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COSATU letter incited hatred against Jewish community

Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein - Mary Kluk - Avrom Krengel
31 July 2012

Chief Rabbi, SAZF and SAJB say Patrick Craven's statement venomous and an affront to civilised discourse

Letter from the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, SA Zionist Federation and Office of the Chief Rabbi to COSATU General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, July 31 2012

Mr Zwelinzima Vavi
Secretary General
COSATU
Fax: (011) 4030803

31 July 2012

Dear Mr Vavi

We are writing to you in our joint capacity as the three main representative communal bodies of the South African Jewish community, namely the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, SA Zionist Federation and Office of the Chief Rabbi of the Union of Orthodox Synagogues.

The purpose of this letter is to object in the strongest terms to statements made by Mr. Craven, National Spokesperson for the Congress of South African Trade Unions in a communication to Reverend Inkosi, Phakama Shembe, spiritual leader of the Shembe Church on 27 June 2012. This letter was subsequently released to the general media in the form of an official statement by COSATU. Its purpose was to dissuade the Shembe Church from participating in a march in support of the State of Israel scheduled to take place in Pretoria the following day.

It must be unequivocally stressed at this point that it is not the fact of COSATU's having taken this course of action that we object to. In a democratic society such as ours, everyone is entitled to express an opinion, even if this means robustly disagreeing with the standpoint of others.

However, this right should not be seen as a license to demonize, abuse and incite hatred against those who hold such contrary viewpoints, nor does it make blatant misrepresentations of objective facts permissible. In this regard, in terms of both tone and content, Mr. Craven's letter far exceeded the boundaries of what can reasonably regarded as fair and decent political discourse. Indeed, a court of law might well find that certain sections, and perhaps the letter as a whole, constitute constitutionally prohibited hate speech. Furthermore, Mr Craven's letter is replete with many distortions of the truth and factual inaccuracies, which are used to defame the State of Israel together with the South African Jewish community.

In moving on to note the actual contents of the letter, we will of necessity confine ourselves to those we consider to be particularly objectionable. First and perhaps foremost is his characterization of the SA Zionist Federation as a group "whose hands are dripping with the blood of our sisters and brothers in Palestine". There can surely be no excuse for such inflammatory, and indeed libelous, rhetoric, regardless of what COSATU's stance on the Israeli- Palestinian conflict might be. It is relevant to add that the SAZF is amongst South Africa's oldest, as well as most broadly representative, Jewish organisations in the country. For this reason, false and overheated accusation s of direct complicity in crimes against humanity inevitably constitutes incitement to hatred against the Jewish community as a whole.

On several occasions, Mr. Craven falsely characterizes the Zionist ideology as being an expression of Jewish racial superiority exercised at the expense of the non-Jewish world in general and the Palestinian population in particular.

He does not confine his vitriol to Zionism as a national-political movement, but also makes overt and very ugly inferences about the Jewish religion as well.

Denying by omission the historic and religious connection of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, Craven writes that "... Their occupation and the theft of the land and natural resource of the indigenous people is nothing but a legalisation of Jewish supremacy to further dehumanise everyone outside their scope of Zionist purity...." Further on, he declares that "Zionism refers to those that believe in a state exclusively for the ruling supremacists at the expense of the indigenous Palestinian people because they view themselves as ordained by God to do all it takes to defend their privileged position".

All of this serves to propagate, ostensibly under the guise of anti-Zionism, one of the vilest antisemitic canards, namely that Jews regard non-Jews with contempt and will stop at nothing to advance themselves at their expense.

Such venomous rhetoric has characterized anti-Jewish propaganda throughout history, frequently with lethal results.

In addition to distorting the theological concept of Jewish "chosen-ness", falsely characterizing it as an expression of Jewish racial superiority in clear contradistinction to the way Jewish theologians have always understood it, Craven even seek to stir up anti-Jewish feeling within the Christian community. Specifically, he writes the Israeli town of Nazareth is "part of historic Palestine", that the majority of its inhabitants are descended from the very people who lived there during the time Jesus did and that these "descendants of Jesus" were now being harassed by the Israelis.

What this does is not only to brazenly deny the well-established facts of Jewish history, which is inextricably bound up with the Land of Israel, but also ironically to contradict Christian theological tradition as well. No believing Christian, after all, denies that Jesus was a Jew who lived and preached among fellow Jews. Such outrageous theological and historical revisionism has, unfortunately, become part and parcel of official Palestinian propaganda in the contemporary era. The question is why COSATU should choose to endorse it.

