Jews can’t be silent for fear of government
The article by Ant Katz on “Jewish outrage over al-Bashir” and Geoff Sifrin’s column in last week’s Jewish Report, “Does being African mean choosing al-Bashir as our friend?” are both intellectually stimulating and are careful examinations of the morality issues facing our government, which seem to negatively affect the Jewish community in South Africa.
At the outset it must be said that the refusal of countries like the US, Russia and China to sign the Rome Statute, is an indication of those countries’ honesty and integrity towards non-compliance with controversial laws that have international ramifications.
The difference between those countries’ attitudes and South Africa’s, is that we willingly signed up to conform and abide by the Rome Statute and we reneged on our obligations.
That said, the question posed by Sifrin, requires an equitable answer which reflects integrity.
We Jews (and other whites in this country) are South African. We are not African. In fact most Jews here are of Eastern European descent.
It is true that we have learned much from the Holocaust and oppose all genocides. Africa and Africans, though, have seemingly not learned from it as is evidenced by the savagery and barbaric internecine bloodshed that has plagued much of the continent for centuries.
Africa seeks to blame everyone for its ills and even Archbishop-Emeritus Desmond Tutu reflected on the issue and laid the blame on “powerful nations which have created a rationale for the SA government to allow al-Bashir into the country, despite the international warrant of arrest hanging over his head”. This demonstrates that Africa and Africans refuse to take the blame.
Africa has never – and still – refuses to take responsibility for its obligations and failures. Instead it continues to blame colonialists, imperialists, the Western world, Jews and in many cases whites for its ailments.
Even in America, we have examples of African Americans like Reverend Jesse Jackson, who (in 1984) referred to “Hymietown” – a slanderous reference to a suburb where many Jews live.
Louis Farrakhan, an Islamic preacher and Professor Louis Jefferies (of the City University of New York), are other example of black Americans who blame the Jews for all the problems afflicting black people.
The failure by our government to detain and arrest al-Bashir, is not only shocking but shows the hypocrisy of our politicians in the ANC (and government) in their condemnation of Israel for alleged human rights violations.
Indeed, I recall that a few years ago threats were made to arrest Israeli politician Tzipi Livni as a war criminal, when she was to visit South Africa. As a result, her visit was cancelled.
The ANC has shown itself not to be pro-Israel, notwithstanding that many Jews formed part of their struggle for freedom.
We as Jews cannot be silent for fear of antagonising the government. Winston Churchill said: “An appeaser is one that feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”