South African Jews protest anti-Semitic ANC post

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies files a formal complaint with the country’s Human Rights Commission over an anti-Semitic Facebook post by a official from the African National Congress, the ruling party.

On Saturday, Rene Smit, from the party’s Cape Town branch, posted on her Facebook page an image of Adolf Hitler entitled “Yes, man, you were right,” followed by the words “I could have killed all the Jews, but I left some of them to let you know why I was killing them.”

Such hateful discourse is unacceptable in South Africa, says board chairperson Mary Kluk. “The message conveyed by the post was that the nature of Jewish people everywhere is so intrinsically evil as to have justified the murder of six million Jews at the hands of the Nazis,” she says. “Freedom of expression is an important democratic value but it cannot be allowed to take the form of hateful rhetoric against others, whether on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity or any other such grounds.”

Smit’s post constitutes a serious breach of the Prohibition of Hate Speech as contained in The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, the Board of Deputies says in a statement. Specifically, Smit violated the prohibition of unfair discrimination by way of “the dissemination of any propaganda or idea, which propounds the racial superiority or inferiority of any person,” the organization says.

“The material published by her further breached the fundamental rights to equality and human dignity as enshrined in the Bill of Rights, and constituted potential incitement to violence against Jews in particular.”

Raphael Ahren

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