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Fatima Hajaig challenged over alleged anti-semitic remarks

Zackie Achmat, Jonathan Berger, Nathan Geffen, Doron Isaacs, Faizel Slamang
26 January 2009

Letter from Zackie Achmat, Jonathan Berger, Nathan Geffen and others to the deputy minister of foreign affairs

On 21 January 2009, we wrote to Ms Fatima Hajaig, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, asking her to confirm or deny an allegation that she made the following antisemitic statement at a rally,

"They in fact control [America]. No matter which government comes in to power, whether Republican or Democratic, whether Barack Obama or George Bush. The control of America, just like the control of most Western countries, is in the hands of Jewish money and if Jewish money controls their country then you cannot expect anything else." [Source: David Saks on Mail & Guardian Thoughtleader Blog - see here]

We asked for a response by 26 January 2009 but have received none. (We have however received confirmation of receipt of our fax.) The alleged remark is an affront to dignity. It is unacceptable for a person who makes racist comments to continue being a deputy minister. We therefore call for Ms Hajaig to respond urgently to the allegation that has been made. If she continues to fail to respond, it can be reasonably assumed that the allegation is accurate. We also ask people or organisations with a recording or transcript of Ms Hajaig's precise words to make this evidence public.

Our letter to Ms Hajaig is below.

Zackie Achmat
Jonathan Berger
Nathan Geffen
Doron Isaacs
Faizel Slamang
21 January 2009

Ms Fatima Hajaig
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
PRETORIA 0001

Per fax and email

Dear Deputy Minister

ALLEGATIONS OF ANTISEMITISM

We are deeply concerned about the recent invasion of Gaza. We are also deeply concerned by the manner in and the extent to which the South African Jewish Board of Deputies has expressed its unqualified support for Israel's attack which left over 1,200 people dead. Three of us, who are members of the Jewish community, have signed a widely published statement in this regard (see here).

In addition, we are concerned about a number of antisemitic and Islamophobic responses to the crisis in the Middle East that have exacerbated existing tensions between Jewish and Muslim communities. In our view, these statements are an affront to dignity. They also make it difficult for members of both communities to engage in rational debate.

It is in this light that we would like to draw your attention to a weblog entry posted on the Mail & Guardian site Thought Leader on 19 January 2009, in which a writer provides an account of a meeting held at the Lenasia Community Hall on 14 January 2009 in solidarity with the people of Gaza.

According to various media reports and the online piece (see here) you attended and addressed the meeting. The piece further alleges that you informed the audience that "America, as well as other Western countries, was in the grip of Jewish money power." In particular, it quotes you as follows:

"They in fact control [America]. No matter which government comes in to power, whether Republican or Democratic, whether Barack Obama or George Bush. The control of America, just like the control of most Western countries, is in the hands of Jewish money and if Jewish money controls their country then you cannot expect anything else".

As none of us was at the meeting, we are not able to verify the veracity of the alleged statements. However, we have no reason to believe that a person in your position, who has taken an oath (or solemn affirmation) to obey, respect and uphold the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, would make such comments.

Nevertheless, we have no option but to request that you clarify whether you have been quoted correctly. If you have indeed been misquoted, we trust that you will have no problem distancing yourself from such hateful comments and clarifying the content of your address.

Given the urgency and seriousness of this matter, we would appreciate a response by Monday 26 January 2009.

Yours sincerely

Jonathan Berger
Doron Isaacs
Zackie Achmat
Faizel Slamang
Nathan Geffen

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They in fact control [America]. No matter which government comes in to power, whether Republican or Democratic, whether Barack Obama or George Bush. The control of America, just like the control of most Western countries, is in the hands of Jewish money and if Jewish money controls their country then you cannot expect anything else".
Reported remarks of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Fatima Hajaig
 

Comments

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 responses to this article

Impressed
While the letter referred to in the above article was tantamount to nonsense, on the basis of "proportionality", and "collective punishment", i must commend these people for writing this note.

