The Jewish Report Editorial

Don’t force us to turn on Israel!

  • Peta low
I keep wishing this week had been a bad dream rather than reality for the South African Jewish community, and that we would wake up and everything that has been said and done in the wake of the Gaza border killings was erased.
by PETA KROST MAUNDER | May 17, 2018

But even if that were to happen, the underlying sentiments towards us and the Jewish State would still be there.

The facts are that 60 Palestinians died on the border between Gaza and Israel and 2 700 people were injured at the hands of Israeli soldiers. Those people were among tens of thousands who were trying to break down the fence into Israel with the express purpose of harming Israeli citizens. That too is a fact, as is Israeli soldiers using live ammunition against these people.

Was Israel right or wrong? Were the Palestinians innocent victims? Should Israel have been defending its border with live ammunition? There are many questions that Israel, Hamas and others have answered.

What do I think? Frankly, it is irrelevant. I am sitting on the southern tip of Africa and I wasn’t there.

However, our government and the ruling party have more than made up their minds that Israel is so bad, they are likening it to the Nazis.

“We watch in complete disbelief as a people, who continuously remind us all about the hate and prejudice Jews went through during Hitler’s anti-Semitism reign, will exhibit the same cruelty less than a century later.” This is a quote from an ANC statement this week. We Jews, not specifically Israelis, are compared to Nazis.

The statement then goes on to demand that South African Jews must “stand up and reject Israeli oppression of Palestinians”.

So, we are being ordered to take sides with Boycott Divestment and Sanctions SA, Hamas and other terror organisations against the Jewish State. This same State, might I add, that was created so that Jews would have a homeland after centuries of persecution and a Holocaust, when six million of us were murdered by the Nazis.

The statement then calls all South Africans to “demonstrate to the world that we regard the Israeli government and its armed forces as an outcast and a blight on humanity”.

Now, they are ordering us to turn our backs on Israel as a “blight on humanity”.

This is the same party that calls for unity in diversity and has one of the most inclusive constitutions in the world. This is the same party that offered us freedom of association, freedom of religion and other freedoms until now...

Now, they expect South African Jews to turn against the Jewish State, not just in terms of the Israeli army’s behaviour, but with regard to the country being a “blight against humanity”.

Jewish people around the country this week were bewildered and astounded by the events. Some vehemently supported Israel’s right to defend its borders and others were not so sure about the army using live ammunition. But to be told that the country we love and are deeply patriotic to now orders us to condemn Israel, is too much. The ANC has gone too far…

This is unacceptable and divisive at best.

To add to this, Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Lindiwe Sisulu got behind condemning Israel and was the first to call on us. “We would like them [meaning us] to join us in finding a lasting solution for the people of Palestine,” she told a press briefing.

What happens if we don’t agree with her and fall in line – which we are unlikely to do?

And if that wasn’t enough, another minister, this time of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, took things further.

He told the country that he had taken a BDS proposal regarding visa regulations for Israeli citizens entering South Africa to Cabinet for consideration. He agreed with them that it was too easy for Israelis to visit here.

He agreed with BDS leader Muhammed Desai that there needed to be vetting of these Israelis because some may have served in the Israeli army in the conflict.

I have news for them: Every Israeli adult has served in that same army because there is military conscription. So, are they going to stop Israeli adults from coming to South Africa next?

Now, I do understand why there was a kneejerk reaction to the 60 deaths. As Jews, we believe that one death is too many and every soul is vital. And while it is painful, I understand why they felt they had to do something. But clearly, they are turning an international crisis into a crisis for South African Jews.

As the government turns Israel into a “blight on humanity”, they are turning South African Jews into the enemy.

We are loyal citizens of this country and deserve – like everyone else – the protection of our government.

I ask you, Ministers Sisulu, Gigaba and all the other leaders of this country, not to force us into a catch-22 situation. As you turn us into the enemy, you encourage citizens to turn on us. Don’t do this.

Most of us love Israel and are inextricably connected to it, whether we agree with what happens there or not. We won’t turn our backs on family and, in the same way, we won’t turn our backs on Israel.

We are loyal and patriotic South Africans, and part of the fabric of this country. Don’t turn your back on us!

May we all have a peaceful Shabbat and Shavuot.


  1. 2 Anthony 23 May
    Hi Peta,

    Very well framed. I love your reporting.

    Anthony (Cape Town)
  2. 1 Graeme 21 Jun
    Im not Jewish, but as a South African extremely disturbed by the growth of anti-Israel / anti-Jewish sentiment, and one sided pro Palestine stance taken by media and our politicians. Im surprised by the lack of reporting on this, and wonder how these pro-Palestine groups have gained so much influence in these spheres.  South African political organisations openly embrace discrimination and racism against minorities, I strongly urge anyone who falls into this category to leave, this seems to be a rising tide with no end in sight sadly. 


  1. RadEditor - HTML WYSIWYG Editor. MS Word-like content editing experience thanks to a rich set of formatting tools, dropdowns, dialogs, system modules and built-in spell-check.
    RadEditor's components - toolbar, content area, modes and modules
    Toolbar's wrapper 
    Content area wrapper
    RadEditor's bottom area: Design, Html and Preview modes, Statistics module and resize handle.
    It contains RadEditor's Modes/views (HTML, Design and Preview), Statistics and Resizer
    Editor Mode buttonsStatistics moduleEditor resizer
    RadEditor's Modules - special tools used to provide extra information such as Tag Inspector, Real Time HTML Viewer, Tag Properties and other.

Follow us on