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Remembering Palestinian and Jewish civilians killed

South African Jewish Voices for a Just Peace (JVJP) hosted an event with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu this week Thursday in Tamboerskloof, Cape Town, to commemorate the civilian lives lost and destroyed during the Israel-Palestine conflict this July and August.

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Voices

Leonard Shapiro, Rina King, Jessica Sherman

The Archbishop unveiled a plaque in memory of all the civilians killed – Israelis, Palestinians and foreign nationals.

Remembering the lives lost is particularly important as the situation in Israel-Palestine remains difficult. Israel announced a massive land-grab in the West Bank while Gaza still lives under a crippling land, air and sea blockade. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are living in the ruins of Gaza with no electricity, water or sewerage infrastructure, while life in Israel goes back to normal.

JVJP is a group of Jewish South Africans who recognise that the South African Jewish community is not homogenous in its thinking and that there are many different views on Israel.

Many Jews in our country are deeply troubled by the actions of Israel and the human rights abuses which are inflicted on Palestinians. Many Jews are afraid to speak about these abuses for fear of being ostracised. As such, JVJP aims to facilitate respectful dialogue and discussion among South African Jews.


Cape Town

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. nat cheiman

    Oct 22, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    ‘You are certainly joking. As long as hamas has a charter calling for the annihilation of Israel and jews, there is nothing to discuss.
    \nGaza is rubble because the Palestinians don’t want to listen.
    \nIf you truly feel sorry for them then I suggest you go and live there. As for me, I would like to see these muslims go and live in Jordan or on the moon or Mars.
    \nThey are a nuisance and obstacle to peace. ‘

  2. Myron Robinson

    Oct 23, 2014 at 11:46 am

    ‘I suppose Human Rights abuses committed by Hamas do not count. If Hamas put down their weapons that would be the end of violence. While every death is a tragedy do JVVP expect Israel to do nothing  whilst it is destroyed. \”Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are living in the ruins of Gaza with no electricity, water or sewerage infrastructure, while life in Israel goes back to normal.\” 1stly this is due to the actions of Hamas, secondly had Hamas not built tunnels or for that matter attacked Israel & channelled the Tunnel funds into upgrading facilities, Gaza would be economically better off than any other 3rd World Country. Why do the JVVP not put their skilled resources into upgrading the terrible conditions that most SA live in instead of biting the hand that Protects them. Condemn Israel by all means when it transgresses but yet again your condemnation of Hamas & the PA is deafening by your silence. You are both Naïve & ignorant.’

  3. Gary Selikow

    Oct 28, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    ‘In their plaque which they unveiled together with the perfidious Desmond Tutu they made it very clear there disdain for Israeli civilian casualties by juxtaposing ”2 139 Palestinians were killed in Gaza by the Israeli military – 70 percent were civilians. 3 Israelis and one foreign national were killed in Israel by the Palestinian militia.\”Not their reference to the bloodthirsty Hamas terrorists with the romantic appellation of \”millitia’\”On their face book page when asked if they would condemn atrocities by Hamas in response to the recent terror attack in Jerusalem which killed a three month old baby they replied that ‘the Palestinians have a right and duty to resist Israeli colonialism and Aprtheid by any mean neccesary’

    In the last 14 years Thousands of Israeli Jewish men, women and children have died from bombs, bullets or knife attacks, and thousands of others have been maimed, blinded, orphaned, widowed and terrorized.

    In 2003 on the Eve of the Jewish New Year, seven month old Shaked Abraham was shot dead in her crib by an Arab murderer who forced his way into her parent’s house as the family was celebrating the New Year.

    A ten-month-old Jewish baby, Shalhevet Pass, was shot in her father’s arms by an Arab sniper in 2001.

    The following year, a five-year-old girl, Danielle Shefi, was shot to death at point blank range by an Arab killer, while cowering under her parents’ bed.

    That same year, two boys, four- and five-years old, Matan and Noam Ohayon where shot dead together with their mother as she read them a bedtime story, in a kibbutz, by Arab terrorists.

    In the summer of 2005 pregnant Jewish women Tali Hatuel and her four terrified little daughters were executed at point blank range by terrorists of the Popular Resistance Committees, one after the other after Tali’s car had been spun off the road by gunfire.

    Then there are the thousands of suicide bombing perpetrated by Arab terrorists in malls, restaurants, schools, buses and everywhere else where Jewish men, women and children in Israel gathered.Victims were killed, burned, maimed and shards of metal infected with rat poison lodged into their bodies.

    Unlike a traditional war zone, the victims are often riding, sitting in schools or enjoying a meal.

    So since 2000 far 132 Jewish children have been killed, 11 of them less than a year old, 9 pregnant women have been murdered, 886 children have lost one parent and 32 have lost both. The youngest victim of terror was just one day old.

