The ANC and anti-semitism

Paul Trewhela writes that deputy minister Fatima Hajaig has betrayed a long and honourable tradition

On 18th January, David Saks reported on the Mail&Guardian blog that at a solidarity rally for Palestine organised by Cosatu in Lenasia the previous week, "Deputy Foreign Minister Fatima Hajaig informed a deliriously cheering crowd that America, as well as other Western countries, was in the grip of Jewish money power". (See here). Saks described this as the "first instance of public Jew-baiting by a member of government in over half a century" (that is, since the first decade of government by the National Party, with its residual sympathies for the racist totalitarian regime of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany and its genocidal conquest of most of Europe).

Saks quoted Ms Hajaig as stating: "They [ie, the Jews] 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."

Saks reported that this remark by Ms Hajaig "was greeted with a particularly enthusiastic roar of appreciation by the audience". He noted that various other speakers at the rally also "made threatening statements against the local Jewish community".

In the following week, Politicsweb reported a statement by five anti-racist activists in South Africa, who wrote that they had sent a fax to Ms Hajaig on 21st January asking her to deny by 26th January having made the anti-Semitic remark attributed to her, but had received no reply. They had, however "received confirmation of receipt of our fax". (See here).

One must conclude that the Deputy Foreign Minister's remark was accurately reported. It is identical in spirit with the Charter of the Palestinian Islamist organisation, Hamas, adopted in 1987, which states that Jews have accumulated "huge and influential wealth", which it states Jews use to implement their "dream". According to Hamas, this wealth supposedly permitted Jews to foment both the French (1789) and the Russian (1917) revolutions so as to "fulfil their interests and pick up the fruit", as well as start both world wars and "promote clandestine organisations which are spreading around the world to destroy societies and promote Zionist interests", among which Hamas lists the Freemasons, Rotary clubs and Lions clubs.

The programme of Hamas, with which the African National Congress now appears to have aligned itself at governmental level, is indeed a racist and genocidal programme. This is evidenced by Article Seven in the Charter of Hamas, which incorporates a direct incitement to the murder of Jews from a well-known Hadith (or reputed saying of the prophet, Mohammed). Article Seven of the Hamas Charter states, "The Prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: 'The [end of days] will not come until Muslims fight the Jews and kill them; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: 'Oh, Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him!''"

Ms Hajaig's remark aligns the foreign policy of the South Africa, governed by the ANC under the presidency of Jacob Zuma, with an anti-Semitic totalitarian programme which replicates the forgery of Russian tsarism, the so-called "Protocols of the Elders of Zion".

This is the first time that the ANC, now nearly a century old, has identified itself with one of the prime ideological sources in the mass murder by the Nazi regime of six million Jews, and this in the words of a senior party official responsible for the foreign policy of the state. It is evidence of an epoch-making shift in the ANC from its previous stance of universalism and non-racialism, and suggest a similar metamorphosis in the public ideology of the South African Communist Party, the dominant influence and organiser in Cosatu, which hosted the rally in Lenasia at which these racist remarks were made.

It would be hard to imagine a more striking sign of the degeneration of the ANC from the best heights of its previous history.

Every one of the whites arrested at Lilliesleaf Farm in Johannesburg in June 1963, in the police raid that resulted in the Rivonia Trial, along with Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Elias Motsoaledi and Ahmed Kathrada, was Jewish. Denis Goldberg, who was arrested at that time and who was the only white person sentenced to life imprisonment in that trial, alongside Nelson Mandela, was Jewish. Goldberg served 23 years in Pretoria prison. The second longest-serving white political prisoner, David Kitson, sentenced to 20 years in Pretoria prison for his role in the second tier of of leadership of Umkhonto weSizwe following the Rivonia arrests - a sentence served in full - was also Jewish.

Joe Slovo, Chief of Staff of Umkhonto weSizwe, was Jewish, as was his assassinated wife, Ruth First. It would be pointless, as well as tasteless, to enumerate in full the names of Jews who contributed with a lifetime of struggle to the placing of ANC government in office, through the removal of the racial criterion in politics in South Africa - many of them, like Slovo, or Eli Weinberg, or Ray Alexander, Jews who had members of their birth family (brothers, sisters, aunts, cousins) murdered by the advocates of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.


It would take a re-writing of history worthy of the calibre of a Joseph Stalin, or a burning of books worthy of a Joseph Goebbels, to refashion a history of the ANC worthy of the spirit of Ms Hajaig's remarks about "Jewish money", a remark that historically has served as the prelude and excuse for the spilling of Jewish blood.

One is bound to ask: where does this remark by the Deputy Foreign Minister leave her fellow Minister in government, Dr Z Pallo Jordan, the Minister for Arts and Culture, whose partner, Sue Rabkin, is Jewish? (Ms Rabkin, who worked for Umkhonto weSizwe in Mozambique, is the widow of David Rabkin, also a member of Umkhonto, who was killed in Angola in a training accident in 1985, and who was also...Jewish. David Rabkin was given a hero's funeral, and commemorated by the SACP here).

Further, where does it place Ben Turok, my old prison comrade, now the oldest member of Parliament, who "learned of serious anti-Semitism" in Russia while on a visit with his parents to the Soviet Union to see his uncles in 1974, when an old friend of the family told him that Soviet government "bore no relation to socialism but was based on nepotism"? (Nothing but the Truth, Jonathan Ball, 2003, p.232).

It suggests too that the ANC's tribute to the late Helen Suzman, also ...Jewish, who died on New Year's Day, (see here) was just a little less than sincere.

Coming from a politician with senior responsibility for South Africa's relations with the world, Ms Hajaig's anti-Semitic remark is a defining moment in the history of the country, a moment when a shift in the tectonic plates of South Africa's social, political, cultural and intellectual life indicated that the old, old demon of racism is far from dead in the chancelleries of government.

As the French would say, Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Thank you for enlightening us, Comrade.