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December 2, 2015 / 20 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘South Africa’

SA Chief Rabbi: Proposed Ban on Dual Citizenship ‘Insulting’

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

In response to the African National Congress’s (ANC) proposed ban on dual citizenship, South Africa’s Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein released a strongly worded and heartfelt video statement calling the move a threat to Israel and peace in the region.

Goldstein said the proposal was “insulting” to the 175-year-old community, which has strong ties to Israel and has contributed greatly to South African society and culture. In his video, the Chief Rabbi also rejected claims that Israel is an “apartheid” state, an accusation often aimed at the Jewish State by BDS protesters and pro-Palestinian Arab foreign provocateurs.

”The apartheid accusation against Israel is a lie and without any foundation in reality,” said Goldstein.

In addition to the defamatory nature of this claim, the misuse of “apartheid” diminishes the true meaning of the word and dishonors the ordeal of those who lived under its rule, he noted. “If everything is apartheid then nothing is apartheid,” he stated. The Jewish population of South Africa currently stands at 75,000, according to the Chief Rabbi’s office.

While the citizenship ban would potentially affect millions of people living in South Africa, it is motivated by the ANC’s “obsession” with Israel, said Rabbi Goldstein.

“By targeting the local Jewish community, the ANC is ignoring the country’s ethic of tolerance and dishonoring the legacy of former president Nelson Mandela.” An official appointee, Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein holds a prominent and respected position within South Africa. He serves as a senior member of the National Religious Leaders Council and has collaborated on projects with the government. He had the honor being one of those clergy chosen to eulogize the late Mandela at his funeral. His Bill of Responsibilities has been adopted as part of the official South African school curriculum. “The time to act is now,” said Rabbi Goldstein, who called upon ANC to change its course and become a force for peace in the Middle East and the entire world.

“That is the way forward: a dream of peace,” he declared at the conclusion of the video.

South Africa one of Leading Kosher Markets

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

It is certainly not Jerusalem and New York but according to a recent article in the SA Jewish Report, the two major South African cities can take their place among some of the world’s vibrant kosher centers.

There are approximately 70,000 Jews in South Africa, and the paper reported, “Its members are fortunate to choose from an impressive selection of kosher products available at all local supermarkets.”

By comparison, Britain has approximately 300,000 Jews. London Beth Din Rabbi Eli Schoeman explained that there is a difficulty in securing products for those living outside the typically Jewish areas. “Meat and dairy products are difficult to come by and people have to make different arrangements for how they get these delivered to their area.”

Toronto, with 270 000 Jews, is a significant kosher market. In a price comparison of a whole kosher chicken across the continents, Jewish Report ascertained that kosher chicken comes out cheapest in Johannesburg as opposed to Britain, Toronto, and Melbourne.

Turning to kosher restaurants, the paper notes, “South Africa has a good selection of kosher restaurants, some of which have even become a favorite of overseas visitors who return to foreign shores raving about.”

What Sanctions? Iran Receives 13 Tons of Gold From S. Africa

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

The Central Bank of Iran took deliver of 13 tons of Iran’s gold reserves from South Africa, worth close to $12 billion, Iranian Bank Governor Volilollah Seif announced on Wednesday, according to IRNA.

Seif said that Iran’s delegation to Vienna had taken up the issue of the gold reserves last week, in the course of the nuclear talks. Once again, Iran got everything it asked for.

Seif explained that the shipments of Iranian gold reserves, purchased from South Africa two years ago, had been blocked due to the sanctions.

The Central Bank governor confirmed that three shipments had been returned to the central bank since the start of the week, and on Tuesday night “the last parcel of that gold reserve, weighing four tons, arrived in Iran and was delivered to the safe of the CBI.”

Around $100 billion of Iranian assets have been frozen by the various sanctions, though sanctions were supposed to still be suspended until a deal was reached on Iran’s nuclear program as well as its support for terrorist organizations and developing ballistic missiles.

Iran already received $4.2 billion in thawed assets under the 2013 interim agreement with the US, followed by another $2.8 billion that the Obama administration freed last year to keep Iran at the negotiating table.

Iran has already been able to free up some 20% of its frozen assets, around $19 billion. At best, that’s without doing anything, and at worse, that’s while continuing to rush towards a nuclear bomb.

So much for sanctions.

Hillel Rabbi Proud Drexel Honored Anti-Israel, Anti-America Noam Chomsky

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania bestowed an honorary degree on one of the U.S.’s most infamous anti-Israel, anti-American public figures this month. And on her Facebook page, the Hillel rabbi at Drexel posted a picture of herself with Chomsky and Drexel’s president at the ceremony.

“A representative of the Jewish community should probably not be in a photo op with him,” said one former Hillel student. “It is a bit disturbing that a figurehead of the Jewish community would allow herself to be next to him, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some students felt alienated and more hesitant to be involved in the organization after seeing such a photo.”

Drexel awarded 14 honorary degrees this year. The recipients of seven, including Chomsky, spoke at various graduation ceremonies.

