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The Jewish Report Editorial

Join us in supporting #NoPlaceForHate

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The SA Jewish Report fully endorses the Cape Board of Deputies’ #NoPlaceForHate campaign. We hope the whole community supports it, ensuring that it gets the full might and impact that we bring.
by PETA KROST MAUNDER | Aug 10, 2018

It is about time we were proactive as a community in doing the right thing to quell the horror of hatred. We don’t need hatred in our lives. It has never brought joy to anyone. All it does is make people sick and ugly, eating themselves up from the inside.

As a community and as a country, we need to rid ourselves of racial, economic, social, and all types of hatred to move into the next phase of building this country.

When I mentioned how I felt about this campaign to our chairperson, Howard Sackstein, he told me how back in 1986 – during the bad old days of apartheid – when he was chairperson of the South African Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS), the organisation launched an anti-racism campaign. It put up posters of Martin Luther King’s quote, “Like life, racial understanding is not something we find but something we create” on 13 university campuses around the country.

But just as soon as they were put up, the posters disappeared. Those were dark days indeed, so it was easy to imagine some sinister plan was afoot. However, SAUJS soon discovered that people – of varying racial and religious backgrounds – loved the posters so much, they took them down to put up in their rooms and homes. That’s why they were disappearing. There is something so very “unhateful” about that.

While the Cape Board was holding its conference, and launching the new campaign last weekend, more than 1 000 Jozi Jews from all religious, political, and social persuasions were absorbing as much information as they possibly could at Limmud in Johannesburg.

I heard a couple of choice descriptions of how people perceived Limmud, including my favourite, “machaneh for the wrinklies”. That wasn’t quite so accurate, albeit clever, because there were almost 200 people under the age of 30, of which 40 were aged between 19 and 25. It was a brain-feeding festival, in which people – who would otherwise have nothing to do with each other – were interacting on a social and intellectual level. They were enjoying each other’s differences and similarities. In a Jewish way, they were embodying the #NoPlaceForHate campaign. It was beautiful!

I must admit, I moved into the weekend not feeling quite so loving, following the response from a certain sector of the community to our listeria-scare lead story in last week’s paper.

I was astonished that people believed we had sinister motives for running the story, not least of all as our lead. People believed we had something against Nussbaums. What could we have to gain from writing a story like that, other than to inform the community about what is relevant to them?

We were accused of being sensationalist, and of lashon harah. Having been a journalist for more than 30 years, I know sensationalist journalism, and that is not what we do at the SA Jewish Report. What we produced was a well-balanced, thorough news story, doing our best to get information and comment from all the relevant sources.

From my understanding of lashon harah, it is certainly not informing the community of things that have an impact on them, and that they have a right to know. And that was all we did.

I don’t have a problem if people disagree with what we write, nor if they are critical of us. I am aware that – try as we might – we are never going to please everyone all the time. However, we will keep on doing our utmost to give you all the information we believe you have a right to know and want to know, even if sometimes you don’t like what is written.

What does irk me, though, is that we get people who contact us to call us anti-Semites, and tell us we are destroying people, and how much they hate us. I don’t see the point. We don’t create the stories, we simply convey them.

That hatefulness is misplaced passion that could be better used in a campaign against hate.

Instead, we should be joining hands against hate, using our own circle of influence to create change for good. The Cape Board’s campaign calls on us to pledge to change our behaviour, to stand up against the abuse of rights, cyberhate, warring parties, and hate speech beyond our own interests.

When we stand up against these wrongs, we need to do it positively, not with hate. Let each one of us find a way to be active citizens for good, and to adopt a project or process that will express this commitment.

I am so excited to see what people do. I would love you to let us know what you have done, and perhaps we can tag along, write about it, or simply give you our support.

The SA Jewish Report will also be looking for ways to fulfil our #NoPlaceForHate pledge.

I hope that the #NoPlaceForHate campaign grows wings, and that everyone in the community takes it up and pays it forward. I hope that it spreads through other communities in South Africa, and goes global. Go to www.capesajbd.org/toolkit to pledge your commitment and find out more.

What are your plans? How are you going to do your bit? Let us know.

Shabbat Shalom!

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