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The Jewish Report Editorial

The Upside-Down world

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Pesach is a time when we look back on our past as slaves and how we broke free of our shackles, but this year is almost more about looking at our situation right now.

I don’t recall a time where we were so concerned about the future of Israel and about antisemitism locally and globally. And the festival of Pesach, for me, is about learning about Jews being at their lowest ebb and finding a way back to full strength. Granted, it took more than 40 years, with a pitstop to pick up the 10 commandments!

We’re at a pretty low point right now, albeit that violent antisemitism seems far worse in Europe and America than it does here. And those of us who stick to their community may not be aware of what’s happening out there.

A friend of mine told me how she overheard someone at work speaking about “these damn Jews” when irritated with someone she had been speaking to on the phone.

Another recently told me of a workplace incident in which she had apologised to someone for what she believed could have been an overreaction to an anti-Israel comment. The person she apologised to responded, saying, “I understand, you can’t help it that you’re a Jew.”

I was wide-eyed at this, and wish it wasn’t true, because it means that antisemitism is rife in South Africa. And while those making these statements may claim it’s all about Israel, they slip up so easily in blaming Jews.

On Saturday morning in Sydney, Australia, there was an attack at a mall frequented by many former South African Jews. Our page one story shares it with you.

However, as it turns out, the first person pinpointed as the culprit was a South African Jewish man who had nothing whatsoever to do with the event. But, I guess, perhaps he had a similar nose or look about him, so the media and others pointed fingers at him without even checking whether he was even there. Was it a coincidence that he’s Jewish? I wonder…

I also wonder why in a country like Australia, where life is usually so even keeled and little happens, they have had two violent incidents in one weekend. It seems strange! I’m not for one moment suggesting that this has anything to do with antisemitism because the second attack was against a priest. But attacks like this don’t happen Down Under.

But then, our world seems upside down right now. Suddenly, looking at social media, people around the world are making out as if Iran is a victim of some kind of war crime at the hands of Israel (read Jews).

What are they talking about? It’s one thing to be worried about innocent Palestinians in Gaza, which I understand, but Iran is a major international power that Israel has never had even the smallest success in harming. We know Islamic Republic leaders would like to eradicate Jews off the face of the earth. They make it clear, but are they victims of Israel? Not so far…

Once again, it’s all about antisemitism. Anyone against the Jews must be harmless victims, right?

On Saturday night, few Jews slept while they waited for the 350 cruise missiles, drones, and ballistic missiles fired from Teheran to Israel. Israelis were in their shelters, and Jews around the world braced themselves for the worst news, but hoped for the best.

The best happened. Israel, with the help of the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Jordan, managed to ensure that they didn’t harm Israel. It was no miracle, it was a feat of exceptional military prowess. It showed the incredible expertise of the Israeli Air Force. A 10-year-old Bedouin girl is now fighting for her life after she was injured when shrapnel from an intercepted ballistic missile fell on her family’s home in the southern Negev.

Amazing how our haters, who seem to be growing in numbers, still find a way to turn around what Iran did and make it Israel’s fault. Astonishing!

A young Iranian attorney and activist, Elica Le Bon, put out a video on Instagram this week on behalf of Iranian women. She was horrified at how the facts were distorted into the Islamic Republic becoming the victim. “When we were screaming for the past two years that they were lynching us, where were you? When we were screaming because they were killing Iranian women for not wearing a hijab, where were you? When they were lynching Iranian men from cranes for protesting, where were you? When we were explaining that this was a terrorist occupying force, where were you? But suddenly, everyone has graduated from Instagram school of law to say that this is a violation of international law, and Iran has the right to defend itself.”

She made it clear that Iranians don’t hate Israel, and in fact, want peace with Israel, and when the Islamic Republic does something, it’s not on behalf of Iranian people. She called Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis terror proxies of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who are trying to destabilise the region. She said again and again, “Iranians have said they don’t want war with Israel, they want peace.”

She criticised those defending the Islamic State action of Saturday night, saying it was they who want war with Israel. “It’s your hatred for Israel and Jews that’s putting us in a war we didn’t ask for. Have we not suffered enough for the last 45 years that we have to be used as pawns in your fantasy war with Israel? We don’t want that. Don’t put our lives at risk.”

I couldn’t have said it better. Those haters who choose to believe that the Islamic Republic is the victim and Israel, once again, is the aggressor are the ones with blood on their hands. Even the South African government speaks about this attack as a “retaliation” – a retaliation for what? Against terrorism? Against hatred for Israel? Against trying to survive as a nation?

The Islamic Republic isn’t a victim, but seeing it as such is pure antisemitism and warmongering on the part of people sitting comfortably, wearing their Palestinian keffiyehs in their plush homes around the world while people die in the Middle East. Stop spreading lies and hatred!

We’re reeling from what’s happening in the world, but as Jews, we’re strong and bonded. We’ve survived and will continue to survive.

In our special Pesach edition, I was bowled over by the depth of understanding and intuition of our youth. We called on youngsters to give us their insight into what freedom means to them right now as we head toward Pesach.

We were overwhelmed by how many children sent their work, and the quality of it.

We did a selection, but we were unable to fit everything we wanted onto our pages. So, we’ve extended it onto our website. Please go online to read more. It’s a phenomenal way to understand where our children are at.

Chag Pesach sameach!

Peta Krost


We won’t be publishing for the next two weeks because of the chaggim. We’ll be back on 9 May.

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