The South African Jewish Board of Deputies protested Thursday what it said was a huge spike of anti-Semitic and threatening messages, in social media and in face-to-face encounters, over the previous 24 hours.
SAJBD Chairman Shaun Zagnoev said that while anti-Semitism was not uncommon, the latest comments were far more inflammatory than usual, and said extremist anti-Israel expressions had crossed over into vicious attacks on Jews.
“The posts show how easily radical anti-Israel sentiment can spill over into hateful slurs and threats against Jewish people in general,” he said in a statement. “We are being told that we are ‘scum,’ ‘rats,’ ‘bastards,’ ‘pigs,’ ‘swine,’ and ‘fat-nosed f***ks.’ We are further being warned that ‘our time is coming’ and that ‘the Holocaust will be a picnic after we are done with you.’”
The statement cited several incidents, including a tweet from one user, Matome Letsoalo, that said the Board of Deputies should be “decimated.”
— Matome Letsoalo (@JustSmartRage) June 21, 2018
In addition, travelers from Tel Aviv were verbally abused as they arrived at OR Tambo International Airport near Johannesburg on Thursday.
“You people are wicked. Jews are wicked people, very wicked people.” Just landed on the El Al Flight From Tel Aviv this morning at OR Tambo International and this is what we get upon walking into the airport ! It’s time to make Aliyah !!!
Posted by Dylan Rendel on Wednesday, 20 June 2018
Elsewhere in Johannesburg, a German flag with a swastika was painted on a wall in Hamilton Street, Coronationville.
“Every single one of these incidents is not only at attack on the Jewish community, but an attack on our very democracy,” Zagnoev said. “Racism has no place in this country.”
He said that the rise in anti-Semitism was connected to a strong anti-Israel sentiment expressed publicly in South Africa.
On Wednesday a well-known model, Shashi Naidoo, received death threats and was pressured by the anti-Israel boycott movement to apologize for posting on Facebook in defense of Israel’s actions against the Hamas terror group in Gaza, the Jewish leadership noted.
In a video apology for her post, a visibly shaken Naidoo said she had received death threats and worse, not only on her Facebook timeline but also directly to her phone.
It was no coincidence that the anti-Semitic comments were coming after the “very public humiliation” and “reeducation” of Naidoo for expressing her support for Israel Zagnoev said. “It would appear that those who support Israel are now ‘legitimate’ targets for attacks.”
Last month South Africa’s ruling party slammed Israel’s recent actions at the Gaza border, comparing the IDF’s efforts to prevent Palestinian protesters from breaching the border fence with Nazi Germany’s cruelty against Jews.