South African Jews report ‘flurry of viciously anti-Semitic’ incidents

Recent incidents include an antisemitic rant at Johannesburg's international airport, a swastika mural and hateful comments on social media.

By JTA
June 23, 2018 15:33
1 minute read.
A protestor outside the Israeli embassy in Pretoria, South Africa

A protester and member of South Africa's ultra-left Economic Freedom Fighters party (EFF), carries a placard outside the Israeli embassy in Pretoria, South Africa. (photo credit: SIPHIWE SIBEKO/REUTERS)

 
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Representatives of South Africa’s Jewish community said they are seeing an uptick in anti-Semitic rhetoric in real life and on social media.

“Over the past 24 hours, a flurry of viciously antisemitic and threatening attacks have been made against South African Jews, both on social media and in direct face-to-face encounters,” the South Africa Jewish Board of Deputies said in a statement Thursday.

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Passengers awaiting their suitcases from an El Al flight into South Africa were called “wicked Jews” at the airport by a man who ranted against them from across a luggage belt at O.R. Tambo International Airport near Johannesburg. Also, a mural with a German flag and a swastika was painted this week on a Johannesburg wall.

The incidents occurred amid a flood of hate speech online against South African Jews, Board of Deputies Chairman Shaun Zagnoev said in the statement. He said the board was following up on the incidents, which have “generated great anxiety and anger in the Jewish community.”

“The posts show how easily radical anti-Israel sentiment can spill over into hateful slurs and threats against Jewish people in general,” the statement said. “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.’”

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