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Sifrin’s negativity towards Israel

Sifrin’s negativity towards Israel has no place in Jewish Report

I would like to fully endorse the words of Jack Miller in his letter regarding his criticism of Geoff Sifrin’s Taking Issue column in last week’s issue of Jewish Report.



Letters/Discussion Forums

Miriam Davidowitz, Johannesburg

I would like to add that week after week Sifrin makes statements about Israeli policies which consist of blatant untruths which are both obscene and odious in the context.

Last week it was, as Miller pointed out, about Israeli settlement construction on “Palestinian” land. The previous week it was about “West Bank” settlers.

Sifrin should know that hundreds of thousands of Israelis reside in the biblical heartland of Judea and Shomron. Many of these have sacrificed their very lives to defend the entire Land of Israel. Is this the West Bank Sifrin refers to? Is this (stolen) Palestinian land?

In the past Sifrin has written many articles negatively criticising the Israeli government’s stance on the Arab-Israeli conflict. While he is entitled to express his opinions as he understands the issues, I find it hurtful and offensive when his opinions are in my view outright obscene.

Last year he suggested that it would be a good idea to release the arch-terrorist leader of the PLO, Marwan Barghouti who is presently serving five consecutive life terms in an Israeli prison. Barghouti is in jail for being the master mind in the murder of multiple Israelis.

Sifrin would like to see him freed for the purpose of meeting Israeli leaders to discuss peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Anyone with pure emotions would feel literally sick to their stomachs at such a suggestion.

It is regrettable that a highly respected Jewish newspaper, the only Jewish weekly published in South Africa, should allow its leading and popular columnist to write weekly articles with opinions such as those mentioned above, and many more, which contain blatant untruths, and more importantly are distortions of our Torah.

Such untruths about Israel are read and believed by our gentile hosts and have a negative effect on the Jewish community as a whole.



The SA Jewish Report goes out of its way to include as many opinions as possible. – ed

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  1. nat cheiman

    Feb 9, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    ‘Many comments relating to this article were not posted. 
    \nMy view is that expedience triumphed over impatiality.
    \nClearly this is media at its worst.
    \nI see no reason for a protectionist stance and in shielding Geoff Sifrin from criticism .
    \nPerhaps Donald Trump is right about the media

    \nSorry to dispel your conspiracy theory, user, but nothing so sinister exists. A new editor taking over a very important but tiny newsroom, with only two permanent staffers, is the reason for the delay.   -MODERATOR

  2. Dov Randel

    Feb 12, 2017 at 12:57 am

    ‘I am totally for Geoff Syfrin,  he was an excellent  editor and now opinion piece writer. Geoff sees the  situation with a realistic eye.  ‘

  3. Choni

    Feb 13, 2017 at 7:17 am

    ‘Dear Editor,
    \n                     While I understand that you go out of your way to print as many opinions as possible, I believe that since this is a Jewish publication there should be a bench-mark as to what constitutes a valid opinion.
    \nThis benchmark can only be our holy Bible (written and oral) the Tanach.
    \nAnt Katz wisely wrote that he was brought up to believe that nobody should question our Torah. In Judaism everything is based on Torah, even events which seem far away from our religion.
    \nThus in my opinion any opinion which openly violates our Torah should be ignored. Ours is a JEWISH publication and opinions based on distortions of Torah are worthless and harmful, and should be ignored.

    \nChoni, you are correct in quoting me as having said that. You are not, on the other hand, in that you quote it out of context. Of course nobody should question Torah. But there is a huge difference between questioning and interpretation. For as long as there has been a Hebrew people, the People of the Bible, we Jews have sat around and engaged on interpretation. The Hebrew people and their Torah will always be – and their hunger and thirst for knowledge, their engaging on the interpretation, will always be. When I wrote that many moons ago, it was in response to your (continuing) belief that your interpretation is the only one that is correct. Once, you subscribed to the Lubavitch interpretation, today you do not. The SA community is built on a foundation of modern Orthodox ‘Litvaks’ – many of them, too, came to this country as follows of one Rebbe or another. To suggest that I subscribe to your narrow and intolerant view that everyone should believe in \”my way or the highway\” is disingenuous. We are a people of learning, many spend their whole life studying Torah. Why? We are a people of tolerance. It has allowed us to endure. It is unfair to take something out of context to try and prove your point. I admire your tenacity, but not your bigotry. Please do not try to use me to justify that.    – ANT KATZ, Online Editor


  4. natcheiman

    Feb 17, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    ‘You have not eliminated any theory, let alone a conspiracy theory.
    \nNo comments were posted last week on any of the articles.
    \nI am beginning to think negatively about earnestness of the newsroom 

    \n​Please, Nat, we told you last week we have a new editor who is doing a fantastic job in an organisation with very limited resources. Give her a chance.   -ED


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Letters/Discussion Forums

Tribute to a man who embodies Judaism at its best



As the Torah observant manager of a busy food establishment and as a member of the Jewish community, I wish to give thanks and recognition to a pillar of righteousness.

