As stressed in previous columns, the Board maintains close links with international Jewish communities and organisations. This week, our National Director Wendy Kahn took part in a conference and workshop for Jewish professional communal executives in Dublin. The event, which fifty directors of Jewish organisations from around the world attended, provided an excellent opportunity to share best practice on a variety of matters of common concern. One of the highlights was being hosted at a reception by Irish President Michael Higgins at his home. Through involving ourselves in forums such as these, we are able to forge mutually beneficial working relationships with our overseas colleagues in addressing such common issues as combating antisemitism, promoting inter-religious contacts and encouraging cultural and intellectual exchanges.
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies urges South Africans, when commenting on issues of public concern, to avoid resorting to antisemitic hate speech, including sinister invocations of behind-the-scenes Jewish financial domination. It is becoming more commonplace for those in leadership to refer to “Jewish based entities” somehow being behind financial institutions and manipulating politics through economic power.
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) has sent its submission on the ‘Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill’ to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development for consideration.
The much awaited Bill aims to give effect to South Africa’s obligations, in terms of both our Constitutional and international human rights instruments, concerning racism and discrimination; to provide for the offence of hate crimes and hate speech; as well as the prosecution and prevention of these crimes.
The growing prevalence of hostile racial rhetoric, of which anti-Jewish conspiracy theories are just one part, poses a serious problem to the national well-being.
You know that a society is in trouble when sinister invocations of Jewish financial domination show signs of gaining common currency. And you know that it is really in trouble when those in positions of leadership start talking in that vein.