    There has been no condemnation of these atrocities by the United Nation or it’s commissars such as Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu and Richard Goldstone.

    At the Dolphinarium Disco on June 1, 2001, 21 Israeli teenagers were killed and 132 wounded, many maimed for life, after a suicide bomber blew himself up in their midst

    Hamas claimed responsibility and celebrated the attack.

    Shaina Dorfman whose grandfather was a rabbi and was burned by the Nazis in Russia, lost her only daughter in an attack on a night club in Tel Aviv but believes in the Jewish saying, Yiyhe Beseder \”Everything will turn out alright’

    In Netanya in March 2001, in the single greatest massacre of Jews after World War II, 37 Jewish men, women and children died after a Hamas bomber detonated himself during a seder or celebration of the Jewish passover (Pesach)dont forget the Fogel family stabbed to death in 2011 including a four year old boy and three month old girl.This is what JVJP supportsLet us react to them with this in mind. Can we be tolerant of those who condone the killing of Jewish children?I cannot and will not keep company with those who make common cause with modern-day Arab Nazis who shoot a pregnant Jewish woman at point blank range before executing her four terrified small daughters.

    I shall always shun those who show any acceptance of the perpetrators of such atrocities and will continue to condemmn those whose twisted ideas suggest any equivocation of Israel’s self-defence with brutal Arab terror.Their idea of a ”Júst Peace” is not doubt the physical elimination of every Jewish man, woman and child in Israel.’

  4. Gary Selikow

    Oct 29, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    ‘JVJP=Jewish Voices for a Judnreihn Palestine’

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Voices

Don’t panic, but behave responsibly

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The announcement of the new Omicron variant and its dire impact on overseas travel continues to dominate the news. With the sharp increase in infection numbers in Gauteng, the Board on 28 November convened a meeting of the national leadership of the major communal bodies together with Professor Barry Schoub and Dr Richard Friedland, two experts in the field of communicable diseases who have guided and advised us throughout the COVID-19 crisis. At our request, Professor Schoub and Dr Friedland have prepared guidelines on how to reduce the impact of the impending fourth wave on our community. These can be found on our Facebook page. To watch last week’s “Midweek COVID-19 Update with Professor Schoub”, visit https://bit.ly/2VpwmKX. Those who have any questions for Professor Schoub can leave them in the comment section or email midweekcovidupdate@gmail.com.

Fighting the good fight

One welcome piece of good news over the weekend was that Miss South Africa, Lalela Mswane, had arrived in Israel in preparation for taking part in the Miss Universe contest. This was in spite of a sustained campaign by Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) factions to prevent her participation, characterised by intimidation, defamation, blackmail, and misinformation. The Board saw it as essential to have a voice in this debate as the intent clearly is to target the only Jewish state in a way intended to deny and demonise South African Jews’ historical, cultural, religious, and familial ties to Israel. We engaged in the debates and obtained significant press coverage to offer an alternative narrative to the hate-filled position of those calling for boycotts.

The Board was also called on last week to respond to various statements by organisations like Africa4Palestine, the Media Review Network, and the Muslim Lawyers Association on the death in a terror attack of former community member Eli Kay. Using the language of demonisation and incitement that led to Eli’s murder in the first place, these factions brazenly celebrated and sought to justify the atrocity. In an opinion piece for News24, South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) Vice-President Mary Kluk pointed out how such dehumanisation is an inevitable stage in a process that if left unchecked, can easily have deadly consequences. While not inciting violence directly, the hate-filled rhetoric of the BDS lobby is fostering an environment in which such attacks become that much more likely.

As a former chairperson and long-serving SAJBD executive member, a much respected World Jewish Congress executive member, and in her capacity as director of the Durban Holocaust Centre, Kluk has for many years been at the forefront of defending Jewish rights while also promoting the kind of culture of respect and tolerance for diversity that’s so critical to South Africa’s future as a united, democratic, and non-racial society. To find out more about her career, see Wendy Kahn’s tribute in the latest issue of Jewish Life. A link to the article, as well as to Kluk’s News24 column, can be found on our Facebook page.

  • Listen to Charisse Zeifert on Jewish Board Talk, 101.9 ChaiFM, every Friday from 12:00 to 13:00.

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Voices

Of doggie dreams and the kindness of strangers

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This isn’t a column about Daisy. It’s a column about kindness and appreciation. And even though Daisy, our beloved German Shepherd, is central to the story, she’s not the least of what it’s about.

Daisy died yesterday. It involved a Checkers Sixty60 guy, a motorbike, and the unfulfilled dream of a dog whose ambition was some day, before her dog years were up, to catch one. Yesterday she finally did it. Although sadly it didn’t end well. Not for Daisy or the bike. The Sixty60 guy was thankfully fine.

