirelessly to fight hatred in order to combat a culture of racism, antisemitism, and prejudice online. We advocate that our Western Cape Jewish community take up the challenge of becoming practitioners of careful, thoughtful, and deliberate positive communication, that we don’t fall for the ease of speaking without thinking, and that we practice engaged listening and connect with one another meaningfully in spite of our differences. We’re still in contact with Mr Flentov and continue to monitor the situation.”