Durban’s anti-Semitism should not be commemorated – opinion



Durban is a beautiful city on the east coast of South Africa, with warm and sunny beaches, wonderful weather all year round and a holiday atmosphere.

I have nostalgic memories of my childhood aboard the Red Cable Car on the Durban Promenade, eating ice cream and swimming for hours in the Breakers.

Sadly, this was during the apartheid era, and although I was too young to comprehend, it was a time of legalized and systematic racial segregation between white and black South Africans. All of these luxuries that were offered to me were denied to black South Africans, who were not allowed to swim with me on the same beach, sit next to me at the glacier, or take a cable car ride.

South Africa’s odious apartheid system made it a pariah state, subject to international boycotts, divestments and sanctions, and apartheid became a universally condemned ideology. In 2001, seven years after the end of apartheid, a rally came to Durban to appropriate it against the Jewish state.

Historian Paul Johnson characterized anti-Semitism not simply as a form of racism, but as an “intellectual disease … extremely contagious and massively destructive”.

It is the oldest of hatreds dating back to the very origins of the Jewish people. Abraham says he feels “alien” and “inhabitant” among the Hittites of Canaan, humanizing the essence of being the first “other,” and his descendants, the Jewish people, have been historically placed against civilization throughout. the virus of anti-Semitism and its many variants.

Anti-Judaism has occurred since ancient Roman times, when Jews prayed especially to one God, as opposed to their rulers, who prayed a lot. Christianity began as a sect of Judaism, then as a separate religion, and the vilification that the Jews killed Jesus became the next permutation, which continues to this day among some Christians.

The Middle Ages began a period of false mythology against the Jews, when hatred manifested in fantasies about them poisoning Christian children, and then from the 14th century about them poisoning wells and spreading diseases (reverberating in recent anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of Jews and Israel deliberately spreading coronavirus disease to earn money from vaccines).

Modern anti-Semitism may have started in France in 1894, where a captain of the Jewish army, Alfred Dreyfus, was falsely convicted of treason and wrongly accused of providing secret military documents to the Germans.

This was followed in 1903 in Russia by the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion hoax in which a secret cabal of rabbis allegedly plotted to control the world. Later in the century, social Darwinism and pseudo-scientific theories of racial superiority flourished, and the Jews were said to contaminate superior peoples and these ideals. In every manifestation of anti-Semitism, riots, pogroms and ultimately mass genocide against Jews have been the tragic outcome.

After the Holocaust, and after two millennia, Israel was revived as a modern Jewish state. Alongside it is a new form of anti-Semitism known as anti-Zionism. Israel was the Jew among the Nations and became the target of unique sanctions and discrimination.

When many wars against the nascent Jewish state failed to eliminate it, the enemies of the Jews turned to political and economic warfare. Modern conspiracy theories and blood libel disguised as sophisticated political rhetoric and drenched in the zeitgeist of the day followed.

The noble fight against racism, which has become a theme of contemporary history, has been deliberately and falsely diverted to equate Zionism, the noble movement for the liberation of the Jewish people, with racism. When apartheid rightly became synonymous with evil and iniquity in the post-war era, it became opportune to maliciously condemn Israel as an apartheid state.

And that brings us back to sunny Durban, South Africa, where the United Nations hosted what at the time looked like a major anti-racism conference in September 2001.

As many now know, the infamous conference became the last breeding ground in the plot for racism against the Jewish people. The so-called NGOs and anti-Israel activists present in 2001 distributed the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and shared pro-Nazi leaflets lamenting that if only Hitler had won the war, Israel would not have existed.

The result of Durban was the launch of a global, organized and well-funded anti-Semitic machine masked in human rights parlance and disguised under the guise of anti-apartheid activism, known as the Boycott movement. , Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). BDS is the 21st century equivalent of the bloody defamation of the 14th century, mistakenly characterizing Israel as the current manifestation of evil in the world that must be eliminated.

It is no coincidence that South Africa was chosen as the starting point to enact apartheid slander against Israel in order to lend an air of credibility to this otherwise gross hatred.

Unfortunately, all of this helped to hijack the meaning and memory of apartheid for the black South Africans who suffered from it. The BDS movement uses South Africa as the core of its heinous agenda because it is symbolically convenient to use the stain of apartheid against the one country that offers universal support and protection to Jews, and in doing so , selfishly crush and dilute decades of systematic oppression against blacks. people.

What is perhaps worse is that they have managed to infiltrate and influence levels of South African government and the ruling party, including a member of the Mandela family, to repeat their arguments and do what they wanted.

Their goal is for the Jewish state to be seen as an evil and universal pariah state that is to be wiped out through political and economic warfare using the well-oiled tools of deception and mass propaganda.

It goes without saying that Israel is everything BDS claims it is not: a beacon and shining light of democracy with one of the most respected legal systems and supreme courts in the world, and Arabs not only well represented in it. his parliament, but now even serving in the ruling coalition.

Israel offers affirmative action policies, remarkable opportunities (including of course the right to vote) for Arab women that are not available anywhere else in the Middle East, and redress for discrimination where it occurs.

Not to mention the decades of attempted peace with the Palestinians. If Israel was able to make peace with Egypt, Jordan and now large swathes of the Arab world, then perhaps it is not alone to blame for the lack of a resolution with the Palestinians.

But the facts shouldn’t stand in the way of the big lie (a propaganda technique they gleaned from Hitler’s Mein Kampf) that enemies have learned to repeat at every opportunity.

Twenty major countries, from Germany to New Zealand, have now pulled out of the 20th anniversary UN conference in Durban this week, and any country still involved will be tainted with aiding and perpetuating a campaign of hate. against the Jews.

The legacy of Durban is a comprehensive and systematic effort to undermine Israel’s right to exist as an indigenous and democratic Jewish state, and this is ultimately how the Durban agenda will be remembered when ‘he will fail his goals. History puts anti-Semites on its junkyard, and the Jewish people always overcome their self-proclaimed adversaries. Twenty years after Durban, Israel is stronger, more secure, richer, more loved and more respected than ever.

The writer is the National President of the South African Zionist Federation and recipient of the Herzl Prize of the World Zionist Organization.


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