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No moral fibre or memory – ANC off a Cliff

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Radio and media personality Gareth Cliff says the Jewish community needs to recognise that the African National Congress (ANC) is as “unimportant as a drugged-up meth-head on the street shouting at you as you drive past”.

He was speaking at a Jewish Women’s Benevolent Society event at the Linksfield Shul Community Centre on 25 February.

“I stopped believing anything they [the ANC] said a long time ago,” he said. “I’m completely disinterested in what the ANC calls Hamas. Hamas has killed enough people to declare it a terrorist organisation. They [the ANC] can call it their best friend and it wouldn’t make a difference. They have lost all credibility. I don’t care what they say from now on. And neither should you.”

Cliff waxed lyrical on Israel, South Africa, and everything in between.

“I’ve had a long, interesting, and sometimes controversial career in the media. I’m not scared to say what I think. I know that there are many here who aren’t scared to say what they think. I’m proud of not shutting up about Israel,” Cliff said. “Every death threat is confirmation that I’m on the right side.

“Israel is doing just about the best job of creating the least amount of collateral damage that any army in human history has achieved,” said Cliff.

“We should justifiably be worried about the political right, the fascists, the Nazis,” Cliff said, “But now, we’re facing the kind of thing that I never thought we’d see again in my lifetime, but it’s coming from the left, and to pretend that that doesn’t serve you is kind of putting your head in the sand. None of those people who are gone – who were alive on 6 October – had the privilege of hiding in the sand.

“I don’t think being afraid is necessarily helpful,” Cliff said. “I do think that we’re at a stage now in history thanks to the explosion of digital media where we can have a pretty good barometer of what’s going on, and I don’t see most of my Jewish and non-Jewish friends who are on [Israel’s] side, I don’t see them hiding, I don’t see them being cowed into silence, and I don’t see them saying, ‘We’ll just sit this one out until we hear better.’

“I know that people are doing a lot of good work, and there are a lot of people who are apathetic because they think the Middle East is an ongoing thing and they don’t realise the significance of what happened on 7 October, and that’s dangerous too.

“Unfortunately for [my Christian friends], Jews are the vanguard of this fight, because don’t for a minute think that mad militant Islamists who have nothing but hatred and death on their minds will stop if they’ve taken out the Jews. Who do you think is next? The rest of us cannot just sit it out and wait and see what happens,” Cliff said.

“Hate of Israel is blatant antisemitism,” he said. “Antisemitism is the fountain from which all other kinds of bigotry come. They’ll hate you because you’re secular; they’ll hate you because you’re religious; they’ll hate you because you assimilate too well; they’ll hate you because you don’t assimilate enough; they’ll hate you because you’re successful; and then they’ll hate you because you’re not successful. This is the kind of hatred that goes beyond what most people seem to understand.

“It’s a great time to be in South Africa in spite of all the madness that you see around you. This could be our most important election since 1994. There’s an opportunity for all of us to make a big difference. If you haven’t realised that the governing party isn’t our friend, it has proven it now once and for all. There are shoots of hope, growth, and opportunity on the horizon, and it’s up to us to make the future of this country.

“We must remember that Twitter isn’t the real South Africa,” he said. “Most South Africans just want to live in peace. They want to be able to look after what’s theirs, put their kids in school, and have a kind of prospect for the future. And the kind of radical responses you get from the internet don’t resonate with the people in this country.

“Don’t expect the ANC to remember anything. [The ANC] can’t even remember who the president was before Mbeki. [The politicians] don’t care about history, they don’t care about character, they don’t care about what happened, they only care about the narrative.

“We used to have a lot of moral clout under Nelson Mandela. He was the kind of guy who could have Yasser Arafat at his inauguration. And most of us would have gone, ‘Well, it’s Nelson Mandela.’ We had moral capital to spend. We spent it all. Now we’re in moral debt.”

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