Chomsky is one of the best known and most outspoken American critics of Israel. He has called the Jewish State such a consistent and extreme violator of human rights “that you hardly have to argue about it.” For that reason, he claims, U.S. military aid to Israel is in direct violation of U.S. Law. He also contends that peace proposals made by Hamas have been more “forthcoming” and sound than any proposed by Israel.

At least Chomsky rejects (sometimes) the claim that Israel is an Apartheid state. But that’s because he thinks Apartheid is too gentle a term for Israel’s treatment of Palestinian Arabs.

“To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel, at least if by ‘apartheid’ you mean South African-style apartheid. What’s happening in the Occupied Territories is much worse,” Chomsky said in an interview last year. Chomsky said that the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs is totally different than that of South African whites to blacks. He said that the “South African Nationalists needed the black population. That was their workforce. … The Israeli relationship to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is totally different. They just don’t want them. They want them out, or at least in prison.”

Although he is distressed that the BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) Movement has not yet been successful, he is very supportive of it.

Perhaps that is why it was so extraordinary to see a Hillel rabbi providing what would appear to be tantamount official support for Drexel’s decision to honor Chomsky.

Isabel de Koninck is Drexel Hillel’s executive director and campus rabbi.

A 2004 graduate of Brandeis University, de Koninck was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College from which she also completed a graduate certificate in Jewish Gender and Women’s Studies. Dee Koninck is an alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship and serves on the board of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association.

At the ceremony at which Chomsky received his honorary degree, de Koninck, wearing an academic gown, posed with Chomsky and Drexel President John A. Fry. De Koninck’s official status as Hillel director and rabbi could be seen by the university as the official Jewish imprimatur for its awarding the honor to Chomsky.

De Koninck posted the picture on her Facebook page, underneath which she wrote: “That’s me with Chomsky and President Fry!”

In addition to being virulently opposed to Israel, Chomsky is also extremely harsh in his denunciations of the United States. For example, he publicly stated that the 9/11 attacks on America were not any worse than President Clinton’s use of cruise missiles against Sudan in retaliation for bombings in Nairobi.

Chomsky also denied there was proof of Osama bin Laden’s involvement in the 9/11 attacks, and said the U.S. attack on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan would justify a retaliation scenario in which “Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.”

Boycotters Call Trips to Israel ‘Apartheid-Day Propaganda Tricks’

Friday, June 12th, 2015

South African anti-Israel groups have proven their agenda that freedom belongs to anyone who agrees with them but is a sin if anyone thinks differently.

Several groups , including the Young Communist League of South Africa and the youth wing of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party complained on Friday that the pro-Israel lobby is sponsoring trips to Israel. An e-mail from the groups stated Friday:

The Israeli lobby in South Africa is increasingly turning to old Apartheid-Day tricks to entice young South Africans and distract us from our solidarity with the Palestinian people and their progressive Israeli comrades.

The Israeli lobby is throwing free holiday propaganda trips and other gifts at young South Africans trying to undermine solidarity with the Palestinian people. One such holiday propaganda trip is planned for July 2015.

We view these holiday propaganda trips to Israel…as nothing more than ‘sanctions-busting propaganda trips.’

The statement singled out the South Africa Israel Forum, one of the organizers of trips to Israel, which it said were barred in 2012 from taking local mayors and officials to Israel.

“They now seem to be targeting students after having failed at a government level,” the groups said, obviously upset that private citizens are exposed to anyone having a different opinion.

Instead of countering with an argument, the Israeli boycotters are resorting to thought control.

A senior body of the ANC decided last December to “join the call for a cultural, academic and education boycott of Israel including travel bans for members and leaders of the ANC.”

The South African groups on Friday maintained that even a private citizen flying to Israel on a “holiday propaganda trip” is in “violation of the policies and positions of Palestinian civil society [who] call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.”

It sounded like the old Soviet Bolsheviks or the Gestapo with a stern warning:

Participation in these holiday propaganda trips to Israel, like participation in holiday propaganda trips to Apartheid South Africa, will be viewed as the crossing of a picket line, and will be met with disciplinary action….

As students and young people we should take it upon ourselves to look for un-biased opinions in order to avoid being misled by organizations geared towards spreading Israeli propaganda.

The funniest, if not saddest, line is:

The organizers of the holiday propaganda trips to Israel try to suggest, like Apartheid South Africa apologists used to claim in the 1980s, that the issue of Palestine-Israel is complicated. We maintain that the issue is simple: Israel must end its violations of international law and oppression of the Palestinian people.

The issue is so simple because it has nothing to do with reality.

It brings to mind a story of a widely-known South African woman, now deceased, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature and was part of the anti-Israel movement.

When she wanted to visit Israel for an arts festival, her colleagues berated her and rejected her argument that “she wanted to see things for herself.” Gordimer stood her ground, visited Israel and told Israeli author and leftist Amos Oz that she wanted to meet a “real-life settler.”

Oz called on me because I live near his home in Arad.

After hearing the “settler” telling her about Jewish-owned land in Judea, Gaza and Samaria, and after hearing about the largely false claims of “Palestinian ownership,” she concluded the conversation by stating:

I must say I am confused.