Rabbi Yossi Baumgarten joined the United Orthodox Synagogues (UOS) kashrut department more than 40 years ago, and gave the prime of his life to serve the community.

No factory was too far. No mashgiach question was turned away, even if called at 01:00.

Baumgarten addressed kashrut matters with integrity and honesty, and with a zest and energy that motivated and inspired all those who had the privilege and honour to work with him.

I once had the privilege of going on a trip with Baumgarten. The man is utter Judaism. From the way he treats others, to the way he ties his shoes and walks. His greatness is in his kindness, humility, and truthfulness.

The UOS kashrut department has been internationally recognised for decades as a result of the sterling input of Baumgarten, and this is evident by the many calls and messages he would field throughout the day from people all over the world. Whether it be a call from the Orthodox Union or the OK or Star K certification agencies, or a mashgiach or local housewife, the Jewish local community and the kosher world at large owe Baumgarten a debt of gratitude.

On behalf of the Mashgiach Association, we wish Baumgarten much strength and success in all his future endeavours.

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Letters/Discussion Forums

Deafening silence about Afghanistan, hue and cry about Israel



Tali Feinberg’s excellent piece in the SA Jewish Report (2 September) titled Africa4Palestine Compares Israel to Nazi Germany, offers sufficient expert academic opinion to totally discredit this narrative that is the backbone of the organisation’s campaign. That crusade together with the continuous use of the apartheid canard has one goal only: the total destruction and delegitimisation of Israel. Both apartheid and Nazi myths carry powerful emotive connotations.

While these falsehoods are somewhat over-played and over-used, Israel’s defensive operations are what elevates the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions organisation’s attack to a crescendo. Just months ago, the world erupted in a show of anger, with hordes filling the streets of capital cities, admonishing only Israel during a conflict with the Hamas terror group.

Contrast that to the recent get together in which Hamas and Islamic Jihad poured congratulations on the Taliban for the takeover of Afghanistan and broke bread together. These Sunni terror groups, including Al-Qaeda, share an ideology of gender violence and misogyny, and support each other in multiple ways. Of course, the Taliban’s unmentionable barbaric treatment of women has been well documented and condemned by most of the world.

Those throngs of protesters voicing thunderous support for Hamas, the blood brothers of the Taliban, now manifest a deafening silence. Where is “the squad” – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib? Not forgetting Jewish college students on the left, who all had much to say in their condemnation of the only country in the region able to stand up to terrorism of this kind.

Are those protesters oblivious to the plight of Afghan girls and women?

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Letters/Discussion Forums

US left’s outrage over Kabul bombing smacks of hypocrisy



As the deadline for the evacuation of those desperate to flee the Taliban take-over of Afghanistan approaches, ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) detonated two deadly suicide explosions in the airport precinct of Kabul, killing more than 60 civilians together with 13 United States (US) military personnel.

This tragedy as the events in Afghanistan unfold bought home the reality of having to contend with these types of contemptable and despicable atrocities that aren’t foreign to the Middle East – not to forget where suicide bombing originated more than 20 years ago.

The untimely deaths of the 13 US servicemen has had a profound effect on the psyche of the American public, whose outrage is expressed in most prominent press reports, and is a stark reminder of the dangers of foreign assistance to unstable areas around the world.

Why should American boys die while defending freedom and democracy, is a question on everybody’s lips.

Most Americans, from Democratic liberals to the Republicans, are outraged and incensed – about the only time that the two agree on anything. Even those high-profile celebrities, with the likes of “The Squad” – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib. Not to forget Trevor Noah and the Hadid girls, and of course, the left Jewish college students, who all had much to say in their condemnation of the only country in the region able to stand up to terrorism of this kind.

Just a short while back, these good folk were singing the praises of another organisation, the actual founders and inventors of suicide attacks, in fact showing no remorse whatsoever that such attacks are perpetrated against other democracies. In those cases, the perpetrators are the heroes, and the victims condemned by this coterie. Would this set be accused of hypocrisy? Surely not, given the outrage demonstrated today in the US.

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