SAJBD condemns ANC WCape's anti-Semitic remarks

Board says Faiez Jacobs has effectively supported Sharon Davids’ bizarre statements on the "Jewish mafia"

SAJBD responds to further antisemitic comments from ANC WC

27 February 2018

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) and SAJBD (Cape Council) condemn in the strongest terms the reprehensible statements made by ANC MPL Sharon Davids and the attempts since made by ANC Provincial Secretary Faiez Jacobs to justify them. The SAJBD (Cape Council) received the following statement from the Western Cape ANC spokesperson, Yonele Diko on behalf of the Provincial Secretary Faiez Jacobs, in response to MPP Sharon Davids’ antisemitic remarks in the Western Cape legislature on 23 February 2018:

… “Anti-Semitism is however not a scaremongering tool to whip others in line and to prevent them from interrogating the truth. If there is an illicit relationship between DA and Some Jewish aligned formations for whatever reasons, such must be interrogated without fear or prejudice. We will therefore be talking to Sharon Davids to understand the context in which the remarks were made. A full statement will be released after the engagement with Davids”…

Last week ANC MPL Sharon Davids accused the DA of having fabricated the Day Zero water crisis in order to obtain desalination contract kickbacks from what she referred to as the “Jewish mafia”. Such allegations amount to a racist smear campaign against the Jewish community. The surfacing of such clearly antisemitic conspiracy theories are particularly disturbing in view of the very difficult situation that the people of Cape Town find themselves in and the potential this creates for seeking convenient scapegoats for what has gone wrong.

Davids has since attempted to backtrack on her remarks, claiming that she had referred only to a ‘foreign-based company’ and ‘Israel-based people’. However, this is belied by her own words.  Davids referred to a ‘Jewish mafia’. She further attributed the opposition to Patricia de Lille within the DA to the fact that she had opposed the award of a property to the Jewish community for purposes of building a Jewish day school.

Instead of outright condemnation of Davids’ bizarre statements Jacobs has effectively supported her. Suggesting that her antisemitism is a result of something that Jews have done is a classic form of racist victim blaming.  The ANC of Nelson Mandela is not anti-Semitic. It is a movement that has always prided itself on its unequivocal repudiation of any form of racism and related bigotry, yet, we see Ms. Davids propagating such theories: In terms of what she claims, the Democratic Alliance is supposedly pursuing a pro-Jewish agenda against the best interests of the greater population of Cape Town. These allegations are factually incorrect and amount to a racist smear campaign against the Jewish community..

This is not the first time that ANC leaders in the Western Cape have made antisemitic comments that have gone unchallenged by the ANC, who have failed to condemn them or even distance themselves from such inflammatory remarks. Former party provincial leader Marius Fransman did so on a number of occasions in 2013.  Tony Ehrenreich, then ANC CT City councillor, incited violence against the Jewish community.  Both cases are awaiting findings at the SAHRC.

We urgently call on the ANC Nationally and in the Western Cape to show it is genuinely committed to fighting racism in whatever form it arises.  The ANC must distance itself from these remarks and justifications and speak out clearly that this is an unacceptable narrative. As always, we are available to engage on this issue.   

Issued by Rael Kaimowitz SAJBD (Cape Council) Chairman and Shaun Zagnoev SAJBD National Chairman, 27 February 2018