South African press council expels Jewish newspaper for criticizing BDS cartoon

The South African Jewish Report criticized a cartoon that had been posted by the South Africa BDS Coalition on its Facebook page.

 South African demonstrators and BDS activists hold placards during a protest in May 2021 outside the Israel Trade offices in Sandton, SA, following a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence (photo credit: SIPHIWE SIBEKO/REUTERS)
South African demonstrators and BDS activists hold placards during a protest in May 2021 outside the Israel Trade offices in Sandton, SA, following a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence
(photo credit: SIPHIWE SIBEKO/REUTERS)

The Press Council of South Africa expelled the South African Jewish Report after it refused to comply with decisions from PCSA Chair of Appeals Judge Bernard Ngoepe and the Acting Ombud.

According to PoliticsWeb, this follows a dispute that arose when the Report reported the opinions of two antisemitism experts who criticized a cartoon with an offensive caricature of a Jewish man stuffing money into his mouth, and the opinions were overruled by the acting press ombud without any opportunities to appeal the decision.

The cartoon had been posted by the South Africa Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Coalition on its Facebook page.

South African demonstrators carry placards during a protest following clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at Al Asqa Mosque in Jerusalem, outside parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, May 11, 2021. (credit: MIKE HUTCHINGS / REUTERS)South African demonstrators carry placards during a protest following clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at Al Asqa Mosque in Jerusalem, outside parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, May 11, 2021. (credit: MIKE HUTCHINGS / REUTERS)

PCSA statement

It is a great pity that we have had to expel them, but we cannot tolerate a member of the Press Council willfully refusing to obey rulings of the Press Ombud and the Chair of Appeals."

Press Council of South Africa chair Judge Phillip Levinsohn

"The SA Jewish Report appealed the ruling by Acting Ombud Johan Retief in the complaint, SA BDS Coalition and GIWUSA v SA Jewish Report, but their application for leave to appeal was dismissed by Judge Ngoepe," PCSA chair Judge Phillip Levinsohn said regarding the council's decision.

"We spent time and effort corresponding with the SA Jewish Report in an attempt to resolve the issue," Levinsohn said. "They then refused to publish the ruling against them. SA Jewish Report also abandoned a second complaint, SA BDS Coalition vs SA Jewish Report, after losing another application for leave to appeal by Judge Ngoepe."

"The SA Jewish Report then attempted to withdraw from the Press Council rather than publish the rulings," he said. "You cannot do that.

"It is a great pity that we have had to expel them, but we cannot tolerate a member of the Press Council willfully refusing to obey rulings of the Press Ombud and the Chair of Appeals."