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Voicing opinion on Israeli politics isn’t worth the vitriol it spawns

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Bennie Katzman is correct when he says that the South African Jewish community shouldn’t get involved in Israeli politics. (“Majority of Israelis support sovereignty over occupied territories”, SA Jewish Report, 3 July 3).
by Brian Josselowitz, Cape Town | Jul 09, 2020

Israel is a sovereign nation, and it’s entitled to do what it wants without interference from outsiders. By writing letters to the newspapers, whether you are for or against annexation, all you will do is stir up old hatreds. See what happened in the wake of the webinar hosted by the Jerusalem Post between Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and Chief Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein. Antisemitic letters and comment pieces flooded the newspapers, and Mogoeng’s remarks made headlines.

The now defunct BDS-SA’s (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions South Africa) “human-rights” movement – as one news report had it – has changed its name to #Africa4Palestine. However, it’s still led by Director Muhammed Desai, and it has, among other organisations, filed charges against the chief justice for voicing his Christian beliefs, and his support for Israel and unhappiness with the partisan view the African National Congress government has taken.

By changing its name, BDS-SA tacitly implies that it has failed in its mission to harm Israel. #Africa4Palestine will go the same way, even though it reportedly has the support of Naledi Pandor, the minister of international relations and cooperation, who asked the African Union to back #Africa4Palestine.

Until the Arabs give up their intransigence and come to the negotiating table, the two-state solution is a pipe dream. When will the Palestinians wake up and stop playing victim? Although the chief rabbi couldn’t have predicted the fall-out or even what the chief justice would say, I don’t think it was a good idea simply because of the hatred it spawned against Jews in South Africa.

I’m not suggesting that the webinar shouldn’t have taken place. I’m all for debate, but we’re witnessing the start of tyrannical rule from people who don’t like dissenting voices. It’s one step closer to the abyss if we voice our opinion on annexation. The hate letters will be worse than those that followed the webinar. 

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