Subscribe to our Newsletter

click to dowload our latest edition



Worldwide spike in antisemitism

Avatar photo



With Israel’s war against Hamas and other Iranian-backed proxies poised to enter its ninth week, reports continue to stream in on the massive antisemitic backlash being experienced by Jewish communities throughout the diaspora. The situation formed the core part of the agenda at the recent World Jewish Congress National Community Directors Forum in Rome. South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) National Director Wendy Kahn, together with her counterparts from 48 global Jewish communities, attended the meeting and presented on the situation in South Africa. The stridently pro-Hamas stance taken by the South African government since the conflict began is well-known in international circles, and many of those she engaged with took the opportunity to express their solidarity with our community. That being said, Wendy was struck in turn by the sheer scale and virulence of the antisemitic attacks that our diaspora counterparts, especially in countries whose governments are supportive of Israel, are experiencing.

South Africa has certainly experienced a huge spike in attacks against our community, several involving violence and including boycott campaigns against Jewish owned or run businesses. However, as in previous years, in terms of bare numbers as well as the relative gravity of the incidents recorded, antisemitism levels in the country continue to be markedly lower than those being experienced by other major diaspora communities. The SAJBD, in close co-operation with the Community Security Organisation, continues to engage with community members reporting antisemitism that they have experienced or otherwise become aware of, advising, investigating, documenting, and following up as required. In some instances, we have assisted with the laying of criminal charges. Antisemitism levels continue to be high, but from what we have seen over the past several weeks, appear to be slowly dropping off, and with the holiday season now almost upon us, this will hopefully continue. As always, we’re there for our community at all times, and ask everyone to continue to keep us informed about what’s happening on the ground by writing to

The SAJBD and the media war

Such are the times we are living in, every second or third day seems to bring up an issue we need to respond to. As a result, we continue to be exceptionally busy in the media sphere, responding to requests for interviews or comment from local and increasingly international media organisations. Issues we have commented on over the past week include Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) organisation-driven attacks on South Africa Under-19 cricket captain David Teeger for remarks made at a recent Jewish communal event; the release of hostages including two South Africans; the rise of antisemitism on the local front; and most recently the shocking remarks made at a BDS event over the weekend by former cabinet minister Ronnie Kasrils in which he expressed his delight and admiration for the 7 October atrocities. Kasrils has long been held up as an example of a “good Jew” by those with antisemitic intent. The a priori assumption is that all anti-Zionist rhetoric, even when it’s clearly antisemitic, can be excused, because a prominent anti-Zionist, Kasrils, is Jewish. Kasrils’ glee at the murder of Jews, captured on video and publicised by fellow anti-Zionist hardliner Na’eem Jeenah, gives the lie to that excuse. The mask slipped, and we saw the depth of the violent antisemitism behind the facade.

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

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *