At the time of writing, the month-long crisis on our university campuses remains unresolved. The next few days will probably be critical in determining whether the universities concerned will reopen in time to allow students to complete the academic year. As hardly needs be stressed, this is a critical issue for our country. For our country to succeed, it is abundantly clear that all South Africans need access to higher education. For our own part, we strongly encourage dialogue between government, the universities and student representatives aimed at achieving an solution that takes into account the requirements and concerns of all stakeholders. Every effort must be made to reduce as much as possible the gaps between the various parties and to find a balance between what people want to see and what is practically achievable, in both the short and long term. These are troubled times, but we I feel there is sufficient resilience and goodwill to find a constructive way forward.
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.