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September 26, 2016 / 23 Elul, 5776
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SA Chief Rabbi Challenges ANC to Israel Debate

Jesse Duarte, deputy head of ruling African National Congress, compared Operation Protective Edge to Nazis
ANC President Jacob Zuma

ANC President Jacob Zuma
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

South Africa’s Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein has challenged the deputy head of the ruling African National Congress to rescind a statement comparing Operation Protective Edge to Nazi operations to annihilate the Jews. Jesse Duarte made the comparison in a prepared statement last week, garnering condemnation and censure from local Jews and Israel supporters around the world.

The chief rabbi’s statement is re-printed in full.

Jesse Duarte’s statement regarding the Gaza conflict on behalf of the ANC is replete with malicious and shameful lies that must be challenged in the cold light of reason and facts.

I therefore challenge Ms Duarte to a public debate with me on the claims she makes in her statement. Her hate-filled outburst is so grotesquely untrue that it cannot be left to stand without the proper public scrutiny provided by a one on one debate.

Ms Duarte’s comparison of Israel to Nazi Germany and Gaza to the Holocaust death camps, is abhorrent and beyond the pale of civilized discourse. The Nazi Holocaust is history’s greatest crime, meticulously detailed by the criminal regime that planned and executed over six million Jews.

She must be held accountable for her morally repugnant words, which have brought the ANC into disrepute. She has betrayed the South African dream of peaceful and dignified dialogue by descending into divisive diatribe, which completely destroys any credibility the ANC had of being an honest broker who can help bring peace to this bitter conflict.

I write these words in Jerusalem, where I have witnessed the situation first hand, and experienced the siren warning of Hamas rockets aimed at densely populated cities with the intention of inflicting maximum civilian fatalities. There is no sovereign country on earth that would not defend its citizens from such military attacks.

Now Jesse Duarte must have the integrity and courage to defend her vitriolic views in a public debate. Or retract them. It is a simple and basic choice of personal integrity: retract or debate.

Meir Halevi Siegel

About the Author: Meir is a news writer for JewishPress.com - and he loves his job.

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