Positioning Statement

The SAJBD is the umbrella representative spokesbody and civil rights lobby of the SA Jewish community. It promotes the safety and welfare of South African Jewry, including combating antisemitism in all its forms, and builds bridges of friendship and understanding between Jews and the broader South African population.   

The Rosh Hashanah 2017 Issue of Jewish Affairs

We are pleased to inform you that the Rosh Hashanah 2017 issue of Jewish Affairs has been posted to our website. To view previous issues from Pesach 2009, click here. The printed version will be mailed to subscribers shortly. As always, your assistance in widening the reach of the journal by forwarding these links to those who may be interested would be much appreciated.

​​The SAJBD is appalled by the crassly offensive, demeaning and hurtful comment made this morning by Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama.

In a tweet, Mngxitama wrote, “For those claiming the legacy of the holocaust is ONLY negative think about the lampshades and Jewish soap.” 
With this ugly, jeering remark, Mngxitama has portrayed not just the deliberate murder of Jewish people but even the supposed reduction of their remains to everyday objects as something to be treated as a joke.

Wendy Kahn

SA's unique role for Israel-Palestine peace

For the vast majority of South African Jews, the visit last week of a multi-party delegation of Israeli Members of Parliament (Knesset) has provided a welcome message of hope. It is a reminder that despite the destructive efforts of extremist factions aimed at perpetuating division and conflict, it remains possible for people of good will to find common cause with one another through dialogue and constructive engagement.

Successful Israeli Parliamentary Delegation reaffirms importance of dialogue

A delegation of Israeli Members of Parliament (Knesset) is currently on an official visit to South Africa. The delegation has met with leaders across the South African political spectrum, including with the ANC, DA, Cope, ACDP, IFP & FF+. The delegation also met with Jewish and Christian organisations, as well as the Business community.

Charisse Zeifert

Durban Jewish Exhibition

Since its initial conceptualisation in 1919, the historic Durban Jewish Club has been not only the centre of Jewish communal life in Durban, but a frequently used public space for the broader society. The building itself, "surrounded by bush, rippling dunes of corrugated white sand mingled with ochre earth", was officially opened on 4 May 1931. Since then, it has been host to generations of people, with a history that has witnessed wars and political unrest, conferences and public meetings and music and theatre performances. 

David Saks

Sara Gon compares the experience of Penny Sparrow with that of Bongani Masuku

“COSATU has got members here even on this campus; we can make sure that for that side it will be hell”

“COSATU is with you, we will do everything to make sure that whether its at Wits University, whether its at Orange Grove, anyone who does not support equality and dignity, who does not support the rights of other people must face the consequences even if it means that we will do something that may necessarily cause what is regarded as harm…”

David Saks

The Bongani Masuku Judgement - Implications for South African Law

Determining where the boundary lies between legitimate freedom of expression and prohibited ‘hate speech’ can never be an exact science. During the flurry of debate that took place around the controversial Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill earlier this year, this was something that came through especially strongly. Err too much on one side, and victims of genuinely hurtful and insulting verbal abuse are left without a remedy; err too much on the other, and a fundamental pillar of democracy is undermined. 

SAHRC on behalf of South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), Emerge Victorious Against Hate Speech in the Equality Court

Today, the 29th June 2017, the Equality Court, sitting at the South Gauteng High Court, found in favour of the South African Human Rights Commission (the Commission or SAHRC) acting on behalf of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), in a matter against Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) International Relations Spokesperson Bongani Masuku, as first respondent and COSATU as second respondent, for statements Masuku had made in February and March 2009, that have been found to be hate speech. The complaint was brought to the Commission in April 2009. 

Equality Court finds Hate Speech by Cosatu Spokesperson

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) welcomes the judgment handed down in the Equality Court this morning confirming that COSATU International Relations Spokesperson Bongani Masuku was guilty of hate speech against the Jewish community. The case was brought by the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) after Masuku refused to comply with its ruling on a complaint lodged by the SAJBD in 2009.

Focus now on counselling

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Rivonia Trial stalwart Joel Joffe passes away

Lord Joel Joffe, who passed away in London earlier this week at the age of 85, was a leading human rights lawyer. He was best known for the prominent role he played during the famous Rivonia Trial of 1963-4 as the legal defense team’s attorney. Amongst the leading anti-apartheid activists that he represented in the trial were Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Ahmed Kathrada. After the trial, Joffe settled in the UK, where he gained further renown for his human rights and philanthropic work. 

Jewish community contributes to Knysna relief

Within hours of hearing about the devastating fires raging through Knysna , South Africans countrywide were provided with a range of options of how they could help those most effected.  Within the Jewish community, the SAJBD, working closely with its Cape Town office and the Garden Route Jewish Association, took the lead in assessing the needs of the communities and providing support.  

SAJBD encouraged by ANC renewed commitment to 2-State Solution

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) welcomes the renewed commitment by the ANC to supporting peace initiatives aimed at resolving the Israeli – Palestinian conflict.  On Sunday 11 June, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Chair of the ANC NEC subcommittee on International Relations Edna Molewa, and ANC NEC subcommittee member on International Relations and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane reiterated their commitment to a negotiated two-state solution aimed at achieving peaceful co-existence between the different parties.  

Way forward on Edenvale "Heil Hitler" incident

Yesterday, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) together with the Principal of King David Victory Park Mr Andrew Baker met with Dr Larry Harmer, Principal of Edenvale High. The aim of the meeting was to find a way forward, following an incident that took place when Nazi slogans and gestures were directed against Jewish learners from King David Victory Park by learners from Edenvale High at an inter-school one-act play competition. This was in the context of a performance by King David of the Holocaust-themed drama ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’.

David Saks

JEWISH HISTORY DENIALISM PARALYZES CONSTRUCTIVE DEBATE ON ISRAEL-PALESTINE

In 1960, the famed archaeologist Yigal Yadin met Israeli President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi to report on his latest discoveries in the Judean Desert. As recounted by Yadin, he opened his presentation with the statement: “I am honoured to be able to tell you that we have discovered fifteen dispatches written or dictated by the last President of ancient Israel eighteen hundred years ago”.

Charisse Zeifert, David Saks

THE GOLDENE MEDINA

While the story of Jews throughout the Diaspora is one of immigration, the unique circumstances of South Africa gave rise to a unique Jewish experience, and the stories are poignant, capturing the moment at the time.