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Users continue to post dozens of new comments on this website almost every day. Sometimes this stream of user-posted content suddenly turns into a torrent – usually driven by the hot-button issues and emotions of the day – and then the hard work starts as SAJR Online, where moderators peruse every single comment posted – and escalate them to senior staffers if they are too hot to handle.

Comments critical of the publication are almost always published. Anti-Semitic and Islamophobic comments are never – they are immediately deleted – as is any bigotry, racism or hate speech.

SAJR CommentsExamples include: Radical student urges more empathetic community A pony-tailed Jewish revolutionary at Wits tore up posters, swore at students and clashed with police. Steven Gruzd’s account of Mitchel Joffe Hunter has garnered seven comments to date.

Will Israel downgrade ties with Senegal, NZ…? Has also had seven comments as a spat is developing over whether Israel should also break diplomatic ties with SA.

However, JR Online tries to project as broad a spectrum of opinion as possible and so even allows BDS posts on (what they believe to be) fair comment – and if it doesn’t specifically contravene the website’s rules – we allow it as we believe our users are interested in seeing what they say.

Comments that were blocked this week

Examples of two comments that were blocked this week for outrageous and illegal anti-Semitic comments on older posts:

Meet an inexcusable human being is a story of how a Fred Fischer of Keren Hayesod in Munich discovered something on the Facebook page Spotlighting SA, did some research and, essentially, had a teacher in KZN fired for teaching his charges to hate Jews and promoting the killing of Israelis. It has had nine comments allowed since publication, and probably 20 not allowed through by our moderators, including one particularly sick anti-Semitic one this week; and

Jews are monsters to be exterminated about the SAJBD laying a hate speech complaint with HRC after PE lawyer Maureen Jansen’s Facebook rant. “Such hate-mongering goes beyond defaming and threatening any particular group of people; they go against the culture of non-racialism on which our democracy is founded, and as such are an attack on all South Africans” said SAJBD national chairman, Jeff Katz. Only six of the many comments have been deemed fit for publication. (Aside: the Board said this week that they expected this matter will be arbitrated on at the SAHRC soon)


Roro- scarf


Don’t be shy – have your say too…

Because users like to read what their fellow-users say, JR Online always displays how many comments there are relating to any story we publish – in the teaser section. The most recent of these teasers, indicating where the most Chirps are, can be found on our HOME PAGE – or older ones can be found by going to the main tab for LATEST stories that will, eventually, wind the clock back to every one of the 21,509 content items JR Online has published since October 2013.


LEFT: A pointer that appears on the teaser of every story ever published by JR Online to see what the hot-button issues of the day, or days gone buy, are


User comments can become a self-perpetuating situation.

For example, when a user sees a story has 10 or more comments posted to it, they are more likely to read the story – and see what fellow-users have had to say.

Of course, all comments are moderated before being published. Over the past week numerous comments have had to be deleted or sections of them expunged as they were considered unsuitable or illegal.

This is most often because they contain anti-Semitic or other racism, hate speech, or are users trolling (a frequent problem with comments on websites whereby the comment is not constructive, often unrelated to the topic and used as an excuse by the commentator to push their own agenda or attack the writer).

Some interesting posts this week

In many cases, only the latest post may have been made this week, and the stories themselves may hark back to older times:

I have come full circle was a self-introductory piece by the new editor of SA Jewish Report, Peta Krost Maunder, on 9 February. It has had ten welcoming posts – add to them if you like what Peta’s doing. In fact, anyone who has seen her first two editions (third one out this week) MUST like what she’s doing. The accolades are pouring in – to staffers, directors and on the website. “My career all started on Jewish newspapers,” writes Peta, and then took her on a tangent via mainstream print media, then onto television and finally working on magazines and other media. Now, she is back! A full circle indeed.

Africa’s ‘lost tribe’ of Jews in a pickle is another golden oldie that is regularly read and enjoyed its ninth comment this week. The story itself is about how the AJC was hopping mad as Rabbi Riskin inadvertently created a humanitarian crisis in Africa.

