S-Times to run SAFI's Hamas ad after all

  • Hamas ST advert
Last week, the Sunday Times refused to publish a full-page advert that had been booked and paid for by South African Friends of Israel (SAFI) – a SA Zionist Federation initiative to engage the broader South African community. This week, South Africa’s top-selling weekly newspaper - with over 3,5 million readers – flip-flopped and agreed to publish the advert this coming Sunday, albeit without the picture of a Hamas member.
by ANT KATZ | Nov 04, 2015

The advert is the first salvo in a major information campaign being launched by SAFI and targeted to reach tens of millions of South Africans to inform them on Hamas. After three days of trying to get an answer from the Sunday Times for their refusal at first and then a change of heart, Jewish Report finally received a response at print time on Wednesday.

“We received the advert very late last week and is common practice with adverts of this nature, needed to satisfy ourselves that it was within the bounds of the law,” said a spokesman for Times Media Group. “We have had cordial discussion subsequent with the advertiser and are waiting for revisions to the layout prior to final approval.”

In answering why the Times requested that the picture of the Hamas fighter be removed, their spokesman answered: “We have a responsibility as a corporate citizen to ensure that content that is published in our newspapers does not stoke racial tension and discord and have always reserved the right not to accept certain adverts.”

Professor Anton Harber, Caxton Professor of Journalism at Wits, told Jewish Report that “if the Sunday Times had good reason not to carry, or to withhold the advert, then we need to hear it. “At the moment, they are being vague and evasive. If they can’t give a good reason, it will look like they are just censoring opinions they are uncomfortable with - which would do grave damage to their image.”

The initial ban last Friday led to a communal e-mail being sent out on Saturday evening, headlined: “This is what the Sunday Times did not want SA to know about Hamas!” The mailer said that “on Friday afternoon at 15:00 the Sunday Times pulled the advert”. But on Tuesday morning a spokesman for SAFI, which also has a huge Christian Zionist support-base, told Jewish Report that the Times Media Group (owners of the Sunday Times) had informed them that the ad would run this weekend but without the photograph.

The intention of the advert, SA Zionist Federation National Chairman Ben Swartz told Jewish Report, had been to educate South Africans and members of the ruling party on who and what Hamas is.

But not everyone in the community believe the advert is a good idea. In his weekly “Taking Issue” column in Jewish Report this week, the paper’s former editor, Geoff Sifrin, comments that “The ad will be viewed as a crude attempt by the ‘Zionist lobby’ to discredit Palestinians fighting Israeli oppression, using Jewish money and influence,” and gives “Hamas massive, free publicity”.

SAFI has vowed to continue with all facets of their information campaign on Hamas. Swartz says: “People (in SA) don’t know how Hamas continues to murder.” The advert, which appears in this week’s edition of the Jewish Report, ends with the words: “We urge the ANC to act as a credible mediator for peace in the Middle East and not to embrace a violent Jihadist organisation by welcoming them into our midst.” And, say SAFI members, that is the message that needs to be portrayed - and they are determined that they will not be thwarted in their efforts. 

Read much more on this website...

Jewish Report’s editor, Vanessa Valkin contributes “The power of persistence” in which she points out that “the SA Jewish community has been aflutter these past few days about the Sunday Times decision to not run - and then a reversal to now run this coming weekend - a paid-for advertorial about Hamas. The insert, sponsored by a group called South African Friends of Israel, felt it had an absolute responsibility to tell as many South Africans as possible about how Hamas really operates.”

In his popular weekly op-ed, Geoff Sifrin takes a controversial explaining why he thinks that “Expensive ad against Hamas are a bad idea” and, as always, he makes some good points.

Craig Sacks writes a letter saying SA shouldn’t have ‘tunnel vision’ on Hamas while Avner Eliyahu Romm contributes “With friends like these we don’t need enemies”.
e updates to this story:



  1. 2 David Abel 05 Nov
    Bravo, SAZF! All the millions of true and loyal SA Jewish and Christian Zionists applaud and support your handling of this matter. Yashar Koach! 
  2. 1 abu mamzer 07 Nov
    The bandana on this beaut is the Al Qassam logo.


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