Turning to the police and the South African Human Rights Commission, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) initiated on Thursday both criminal and civil charges against Tony Ehrenreich, provincial secretary of the Western Cape branch of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, for hate speech and incitement to violence against the Jewish community’s leadership.
Ehrenreich published a post on August 13 on his Facebook page accusing the SAJBD of being “complicit in the murder of the people in Gaza” and calling for attacks on them whenever a woman or child in Gaza was killed.
“The time has come to say very clearly that if a woman or child is killed in Gaza, then the Jewish board of deputies, who are complicit, will feel the wrath of the People of SA with the age old biblical teaching of an eye for an eye,” he wrote. “The time has come for the conflict to be waged everywhere the Zionist supporters fund and condone the war killing machine of Israel.”
“Ehrenreich’s inflammatory post incites violence and hatred against the representative body for South African Jewry. What makes it even worse is the fact that he holds a leadership position within COSATU, South Africa’s largest trade union organisation. It also comes at a time of heightened tension over the Israel-Gaza conflict, thereby inflaming an already volatile situation,” said SAJBD Chairman Mary Kluk.
On Thursday, Ehrenreich denied in a tweet that he was anti-Semitic:
I am not anti simetic or calling for violence against jews. I do say stop being polite in responding to Isreali war crimes. +JBoD endorsment
— Tony Ehrenreich (@TonyEhrenreich) August 14, 2014