Israel offers consular services in Cape Townalso an oldie which keeps getting read month after month – likely as a result of Google searches for “Israel offers consular services Cape Town” and, again, had its own ninth comment posted this week.

King of controversy, consistently… 

Columnist Geoff Sifrin’s well-read weekly “Taking Issue” piece is always fraught with issues that get users’ backs up.

Some recent examples include:

  • Titan clash: Judges head to head with corruptors, ideologues which has seen five user comments – of which three were expunged for being deemed trolling and earned the commentator, Choni Davidowitz, a scolding by the online editor. Regular users will know that the need to keep Choni and numerous other commentators in the bounds of our rules are regular events.
  • Geoff Sifrin leaderpic“We live in our own little underworld down here, in our ‘below-the-line’ world,” wrote user Adam last night in the latest post on Titan clash: Judges head to head with corruptors, ideologues. This statement encapsulates everything that users who post comments regularly enjoy in JR Online’s highly interactive community platform where every content item can be commented on. 
  • Sifrin’s negativity towards Israel was a letter from Choni’s astute and charming wife, Miriam Davidowitz, that appeared on 9 February and has had four comments, three which earned scolding from moderators.
  • A blind eye in exchange for Israel support is risky was another recent column by Sifrin, a past, long-serving editor of the Report, on “Donald Trump’s controversial presidency” wrote Geoff, saying that it had caused a “general anxiety about the rise of nationalistic demagogues” among SA JEWRY. That post has earned Geoff eight comments to date, one of them from BDS-SA.
  • Risky politics: Bibi flatters pit bull Trump was the title of Geoff Sifrin’s 26 January Taking Issue column and that has seen eleven comments to date – as pro- and anti-Trump users argue not just with Sifrin, but with each other. This was a fabulous read – check it out, read the comments and feel free to have your own say as well.
  • Trump’s sledgehammer makes a villain of everyone appeared the following week and users have left five comments to date. “Wherever they live, most Jews have family memories of forebears arriving in a new country as immigrants or refugees after escaping from places such as Nazi Germany or Eastern Europe where they would be killed or persecuted if they stayed,” wrote Geoff.

Here are some of the more interesting tête-à-têtes currently being tussled over by our users:

Meet the Jews in Donald Trump’s administration drew four comments so far, mainly targeting one single member of the Trump ‘Jewdiciary’ – can you guess who? “American Jews are watching the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency with both fear and hope,” wrote the author.

Talking tachlis, a Q&A with Prof Adam Habib also has four comments so far. Jewish Report asked Professor Adam Habib, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of SA’s largest university, Wits, some very tough questions. His answers were surprisingly frank.

Hair today, what will tomorrow bring… – another story with four comments to date, was the cover story of last week’s print edition of the newspaper, about Jewish schoolboys who have stood up for what they believe to be equal gender rights around the country over the past year.

This will open your eyes to Torah Law Also with four comments, this is a ‘dumbed down’ authorised and abridged version of Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein’s prestigious Hildesheimer Lecture at the Law School of Humboldt University in Berlin last month. Goldstein based his address on his doctoral thesis which looks at human rights from the perspective of Jewish law – updated for the world we live in now!

Haley: I’ll never abstain from anti-Israel resolutions Yet again carrying four comments, the story and video of Trump’s new USA  ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, assured the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee at her confirmation hearing that she would always have Israel’s back and never refrain from using her veto power.

The conversations can get quite heated –
but somehow tend to remain light-hearted

SAJR Online adheres very strictly to its protocols, privacy policies and the like which can be found all neatly packaged in the LEGALS section. One of the most important to us, is the COMMENT GUIDELINES – which apply equally to all – and differently for all known users vs. anonymous users.

So, users, check what your fellow-users have to say – and feel free to egg them on or rattle their cages. Relax, sip your tea and Chirp away!

But remember not to get too naughty, because you still need to get past our moderators before your comments are published.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Choni

    Feb 22, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    ‘Thanks for the complimentary comment of my \”charming and astute\” wife of 60 years. Much appreciated.’

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