There is a great deal more in Patrick Craven's letter that breaches the boundaries of civilized debate. This certainly true of how Black South African Christians, who of their own free will are amongst the most committed and sincere supporters of Israel, are portrayed as having been hoodwinked and manipulated by white Zionist Jews just as certain blacks were persuaded to collaborate with the apartheid regime. In addition to depicting South African Jews as a manipulative, untrustworthy force, this appeals to anti-white racial resentment and grossly insults the intelligence of pro-Zionist black Christians.

Taken as a whole, this letter issued in the name of COSATU is an affront to civilized discourse. It is an inflammatory, hate-filled attack on the integrity of the Jewish community leadership as well as on the deeply-held convictions of the great majority of its members. This, surely, is not the way South Africans talk to one another.

Indeed, Mr Craven's letter is so vulgar and aggressive in its tone and content that it is far beyond the pale of ethical behaviour and constitutes a violation of the most basic values of our Constitution, such as dignity and equality.

Therefore, we call upon COSATU to distance itself from such an aberration and to commit itself to a dialogue and discourse with its fellow South Africans that is in keeping with our South African dream of a society based on human dignity and respect for all.

Yours sincerely

Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein - UOS SA Chairman

Mrs Mary Kluk - SAJBD

Mr Avrom Krengel - Chairman, SAZF

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Comments

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 responses to this article

Craven's delusions

Don't worry about it Warren. Patrick Craven is a has-been politico.

Everyone knows this and consequently little attention is paid to his purile utterences.

by Ivan on July 31 2012, 18:44
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Hatred speech is increasing
And it needs to stop.

by Nasdaq7 on July 31 2012, 19:05
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Zionism's Hypocrisy
Craven is just trying to follow Avrom Krengel's lead in hateful speech, in that case, against Judge Richard Goldstone. Being Cosatu, Craven doesn't succeed in coming nowhere near the level of viciousness reached by the complainant.
How quickly they . .more

by Questor on July 31 2012, 20:47
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If you think this is bad...
...just wait until the citizenry as a whole start to get disenchanted with the ANC dictatorship and their fellow travellers.
It is common cause that Craven is a fundamentalist ideologue and as such cannot be trusted by anyone--even less so by those . .more

by Plutarch on July 31 2012, 21:00
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Anti Semitism
Disgraceful facist tirade. Lay hate speech charges.

by Sporo on August 01 2012, 06:21
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Ignorant and hostile
It is regrettable and offensive. The Jewish contribution to SA and the world has been magnanimous. Craven's opinion has always been distorted.
(non Jew)

by Wizard on August 01 2012, 06:58
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It was a zionist who prosecuted Mandela
@Wizard I suppose part of that magnanimous contribution to SA was the role of Percy Yutar, a leading zionist, in sending Nelson Mandela to jail. Another part was the weapons Israel sold to Apartheid South Africa and the unconditional support given to . .more

by Max on August 01 2012, 08:46
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Jewish progressive lawyers in SA
Everyone remembers that Percy Yutar was a Jew. Does anyone comment on the fact that the following lawyers who defended Mandela and others in a host of major political trials were also Jewish: Isie Maisels, Sydney Kentridge, Arthur Chaskalson, Joel Joffe, . .more

by david saks on August 01 2012, 09:03
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disgraceful
Zuma should now demonstrate his qualities as a leader and denounce Craven in no uncertain terms

by voter on August 01 2012, 09:25
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Right on David Saks, and a few more...

Such as Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, Joe Slovo, Ron Press, Ike Horwitz, Esther and Hymie Barsel, Ruth First, Percy Cohen, Dennis Goldberg and a couple of hundred more I could probably mention if I had an extra five minutes. But you know a lot of them, . .more

by Domza on August 01 2012, 09:43
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@Max
To accuse the Jews of being hostile to the ANC is the exact opposite of the truth. The ANC military wing, and the terrorism campaign against white South Africans, is entirely attributable to Jews. Black ANC members were simply the foot soldiers, the bomb . .more

by John on August 01 2012, 09:52
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patrick craven
This guy is a vacuous nobody who can only communicate in cliches and stuff he has learned like the parrot that he (and indeed leftists in general) is/ are.
It is essential that you charge him with hate speech. Please do it!

by martin on August 01 2012, 09:54
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Just another fascist masquerading as a lefty
Patrick Craven, like so many people of the Left, manifests all the hallmarks of fascism -- intolerance, racism, anti-Semitism, and adherence to ideology regardless of the facts and common sense.