The South African boycotters are cordially invited to our house in the southern Hebron Hills, but I doubt if they are brave enough to hear a different opinion.

S. African Anti-Israel Jews Say Hackers Killed Tutu Plaque Unveiling

Monday, October 27th, 2014

This article first appeared in Jewish Business News

The plot thickens on the story of last Wednesday’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s unveiling of a plaque commemorating the victim of the 51-day Gaza war this summer.

An article published in Cape Times Friday suggested somebody sent a bogus email to discourage all the many hundreds of thousands of Jews who were planning to attend the unveiling ceremony. The email told them the event had been cancelled.

Ah, Mossad, have you no scruples?

JBN wrote on Friday that the event, which included an international celebrity, was attended by about 25 people – ten or so on the improvised dais, in the middle of a field outside Cape Town, and 15 or so media folks with their cameras. Missing from the evnt were South Africa’s Jews who, by media accounts, were all up in arms against Israel’s cruelty to the Palestinians who only wanted to shoot their rockets into Tel Aviv in peace.

But over the weekend we received an email from the event organizer, Leonard Shapiro, who first made an effort to educate us regarding the difference between his organization, South African Jewish Voices for a Just Peace (JVJP), and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which is an entirely different, American organization.

So, before we go any further, we must embed here that unforgettable clip fro “Life of Brian,” because all of you are thinking about it, so we might as well.

OK. Now that that’s out of your system, let’s go back to the bogus email story.

According to Cape Town, “a day prior to his attending a special event honoring the lives of Palestinians and Israelis who had died in the military conflict in Gaza, Anglican Archbishop Emeritus (that’s Tutu) says his laptop was hacked and an e-mail sent out to all those invited that the event had in fact been cancelled.”

Tutu said: “Now I don’t know how they (the hackers) thought I could postpone it when it was something that was not put together by me.”

So that’s why hundreds of thousands of pro-Palestinian South African Jews didn’t show up – they were going to – in fact, many had already reserved baby sitters and everything, but then they received that email, and, well, what are you going to do.

It couldn’t possibly have to do with the fact that there are only six pro-Palestinian South African Jews, nine at most.

There’s a problem, though, with the email story, as it was reported in the Cape Tim. The article reports. It quotes Tutu as saying: “Now I don’t know how they (the hackers) thought I could postpone it when it was something that was not put together by me.”

Tutu later told the Cape Times that “a message had been sent from his computer on Wednesday, which said the unveiling of the event was cancelled and went on to list the contact number ‘or what purported to be (the contact number),’ of one of the event’s organizers, Leonard Shapiro.”

Question: Out of the hundreds of thousands of South African Jews who received the email cancellation, not one called up Leonard Shapiro to ask what’s going on? Would there be a later date for the unveiling? Is everything all right with the elderly Archbishop?

I’ll admit the email hacking thing is brilliant – you don’t have to admit your insignificance, because the bad guys did their hacking thing to stop you in your tracks. Otherwise, that cabbage field outside Cape Town would have been smashed right through by a million pro-Hamas Jews.

Woolworths Hits Back at BDS with Lawsuit Threat

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

The South Africa-based Woolworths retail chain is threatening to sue the Boycott, Divest and Sanction group over customer and staff safety.

“Our employees, of all faiths and cultures, are telling us that they are feeling increasingly threatened by the protests,” Woolworths spokesman Babs Diamini said this week, according to South Africa’s Times Live.

“What’s more, the families of our employees have reported being abused and sworn at by BDS. If this continues we will consider taking further precautions, including legal action against the individuals involved,” Diamini said.

Just as BDS has the right to protest, said Diamini, the chain’s employees have the right to work, and its customers have the right to shop without being intimidated.

She added that it is not clear why Woolworths is being targeted and other major corporations are not, because “more than 95 percent of our food is sourced locally [and] the government continues to authorize trade with Israel.”

Other companies with ties to Israel include Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Danone, Nestle and Motorola. But BDS activist Mohammed Desai made it clear the movement would stay focused on Woolworths, acknowledging the group could not tackle every target at once.

“For now, Woolworths is our target. They are making a grave mistake by ignoring us and if we go to all those retailers our campaign will be diluted.”

BDS activists have demonstrated at more than 40 protests targeting Woolworths around South Africa. The group says it plans to raise the pressure at the retail giant’s annual general meeting on November 26.

Woolworths Holdings Limited is a South African chain of retail stores and one of the largest in the country, modeled on Marks & Spencer of the United Kingdom. The Woolworths brand incorporates a series of food stores, some of which are attached to department stores, while others stand alone or are attached to Engen petrol stations in prosperous urban areas. Some branches include an in-store restaurant, branded as “Cafe W”. Woolworths goods are sold at 149 corporate stores, 51 international franchise stores throughout the rest of Africa and the Middle East and 69 South African franchise stores nationwide. The chain was named after the United States chain F. W. Woolworth Company but, because of the contemporary trademark laws, the name was legally used without permission. No financial connection ever existed between the companies.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/woolworths-hits-back-at-bds-with-lawsuit-threat/2014/10/05/

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