The Jewish Report Editorial

We will never ‘get over it’!

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When our intrepid journalist, Nicola Miltz, investigated the Northcliff swastika flag flying, she eventually spoke to a man who told her to “get over it”. He was referring to our reaction to a Nazi flag flying in suburban Johannesburg.
by PETA KROST MAUNDER | Jul 27, 2017

He then went on to tell her he even had “Jewish relatives”. As if that explained it all. It is a bit like “some of my best friends are black, so how can I be racist?” I guess he thought that by saying that, it meant he understood the implications to Jewish people of a Nazi flag.

There is nothing he could actually say that could take away the sting of “get over it!” How do you get over six million people being put to death?

The point is that we will never “get over it” and allow people to flagrantly wave the Nazi flag or the Holocaust in our faces without stopping it. We have to - lest it happens again.

As Jews, we practise “forgiving, but not forgetting”. I am not sure we always get it right, which is why I believe we keep practising it. 

To me, this attitude makes sense, because forgiveness is not about letting the Nazis or other racists off the hook. No, it is about learning to heal ourselves and let go of the anger and hatred that we feel or felt towards the perpetrators. It is about letting the festering sore of hatred - which would otherwise make us all ill because of the enormity of the crimes - disperse and go.

But as we let it go, we don’t “get over it”, letting others perpetrate those same crimes, or putting the memory of the Holocaust behind us.

In fact, in most big cities around the world, we have Holocaust centres that we use to raise awareness of the evils of the Holocaust and other genocide. These centres - much like our own Holocaust and Genocide Centres in Parktown, Durban and Cape Town - serve as constant reminders and memorials to the six million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust.

These centres also raise awareness of other prejudices, racism, xenophobia, homophobia and teaching about the dangers of allowing such behaviour to go unchecked.

I am reminded of a perfect analogy between Israel and South Africa that our outgoing Israeli Ambassador Arthur Lenk - a wise and astute diplomat - said in the interview with Howard Sackstein that we published in this edition.

He said that both countries are born out of tragedy, the Holocaust for Israel and apartheid for South Africa. He maintains that one of Israel’s greatest successes was being able to look forward and build a country after the Holocaust. He spoke of having to honour your history, celebrate you heroes without limiting your engagement by looking backwards…

As Jews we do our best, but in South Africa, it seems that forgiveness for the racism of apartheid is not an easy feat. It takes the letting go of racism and an opening of communication on what people experienced, to get started on that track.

 Those affected by apartheid will never “get over it” - and they have every right not to. But to start forgiving, we need to step past the engendering of racial hatred. This isn’t happening as it needs to, thanks partly to organisations and people like the Gupta’s former PR company, Bell Pottinger, who stoked racial hatred to cover the corrupt Gupta tracks.

Amazingly, they used an old Nazi trick called “setting up the strawman”. The strawman they set up was so-called “white monopoly capital” and while public attention was on this, the Guptas and their high-powered cronies could carry on doing their dastardly deeds in the background. 

Racial hatred must never triumph again. By not getting over it, I hope we will ensure it is never allowed to happen again - to us or any other group. 

Shabbat Shalom!



1 Comment

  1. 1 Gary Selikow 28 Jul
    I agree the Nazi flag is genocidal and offensive and I think the 'Palestinian' flag is equally so Also a symbol we should not tolerate.
    Just like BDS is hate movement genocidal in intent.


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