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Unions claim ‘the Rothschilds’ control state-owned enterprises

  • saa protest
Unions protesting against the resignation of South African Airways (SAA) Chief Executive Vuyani Jarana are threatening to shut down the aviation industry in South Africa if their demands aren’t met.
by TALI FEINBERG | Jun 20, 2019

A large part of these demands relate to “the Rothschilds” – a term implying the wealthy international banking Jewish family – who they say are controlling state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and the South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) have demanded that SAA board members Geoffrey Rothschild, Thandeka Mogoduso, Martin Kingston, and Peter Tshisevhe be dismissed, and that Jarana be reinstated.

Rothschild has no ties to the Rothschild banking family. Fellow board member, Kingston, is executive chair of Rothschild & Co in South Africa, and was previously its chief executive.

While this firm does belong to the renowned Rothschild family, Kingston is not Jewish and not related to them. But it seems that Rothschild’s surname and Kingston’s day job are enough to convince the unions that SOEs have somehow been influenced by wealthy Jews.

The Rothschilds are a prominent banking family with origins in Germany, says Milton Shain, emeritus professor of history and an expert on anti-Semitism.

Five Rothschild sons presided over financial establishments in Frankfurt, London, Vienna, Paris, and Naples in the early 19 century. They played an important role in European commercial life, but were overtaken in time by larger banks.

Their success made them the embodiment of “Jewish international finance”, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about them have abounded ever since.

“The Rothschilds are tied into the idea of Jews embodying usury and money. With the growth of capitalism, this was a particularly toxic brew which would take its ultimate form in the conspiracy theory of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” says Shain.

In his book on the history of anti-Semitism, Shain gives another example of this kind of anti-Semitic thinking in South Africa. “In the 19th century, a Johannesburg correspondent, JA Hobson, wrote that ‘a ring of Jewish international financiers controlled the most valuable resources of the South African Republic’.” According to Shain, “Irrational beliefs about the Jews’ drive to ‘global domination’, ‘control’ of the economy, and the ‘corruption of morals’ can only be labelled as anti-Semitic.”

In their statement, the unions say, “We are more than convinced that the current minister of public enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, has a special relationship with the Rothschilds. This is because he clearly ensures that in all SOEs, they are appointed directly to serve on the boards or act as advisers and consultants in the shadows. The Rothschilds and their proxies are known globally for being advocates of privatisation – job security is not their priority.”

The statement went on to say that NUMSA had recently “confronted both the Eskom board and its group chief executive, Phakamani Hadebe, about correspondence from the Rothschilds which was leaked to the union advising Hadebe on how to privatise Eskom. We have no reason to believe that it is not true, and what is completely bad about this correspondence from the Rothschilds is that they were influencing, in a clandestine way, how they should be appointed to advise Eskom.”

“These statements smack of old-style anti-Semitism,” Shain says “The use of ‘proxies’ and ‘clandestine’ influence in the statement reinforces this. One would be naive not to think that this would not resonate with at least some readers.”

Says David Saks, the associate director of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, “We deplore this unfortunate slippage into irrational race-tinged conspiracy theorising on the part of NUMSA and SACCA. All representative organisations have a particular responsibility to avoid resorting to nonsensical and inflammatory rhetoric that can result only in further confusion and needless division.”

Rothschild was unable to comment.

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