Normally such people in civilised societies are a . .more

by Benjamin Blair on August 01 2012, 10:36
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@Just another fascist masquerading...
Whoa! You say: "Patrick Craven, LIKE SO MANY PEOPLE OF THE LEFT, manifests all the hallmarks of fascism -- intolerance, racism, anti-Semitism"

... but the title says: " fascist masquerading as a lefty"?

Sorry Benji, you sound like a . .more

by John on August 01 2012, 11:04
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@Benjamin Blair
Just in case I wasn't clear above...it just too typical for lefties to project onto others. For example, if you asked almost anyone whether the Ku Klux Klan in the US were Republican or Democrat, they'd say "Republican".

The truth is that they . .more

by John on August 01 2012, 11:16
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@Benjamin Blair
In case it's not clear what I'm trying to say above: it's just so typical of lefties to project their characteristics onto others.

For example, take the Ku Klux Klan in the USA. If you ask the majority of people whether the Klan were Republican . .more

by John on August 01 2012, 11:20
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@All
Sorry about the repeat above. When I submitted and refreshed my browser it didn't display my comment -- so I re-wrote it.

by John on August 01 2012, 11:24
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Several points
1. I did not see the original article and you dont quote parts of it, but If you feel its hatred speech, take SACP to court, and get a judgement.

2. Apparently Craven's letter/statement was to dissuade the Shembe Church from participating in a . .more

by Alto on August 01 2012, 11:27
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Hate speech
Hate speech simply has to stop. But our government allows it, condones it, perhaps even promotes it. Nobody knows the results of this evil practice better than the Jews.We all know where it stems from: pure, common, ugly jealousy. Throughout history . .more

by Tess on August 01 2012, 11:28
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Jews or Zionists?
@david saks Yes those progressives were/are Jews, but are they zionists? I purposefully used the word zionist, but you continue to confuse Jews with zionists, which are not the same. Zionists are those who believe in the colonial occupation of Palestine. . .more

by Max on August 01 2012, 11:30
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antisemitism
What else to expect from craven Craven ?

by witbooi on August 01 2012, 11:35
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there are legal remedies
If anyone thinks his Constitutional rights have been invaded he is within his rights to lay a charge.
I need hardly remind you that he would not have been able to do so under the apartheid regime.
let the courts decide.
All this whigeing is . .more

by . on August 01 2012, 11:38
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Why Shembe?
- Perhaps something for news to invetigate

Why the Shembe Church? Are they linked to Israelies in any way? Do they share a common feeling about Israel? Do they have shared land interests?

If the Shembe's as a community feel . .more

by Somethings not right here? on August 01 2012, 12:24
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Jewish anti-apartheid lawyers
In response to Max, Isie Maisels (who headed the defense team in the Treason Trial) was a past president of the SA Zionist Federation and later served on the executive of the Jewish Agency for IsraEL (the first South African to do so). Maurice Franks was . .more

by david saks on August 01 2012, 12:31
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Why not Shembe and 60 Million Evangelical Christian in America?
Why not the Shembe, why not the 60 Million Evangelical Christians in America - who gives you the right to judge thier faith and decisions?

by Something is definitely right here ! on August 01 2012, 12:33
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Why Shembe?
" Somethings not right here? " asks "Do they share a common feeling ... ? " - maybe you haven't heard but it is actually called The Bible !

by Something is definitely right here ! on August 01 2012, 12:37
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Who are the ANC & its Allies
The are Africa's NEW NAZIS

by Democrat on August 01 2012, 13:09
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@max
What is this "colonial occupation of Palestine" rubbish? Palestine was the Jewish homeland for 4000 years until their resistance to Roman imperialism got them forced off the land. Its their land.

by pietie on August 01 2012, 13:56
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Joy of Saks

Amandla, Cde Saks!

Don't forget Wolfie Kodesh, Albie Sachs, Solly Sachs, Ben Turok and Ronnie Kasrils.

