Liberman to South African Jewry: Leave before there's a pogrom

SA Zionist Federation leader says minister's anti-Israel comments do not reflect situation in Jewish community.

November 3, 2013 23:10
2 minute read.
Avigdor Liberman

Avigdor Liberman 370. (photo credit: reuters)


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Jews should leave South Africa and move to Israel before there is a pogrom, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avigdor Liberman said Sunday, after South African International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane announced a moratorium on government visits to Israel.

“The South African government is creating an anti-Israel and anti-Semitic atmosphere, and a pogrom against Jews is only a matter of time,” Liberman wrote on Facebook. “I call on all Jews who still live there to move to Israel immediately and without delay, before it’s too late.”

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On Friday, Nkoana-Mashabane told South Africa’s The Times that Pretoria’s ministers “do not visit Israel currently,” adding that “the struggle of the people of Palestine is our struggle,” and comparing Palestinian towns to Bantustans, territory set aside for blacks in apartheid South Africa.

She also commended Iran’s “respect” for human rights.

According to Liberman, the South African minister’s remarks are “a mixture of hypocrisy and classic anti-Semitism.”

“A government that, just one year ago, shot 34 miners without distinction just because they ‘dared’ go on strike, and then after that wanted to put the miners that were left alive on trial using a law from the apartheid era – [that] same government doesn’t deal with or care about what’s happening in its neighboring countries, like the murder of journalists in Mali or terror attacks in Kenya. Instead, that government is mostly concerned with what is happening to the Palestinians thousands of kilometers away,” Liberman explained.

Zionist Federation of South Africa chairman Avrom Krengel took issue with Liberman’s statement in an interview with TLV1 Radio’s Amir Mizroch on Sunday afternoon.

According to Krengel, there is little connection between “the government’s anti-Israel stance and the lives South African Jews live here.”

He added that Nkoana-Mashabane’s remarks “don’t reflect the situation on the ground,” where “there’s one of the lowest levels of anti-Semitism in the world.”

“We are a very vibrant community with deep roots in the country; we’re very well established,” he stated.

Still, Krengel added: “As a community, we are outraged at this travel ban. It is a double standard and hypocrisy. South Africa does not conduct its relations in this manner with any other country.

The government never even condemned [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, who killed 100,000 of his own people.”

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