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S. African Ruling Party Accused of Complicity with Union Leader’s Antisemitic Threats

Tony Ehrenreich

The South African website BDlive today published a letter titled: “ANC must defend Jews.” In it, reader Roy Robins of Cape Town charges:

The African National Congress’s (ANC’s) silence on Western Cape leader Tony Ehrenreich’s anti-Semitic threats of recent weeks should put to rest conspiracy theories that South African Jews have an outsized influence on domestic or economic policy.

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) has taken legal action against the Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) Tony Ehrenreich, accusing him of hate speech, and accusing him of abusing his role as a public figure by making Facebook comments that could incite public violence.

Two weeks ago, Ehrenreich posted a status urging South Africans to take violent action against members of the Jewish community every time a woman or and child is killed in Palestine.

For his part, Ehrenreich has issued a charge of intimidation against the SAJBD at the Cape Town Central Police Station, claiming he received death threats after posting his message on Facebook last week calling for ‘eye for an eye’ retaliations.

The SAJBD’s Mary Kluk told BDlive: “We are fine with the fact that Ehrenreich wants to lay a charge. I mean his conspiracy theories in the statement that I read are somewhat ridiculous but that’s his prerogative.”

She said it was unfair for Ehrenreich to be making brash statements against the South African Jewish community.

“This is a deep point of distress that a senior person in Cosatu thinks it’s acceptable to make such vicious and violent threats on his fellow South Africans, ” she said.

Robins’ letter concluded:

Judging by the way the ruling party refuses to defend the country’s Jewish citizenry from Mr Ehrenreich’s bigotry and baseless targeting, the minority group has no influence at all. The Democratic Alliance, which has not uttered a word on the issue, is equally complicit. In South African politics today, expedience trumps ethics every time. A brief statement from the ANC objecting to his incitement would go a long way to reassuring South Africa’s Jews.

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