South Africa’s President Promises to Fight Anti-Semitism

September 19, 2014  

South African president Jacob Zuma has emphasized that his government is committed to combating anti-Semitism, reports The Jewish Daily Forward.

Zuma made the comments in a meeting with the leadership of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) on Thursday night.

The meeting was held to address anti-Semitism in South Africa in the wake of this summer’s conflict in Gaza.

The leaders of the SAJBD briefed President Zuma on the rise in anti-Semitic activity and discussed ways in which South Africa could contribute to a peaceful two-state solution in Israel.

“It showed a real commitment to the South African Jewish community,” said Zev Krengel, president of the SAJBD, according to The Jewish Daily Forward.

“And we were impressed by his commitment in not only engaging in South Africa but also his engagement on Israel.”

President Zuma was accompanied by Maite Emily Nkoana-Mashabane, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, and Jeffrey Radebe, the Minister in the Presidency.

The SAJBD was represented by Krengel and SAJBD National Chairman Mary Kluk. Jonathan Silke and Ben Swartz of the South African Zionist Federation also attended the meeting. Both sides were encouraged and agreed to meet in the future to continue to address the problems they discussed.

“From our point of view, his commitment is to engage, not to disengage,” Krengel said.

Anti-Semitism has been on the rise throughout the world since Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. A World Zionist Organization study in August found that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the world jumped 383% in July as compared to the same month the previous year, with Europe showing a 436% increase.

There has been anti-Semitism in South Africa as well, one such example being a local official who called on Facebook for an “eye for an eye against Zionist aggression”.

Another incident involved South Africa’s former President, Thabo Mbeki, who called for a boycott of Israeli goods to show solidarity with Palestinian Arabs.

Zuma himself, while voicing outrage over civilian deaths in Israel’s campaign in Gaza, distanced himself from calls to expel the Israeli ambassador from South Africa.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

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