I was in a meeting when I started to receive calls. When they became insistent, I answered to hear the frantic voice of a woman I’d never met. She explained that Daisy, who had been taken for her daily walk by Prince, had been involved in an accident. She assured me that she, and a few others, would stay with Prince, who was distraught, and with Daisy (who wasn’t in a state to be aware) until help arrived. They had called CAP Security as well as the vet, who was apparently on the way.

Before anyone had had a chance to leave the house, she called again with an update. The vet had arrived and along with CAP were escorting Daisy to the vet for urgent care. She explained where they were going, and suggested that we go straight there. She also reiterated that what had happened was no one’s fault. Daisy had managed to get out of her harness and Prince was in need of a little TLC.

By the time we arrived at the vet a few minutes later, Daisy had passed away. It was that quick. And there was clearly little that could have been done.

We gathered at home in shocked silence trying to process what had happened when my wife received this message, “Hi Heidi, Zameer here from CAP Security. My deepest condolences for the loss of your Shepherd. We did our best to take her as soon as possible to the Orange Grove vet. We arrived on the scene three minutes after it happened. If there’s anything we can do for you at CAP, please let us know. We also offer K9 therapy to overcome trauma, with a friendly female dog called Storm. Kind regards Zameer.”

As if the kindness of strangers who sat with Prince as he cried over Daisy, who called us and made sure that we understood the situation, and who arranged for the vet and CAP to assist wasn’t enough, we now had this message to contend with.

It’s remarkable the difference these gestures made to us on what was a terrible day.

We knew of Daisy’s aspiration to one day catch a Sixty60 delivery guy, but as she hadn’t been well lately, we all assumed that her dreams would never be actualised. Until yesterday when, in a last burst of youth, she broke through her harness and finally did what she had dreamed of doing for all her dog years.

I have no idea if there’s a dog heaven. But if there is, it’s filled with kind people like those who sit with a dying dog, with people like Prince, with vets, and with people like Zameer who reach out to strangers to show they care. I guess there’s also an ongoing supply of Checkers Sixty60 guys who ride up and down to fulfil unrealised dreams.

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Voices

Killing of innocents can never be justified

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Our community was shocked and grief-stricken to learn over the weekend that one of its own young members, Eliyahu David Kay, had been fatally wounded in a Hamas-inspired terrorist attack while on his way to pray at the Kotel in Jerusalem. It’s always saddening when fellow Jews around the world fall victim to such hate crimes, but it strikes that much closer to home when the victim is one of our own. At the time of writing, we are working with other communal bodies to organise a memorial gathering for a much loved young man whose life was so cruelly and unjustly cut short. May his family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

The widely differing responses to Eliyahu’s murder tell us much about how and why such tragedies occur in the first place. Though most people who commented online and in other forums expressed shock and heartfelt sympathy, we were appalled also to see comments from certain organisations and individuals justifying the atrocity. On the local front, an organisation formerly known as Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions South Africa and now calling itself Africa4Palestine has been especially shameless in pushing this line. This is hardly unexpected given how over many years, this organisation has persistently sought to poison public attitudes not only towards Israel but towards the Jewish community for supporting and identifying with it. Of late, even non-Jewish supporters of Israel have become the targets of such hate-mongering.

The danger of extremist ideologies like those espoused by Africa4Palestine is that almost invariably, those who oppose them are portrayed as not merely wrong, but fundamentally evil. This in turn leads to them being regarded as so morally beyond the pale as to be undeserving of the basic rights that other people automatically enjoy, sometimes including even the right to life itself. Such dehumanisation is one of the essential first steps in a process that left unchecked, can easily lead to lethal acts of violence and in extreme cases, to genocide.

No amount of hyperbolic rhetoric about Israel’s purported misdeeds can justify the cold-blooded killing of unarmed civilians simply on the basis of their being Jews. This is the underlying justification that antisemitic fanatics claim for their actions, and we must be untiring in our efforts to confront and expose this evil. All genocides in history were justified at the time by what appeared to be righteous indignation on the part of the perpetrators. When examined more closely, however, their causes came down to simple, unadorned hatred. Nor can we ever feel pleasure over the death of innocents, even when suffered by our avowed enemies. When we lose our sense of empathy at the loss of any life – and how much more so when such tragedies are perversely celebrated – we lose our very humanity. In taking a stand against the constant vilification that Israel and our community are subjected to in certain quarters, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies is always careful not to itself descend to such depths. I urge those wishing to respond to such attacks, whether online or in other contexts, to similarly be careful as to how they express themselves.

  • Listen to Charisse Zeifert on Jewish Board Talk, 101.9 ChaiFM, every Friday from 12:00 to 13:00.

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