Fatima Hajaig 63.
(photo credit: )
The Jewish Board of Deputies is satisfied with South African Deputy Foreign Minister Fatima Hajaig's second apology, made after President Kgalema Motlan held "discussions" with her about them, it said over the weekend.
"To the extent that my statement may have caused hurt and pain, I offer an unequivocal apology for the pain it may have caused to the people of our country, and the Jewish community in particular," Hajaig said in a statement.
She said she regretted the "inference" made by some people that she was "anti-Jewish."
"I do not believe that the cause of the Palestinians is served by anti-Jewish racism," she added.
This followed a furor over anti-Semitic statements made by Hajaig at a rally in Lenasia, Johannesburg, last month, where Hajaig said, "In fact, no matter which government comes into power, whether Republican or Democratic, whether Barack Obama or George Bush, the control of America, just like the control of most Western countries, is in the hands of Jewish money, and if Jewish money controls their country, you cannot expect anything else."
Hajaig said over the weekend that at a point in her talk, unrelated to the South African community, "I conflated Zionist pressure with Jewish influence."
As a member of government and the African National Congress, she subscribed to values and principles of non-racialism, she said.
"The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) commends President Motlanthe and his cabinet for ensuring that Deputy Foreign Minister Fatima Hajaig has now made an unequivocal apology for, and full retraction of the unacceptable anti-Semitic statements," the board said in a statement.
"The SAJBD thanks President Motlanthe and his cabinet for the decisive and forthright manner in which they have addressed this serious matter."
The board rejected a previous apology made by the deputy minister as "she had very clearly avoided addressing, let alone repudiating, the blatantly anti-Semitic sentiments originally expressed by her."