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The hypocrisy of Dirco

With more revelations emerging about the alleged murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by agents of Saudi Arabia, the South African government has vacillated and delayed issuing any reliable comment. Nor has it followed those countries who have not only sharply criticised the Saudis, but suspended arms sales to that country.

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Letters/Discussion Forums

Allan Wolman, Johannesburg

Both the United Kingdom and United States, predictably, have not suspended arms sales. In fact, the US under Trump has failed to issue any strong language against the Saudis. But where does the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) stand on this issue?

Very recently, the Saudi government made overtures to South Africa about buying a controlling interest in South African arms manufacturer Denel. This, in the light of the latest obscenity of the murder of Khashoggi, and the terrible bombing of school children in Yemen, where the civilian death toll has reached hundreds of thousands, and the United Nations has labelled the war as the worst human rights disaster facing the world today.

Yet, South Africa has remained silent in the face of these obscenities, and has announced that no decision has been made thus far about the proposed sale of Denel to the Saudis (which must read as, yes, we are seriously considering such an acquisition).

Our hypocrisy doesn’t end there. We still maintain a diplomatic mission and ambassador in Syria where to date, well over half a million civilians and counting have been butchered by a demented dictator. There are no calls for recalling our ambassador, nor for downgrading our mission in that country, and no similar calls for the same action against the Saudis. But the ANC government continues to lobby for recalling its ambassador from Israel, and the downgrading of diplomatic ties with that country. Is this the South African way of claiming the moral high ground? More than half a million murdered in Syria and a few hundred thousand in Yemen, but it’s only Israel that Dirco can point its finger at.

The catastrophe of the Arab world, with not only dead and wounded, but human-rights deprivations in almost every Arab country in the Middle East, seems to have bypassed our foreign affairs ministry in its quest to blacklist Israel as the only abuser on the globe.

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Letters/Discussion Forums

“Clearly you’re a Zionist, going around demanding shit”

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I’m so sad that I came across this terrible article (“Professor of propaganda” by Howard Sackstein, SA Jewish Report, 3 June 2021).

First, I’m a Wits-trained doctor, and I admire doctors like Professor Shabir Moosa who are able to step outside their comfort zones and challenge the minds and beliefs of their younger doctors. South Africa needs more doctors that stand up for what’s right. Israel is an apartheid state. Please stop denying it! You’re basically killing Arabs and jailing innocent kids. You have no humanity as a Zionist.

Second, he posted his article on this group, and that made interns feel uncomfortable! Oh please, grow up! It’s a bunch of white men trying to bully us into acting in a way suitable for them. Imagine, a bunch of privileged white men felt uncomfortable for the first time in their life!

Third, screw the author! That he thinks he has any authority to report and demand “action”. Who do you think you are? Clearly, you’re a Zionist. Going around demanding shit. When you deserve nothing.

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Letters/Discussion Forums

Why seek citizenship of murderous Lithuania?

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“Most of our ancestors were forced to flee Lithuania in terrible circumstances, and restoring our citizenship will go a long way to address the wrongs of the past.” I find these words by the national vice-president of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies to be shameful and incomprehensible. To claim, as Zev Krengel does, that ex-Lithuanian Jews have an ancestral right to citizenship is an insult to the G-d of Israel. The only country to which any Jew has an ancestral right is the land of Israel.

When the Nazis marched into Lithuania in 1941, the government and people (with a handful of exceptions) didn’t lift a finger as Jews in more than 200 shtetls were humiliated, tortured, and ultimately murdered by Lithuanian collaborators. Which Jew with pure emotions would now wish to seek citizenship of that country, or any European country which willingly aided and abetted Nazi murderers?

The yizkor (remembrance) prayer that Jews recite in synagogues four times a year includes one for martyrs: “May G-d remember the souls of the holy and pure ones who were murdered, gassed, burned, strangled for the sanctification of the name through the hands of the German oppressors and their collaborators. (Yemach s’hmom v’zichron – may their name and memory be obliterated.) No, Mr Krengel, no amount of time will “restore the wrongs of the past”.

The most tragic event in Jewish history – the Holocaust – has taught the Jewish people that it’s forbidden for us to derive any benefit from countries that persecuted our people. (Hilchot Sanhedrin 15:9). How can any Jew with pure emotions associate with these places, much less seek citizenship?

With all due respect to Krengel and all those who seek citizenship of these murderous countries, may I humbly suggest that you rather seek citizenship in your one and only true ancestral homeland – the land of Israel. Seeking citizenship anywhere but Israel, after 2 000 years of bitter exile, is scorning G-d’s most precious gift to His people.

Further, I believe that to fulfil the commandment of “may their name and memory be obliterated”, no Jew should ever set foot in or associate with these countries in any way. It’s with dismay that one sees influential Orthodox groups spending money on resurrecting Judaism in these murderous countries instead of obliterating their names.

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Letters/Discussion Forums

None of us are angels, but condemnation of Israel is truly sick

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I’m appalled by prominent members of our government, even one of our own – Ronnie Kasrils – who has the gall to speak out against Israel, Zionism, and the Jews for what happened recently in Gaza, even to the extent of mentioning a Jewish policeman or soldier with his knee on a dead Palestinian child. This isn’t the way Jews behave. We are very conscious of our Judaism and families, and kindness is in our genetic make-up.

The photo I’m referring to was taken years ago, in a completely foreign country, and it incites hate where it doesn’t belong.

Sick people have caused anxiety and fear during the pandemic by publishing pictures of COVID-19-related crimes and other lies on Facebook and WhatsApp, and by publishing old photos and leading us to believe that they are fresh situations.

None of us are angels who never sin. But can anyone truly believe that no action should be taken against 4 000 rockets fired at a country indiscriminately? Does any other army in the world advise the perpetrators that they should evacuate because they don’t want to hurt or kill innocent people when they retaliate?

Well, Israel does.

In conclusion, Israel isn’t fighting Gazans, it’s fighting Hamas. The people who run Gaza are Hamas, not the Palestinians. They made the fatal mistake of allowing Hamas to run their country. It uses them as shields and doesn’t give a damn about their safety or well-being.

So, wake up South Africa, and all who condemn Israel for defending its citizens – you would do the same!

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