Hi there Ronnie if you are reading this!

by Domza on August 01 2012, 14:03
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Ivan is correct
Rabbi,moenie worrie nie ,ol Paddy is a failed English 70's Commie unionist.He is anachronistic,narrow and a spent force.He lives out his Commie faith here now because it gives his dry,barren soul comfort
His utterances ,like so many of his ilk before . .more

by Pedro on August 01 2012, 14:59
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@Max
Clearly your knowledge of the Jewish people and Jewish nation is limited and one sided. Many Jews played a very active role against apartheid and even to the point of making themselves unpopular with the previous government. Israel is the only real . .more

by Wizard on August 01 2012, 21:33
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Domza is Back!
The ANC's (and the Commies) chief apologist is back to irritate all and sundry - But is Domza a "deployed" ANC Blogger and is he being paid? Did he graduate from the same "Blog School" as DOT?

by Democrat on August 02 2012, 07:37
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You mean, am I a "hasbara" for the ANC?

No.


by Domza on August 02 2012, 14:12
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Jewish Leadership Letter to COSATU
I find the South African Jewish Leadership's response to the disgusting COSATU letter a very poor example of "leadership". This is not the first of COSATU's disgraceful anti- Jewish/Zionist utterances and the "Leadership's" response, is nothing more than . .more

by RussellG on August 02 2012, 15:46
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Cosatu are insignificant on the world stage
The truth of the matter is the South Africa and specifically COSATU are irrelevant on the world stage and specifically when it comes to Israeli politics. The only reason COSATU`s comments have relevance is because there is a Jewish community in South . .more

by Josh on August 02 2012, 15:57
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COSATU and Ahmadinejad
"It has now been some 400 years that a horrendous Zionist clan has been ruling the major world affairs, and behind the scenes of the major power circles, in political, media, monetary and banking organizations in the world, they have been the decision . .more

by Josh on August 02 2012, 16:11
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Craven is a tool
I quote from Craven's letter to the Shembe:
"We blacks who suffered under, and struggled against, apartheid "
Lilly-white Patrick Craven talking in the name "we blacks" - hilarious

by joetalin on August 02 2012, 16:19
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Cosatu / Craven and their ilk!!
Absolute disgusting comments from the above...no wonder this"former" great country has degenerated to the 3world banana republic it now leads in the world rankings
Craven should be charged with treason and jailed accordingly -should be sent back to . .more

by Truthman on August 02 2012, 16:48
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Let's just c4 now!
Roundm up 'n blowm up

by Shear khan on August 02 2012, 19:46
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Trade Unions and Israel
Trade Unions in Israel was born long before Vavi and Graven were born.
I have questions to Cosatu: 1) Why the Cosatu don't have relation with representativs of Israel working class? 2) Which Muslim country has trade union
movement in the M. . .more

by Valeri on August 02 2012, 20:21
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The Zionist apartheidt state....LOL.
israel ..they gots trade unions.

but, trade unions in the m.e. thassa a funnee..
LOL, that krax me up.

Partner, let me tell you something, U go try start your trade union in iran, or saudi, syria,......then you'll learn all about . .more

by andrew gawronsky on August 02 2012, 21:37
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What did Madiba say about Jews, the overwhelming majority of whom are Zionists?
“I have found Jews to be more broadminded than most whites on issues of race and politics, perhaps because they themselves have historically been victims of prejudice." NELSON MANDELA

by eish on August 02 2012, 22:44
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What did Fidel Castro say about Jews, the overwhelming majority of whom are Zionists?
"I don't think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews."

by aish on August 02 2012, 22:48
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What did Craven say about Zionism, which is supported by the overwhelming majority of Jews?
an expression of Jewish racial superiority

by eesh on August 02 2012, 22:51
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We must stand up to th etyranny of the mob
The Craven Mr Craven. COSATU wants to own Africans, our diverse religious cultures, our political affiliations, and social lives. It is intolerant of religious groups who assert their autonomy. It feels compelled to brainwash people into its vacuous . .more

by rhoda kadalie on August 02 2012, 23:17
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Jewish leadership response to Craven/COSATU
Excellent Jewish leadership response to Craven & COSATU.

The no-nonsense and forthright quality of the reply to the COSATU bully boys makes me feel like a proud & free Jew in a democratic South Africa!

David Abel.

by David Abel on August 03 2012, 09:29
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COSATU
Dear Rabbi Goldstein,
What an utter waste of your time writing to COSATU.
It would be far more productive if a charge of hate speach was laid.

by H. Taback on August 03 2012, 21:23
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Facts

Wonderful piece of propaganda, Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein - Mary Kluk - Avrom Krengel, but Israel's actions against the imprisoned Palistinians speak louder than words. And shame all Jews.

by Dinks on August 07 2012, 08:47
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