Our media has been unbalanced, vitriolic and . .more

by Saffir on January 27 2009, 00:15
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South African Dep Foreign Minister's Comments about Jewish Lobbies in USA EU
What is "Anti - Semitic" ? Palestinians are Arab & Arabs are a "Semitic" people. Is the 'collective punishment' of Gaza population "Anti- Semitic" then??
Why should the activities & influence of the"Jewish" Lobby in USA EU escape scrutiny & . .more

by F Dar on January 27 2009, 00:40
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Fatima Hajaig is a disgrace for south africa, this militant female supports..
a terrororist organization like HAMAS openly, just like the thug Julius Malema of the ANC YL, Terror Lekota of COPE is right, the ANC has corrupted south africa.

by mossad on January 27 2009, 05:42
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F Dar
dont play with words. When the phrase "anti-semitic" is used, it ALWAYS and only refers to Jews.

by js on January 27 2009, 06:30
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antisemetism!
Antisemitism is usually characterized by a combination of religious, racial, cultural and ethnic biases. I cant find any of the above in the deputy's statement. she is referring to a well known fact that has been acknowledged by many American scholars . .more

by S.Jomeh on January 27 2009, 09:02
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S Jomeh
You can't see anti-semitism because you are probably biased against Israel and Jews yourself. Don't quote "scholars", there are many who are regarded as "scholars" by those who know nothing about what those "scholars" write about and only like what . .more

by ainos on January 27 2009, 11:08
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JEWS
Their is nothing wrong with what she said.

If jews control the world through their money so be it. They deserve it. They do it through hard work and ingenuity. They are a proud nation that have done well for themselves.

Why dont the . .more

by J on January 27 2009, 11:35
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Fatima Hajaig 's Statement
JS
Arabs & Jews are 'Semitic' people. Hebrew & Arabic are related languages ":Shlaamo Aleichum" (Hebrew="Peace be on you")
"Aslaamo-Aleikum" (Arabic="Peace be on you")
GET TO KNOW THE HISTORY OF WEST ASIA,JS!
Don't be selective to score . .more

by F Dar on January 27 2009, 12:12
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Fatima Hajaig
Dear Zackie et al

Interesting times!

I congratulate you for faxing Fatima Hajaig and look forward to seeing what action you will now take. I note that you haven't received a response to your fax so the ball is now in your . .more

by BLACKLISTED DICTATOR on January 27 2009, 12:14
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Hey F Dar wake up pal
Stop changing the subject. Everyone knows what anti semitic means its been around for ages. Yes technically the word semite means people from a semitic decent which includes arabs. The point of the above article is the fact that we have a deputy . .more

by frosty on January 27 2009, 13:07
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Fatima Hajaig
If Hajaig actually guilty of such hate speech then she should go by virtue of ANC's own so-called proclaimed policies of anti-racist society. If Hajaig is guilty she is guilty of racism and must immediately be fired.

by ainos on January 27 2009, 13:35
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F Dar
I know my linguistics, F Dar. BUT, the fact remains that anti-semitic has always be associated with hatred of and discrimination against Jews. NO ONE has ever used anti-semitic to mean hatred of Arabs (and not all muslims are Arabs or all Arabs Muslim). . .more

by js on January 27 2009, 14:00
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F Dar
Dont lecture to me on linguistics. All words have a semantic origin that evolves and changes its original meaning over time. Look at the word "gay". It used to mean happy, fun loving, etc, but in the last 50 years or so became synonymous with . .more

by js on January 27 2009, 14:28
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More
and Muslims specially arabs are some of the very worst anti-semites and Jew haters in the world. They use hate language copied from the Nazis in speeches and school texts. there are several good books written about this.

by js on January 27 2009, 14:32
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jews brought it upon themselves
all the comments about ant-semitism might be justified within the jewish community, but the rest of the world cannot understand how Jews continue to use the holocaust as an excuse for their oppresive actions. We dont mind them controlling the world, but . .more

by avi on January 27 2009, 16:32
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F Dar
F Dar

