Unterhalter: JSC Interviews once again reveal shocking bias – SAJBD

Depiction of Board as a `bullying’ organisation is a baseless and highly offensive smear

JSC Interviews once again reveal shocking bias

5 October 2021

The JSC interviews yesterday degenerated into a “Groundhog Day” for the Jewish community.  Once again a Jewish candidate for the constitutional court, Judge Unterhalter, was targeted for his association with the democratically elected representative body of the Jewish community, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD).

The reason the interviews needed to be repeated was due to CASAC’s High Court challenge of the initial JSC Constitutional Court interviews.  CASAC argued that “Party political considerations and political agendas should play no role in the JSC’s decisions and processes”.  This was again the case.

Commissioner Madonsela grilled Unterhalter on his membership of the SAJBD. In a series of four questions Commissioner Madonsela’s political agenda was distinctly evident, particularly his comment, “it seems to me that the fundamental premise of the objection is the assertion that the SAJBD is a body that is pro-Zionist and that is in fact bullying all their people and organisations who are objecting to the Israeli establishment in the Palestine Region.”

The depiction of the SAJBD as a `bullying’ organisation is a baseless and highly offensive smear against an organisation whose mandate is to protect South African Jews’ civil rights.  If anyone should be accused of bullying it is Commissioner Madonsela, whose factually inaccurate, prejudicial and irresponsible assertions have no place in an interview to assess judicial competence.  The SAJBD objects strenuously to this vile characterisation of our organisation.

We find it indefensible that a person’s association with a body that protects Jews’ human rights in our country could preclude them from public office.

We will be addressing these issues with the JSC.

Issued by Wendy Kahn, SAJBD, 5 October 2021