Sifrin’s negativity towards Israel

  • Letter3
Sifrin’s negativity towards Israel has no place in Jewish Report I would like to fully endorse the words of Jack Miller in his letter regarding his criticism of Geoff Sifrin's Taking Issue column in last week's issue of Jewish Report.
by Miriam Davidowitz, Johannesburg | Feb 09, 2017

I would like to add that week after week Sifrin makes statements about Israeli policies which consist of blatant untruths which are both obscene and odious in the context.

Last week it was, as Miller pointed out, about Israeli settlement construction on "Palestinian" land. The previous week it was about "West Bank" settlers.

Sifrin should know that hundreds of thousands of Israelis reside in the biblical heartland of Judea and Shomron. Many of these have sacrificed their very lives to defend the entire Land of Israel. Is this the West Bank Sifrin refers to? Is this (stolen) Palestinian land?

In the past Sifrin has written many articles negatively criticising the Israeli government’s stance on the Arab-Israeli conflict. While he is entitled to express his opinions as he understands the issues, I find it hurtful and offensive when his opinions are in my view outright obscene.

Last year he suggested that it would be a good idea to release the arch-terrorist leader of the PLO, Marwan Barghouti who is presently serving five consecutive life terms in an Israeli prison. Barghouti is in jail for being the master mind in the murder of multiple Israelis.

Sifrin would like to see him freed for the purpose of meeting Israeli leaders to discuss peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Anyone with pure emotions would feel literally sick to their stomachs at such a suggestion.

It is regrettable that a highly respected Jewish newspaper, the only Jewish weekly published in South Africa, should allow its leading and popular columnist to write weekly articles with opinions such as those mentioned above, and many more, which contain blatant untruths, and more importantly are distortions of our Torah.

Such untruths about Israel are read and believed by our gentile hosts and have a negative effect on the Jewish community as a whole.



The SA Jewish Report goes out of its way to include as many opinions as possible. - ed


  1. 4 nat cheiman 09 Feb
    Many comments relating to this article were not posted. 
    My view is that expedience triumphed over impatiality.
    Clearly this is media at its worst.
    I see no reason for a protectionist stance and in shielding Geoff Sifrin from criticism .
    Perhaps Donald Trump is right about the media
    Sorry to dispel your conspiracy theory, user, but nothing so sinister exists. A new editor taking over a very important but tiny newsroom, with only two permanent staffers, is the reason for the delay.   -MODERATOR
  2. 3 Dov Randel 12 Feb
    I am totally for Geoff Syfrin,  he was an excellent  editor and now opinion piece writer. Geoff sees the  situation with a realistic eye.  
  3. 2 Choni 13 Feb
    Dear Editor,
                         While I understand that you go out of your way to print as many opinions as possible, I believe that since this is a Jewish publication there should be a bench-mark as to what constitutes a valid opinion.
    This benchmark can only be our holy Bible (written and oral) the Tanach.
    Ant Katz wisely wrote that he was brought up to believe that nobody should question our Torah. In Judaism everything is based on Torah, even events which seem far away from our religion.
    Thus in my opinion any opinion which openly violates our Torah should be ignored. Ours is a JEWISH publication and opinions based on distortions of Torah are worthless and harmful, and should be ignored.
    Choni, you are correct in quoting me as having said that. You are not, on the other hand, in that you quote it out of context. Of course nobody should question Torah. But there is a huge difference between questioning and interpretation. For as long as there has been a Hebrew people, the People of the Bible, we Jews have sat around and engaged on interpretation. The Hebrew people and their Torah will always be - and their hunger and thirst for knowledge, their engaging on the interpretation, will always be. When I wrote that many moons ago, it was in response to your (continuing) belief that your interpretation is the only one that is correct. Once, you subscribed to the Lubavitch interpretation, today you do not. The SA community is built on a foundation of modern Orthodox 'Litvaks' - many of them, too, came to this country as follows of one Rebbe or another. To suggest that I subscribe to your narrow and intolerant view that everyone should believe in "my way or the highway" is disingenuous. We are a people of learning, many spend their whole life studying Torah. Why? We are a people of tolerance. It has allowed us to endure. It is unfair to take something out of context to try and prove your point. I admire your tenacity, but not your bigotry. Please do not try to use me to justify that.    - ANT KATZ, Online Editor
  4. 1 natcheiman 17 Feb
    You have not eliminated any theory, let alone a conspiracy theory.
    No comments were posted last week on any of the articles.
    I am beginning to think negatively about earnestness of the newsroom 
    ​Please, Nat, we told you last week we have a new editor who is doing a fantastic job in an organisation with very limited resources. Give her a chance.   -ED


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