You are being rather feeble, and obfuscatory. The point is actually the racist, and anti-Jewish nature of Hajaij's rhetoric. You are trying to detract from a very serious allegation - particularly in our country - by weaseling on about . .more

by Saffir on January 27 2009, 17:01
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SA Deputy Foreign Minister's Statement.
Frosty

Cool down frosty & think. Yes Jews have had long persecution & suffering with 6 million industrially gassed in 'civilized' Western Europe. But Jews & Muslims & Christians,TOGETHER, built up & maintained a great civilization for seven . .more

by F Dar on January 27 2009, 17:44
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@F Dar
Your view on history is rather simplistic and selective!

by Veritas on January 27 2009, 18:32
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MUSLIMS AGAINST RACISM
Nathan Geffen,

You have argued that the "Muslims Against Racism" petition, written by Prof Farid Esack, will help to improve relations between the South African Jewish and Muslim communities. A noble cause. Progressive. PC. Human rightist. . .more

by BLACKLISTED DICTATOR on January 28 2009, 00:51
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Jewish Money
So the world is controlled by Jewish money. Get over it. We're people who have come far through a lot of hard work. Maybe if the rest of you got up and did something for your people, you'd be in better off.

by Ariella on January 28 2009, 15:02
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A woman with balls
Finally - someone says what so many of us have been feeling for decades. And it took a woman to do that - viva Fatima, Viva!

by Themba on January 28 2009, 15:04
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right
Well said Ariella

by ack on January 28 2009, 16:12
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good move
Pleased to see that the Jewish Board of Deputies has filed a formal complaint against Hajaig with the HRC

by ack on January 28 2009, 16:28
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Yet another attempt at deflecting the real issue
If the SAJBD and Tony Leon were so concerned about racism and human rights, they would have condemned Israel for kiliing civilians and children. The Zionist distorted sense of justice is blatently glaring and the massacre in Gaza has once more shown them . .more

by Nathie on January 30 2009, 14:09
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jews
Well said minister. The current financial crises has come about as a direct result of these greedy parasites collectively sucking money out of the financial institutions under their control, and then utilising their political power to leverage the . .more

by M on January 31 2009, 06:21
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Anti-semitism
There is increased anti-semitism in Europe over the last few years. It has also increased since the attack of civilians by the IDF in Gaza. It is a symptom of the excesses of the IDF in the Middle East.

Fatima has freedom of speech. If you dont . .more

by mandla on January 31 2009, 14:28
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@Saffir
Hi again Saffir. You write of "venomous racism and anti-Semitism that has gushed out of the Muslim community unchecked." Come on, buddy, be fair. What about the venomous anti-Muslim, anti-Arab talk that comes from the Jewish community? That really is . .more

by George on January 31 2009, 18:33
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@Saffir
Just a final point - not every criticism stems from blind anti-Jewish hatred. Sometimes it's justified and needs to be considered. It does seem that AIPAC has an inordinate amount of influence in US. People notice, they don't like it, they say so. . .more

by George on January 31 2009, 18:44
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APOLOGY NOT NECESSARY
IT IS INTERESTING THAT THE SA JEWISH BOARD OF DEPUTIES IS NOT IMPRESSED BY THE DEPUTY MINISTER'S APOLOGY. IT IS APPARENT THAT THIS APARTHEID -NAZI - KILLER INSTITUTION WILL NEVER BE HAPPY. HOW DO YOU EXPECT THESE RACISTS TO BE HAPPY.
THERE WAS IN . .more

by KOTANE AV on February 04 2009, 12:30
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No Need For Achmat To Defend The Zionists
The apology by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affaris was uncalled for and will not change anything. In the first place, it is apparent that the Board of Deputies were not going to accept anything telling in their face what is true of them. It is true that . .more

by Kotane AV on February 04 2009, 13:16
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Here we go again
I wonder how closely these & other similar 'subtle' anti-semetic but clearly publicly acceptable anti-jew comments parallels the Euro thought circa '38?

by Deegee on May 03 2009, 08:41
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