Statement made by Daniel Bloch, Executive Director, Cape South African Jewish Board of Deputies – 19 May 2023.
For the past two months, the Cape Town Jewish Community has been threatened, intimidated and viciously maligned by anti-Israel organisations like the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, UCT PSF and others who claim simply to be “anti-Zionist”, not antisemitic.
On 18 May, these groups once again protested outside the historic Gardens Synagogue, the SA Jewish Museum, the Holocaust & Genocide Centre and the Gardens Jewish Community Centre. On the main wall of the Centre they deliberately displayed a Palestinian Islamic Jihad flag – a symbol of a globally recognized terrorist organisation whose mandate it is to destroy the State of Israel and who are unapologetically antisemitic. Protestors chanted “One Zionist, one bullet” and “Death to Israel.” In social media posts they made references to “young Jewish supremacist monsters” and even called out a local shul in Sea Point for hosting religious services in celebration of the millennia-old Jewish connection to Jerusalem.
The Cape South African Jewish Board of Deputies condemns these acts of intimidation, threatening behaviour and clear antisemitism against the Jewish community. We will not stand by idly and allow members of our community to be harassed at our places of work, home and worship. We call on local Muslim leadership and our government to stop these targeted protests at Jewish facilities.”
The Cape SAJBD has spoken out about the recent intimidating protests plaguing our Jewish facilities. Executive Director, Daniel Bloch spoke to SABC News. Watch the interview now.
Cape SAJBD update on recent protests
Over the past few months, a small group of organisations, under the guise of pro-Palestinian activism, have gathered to protest outside the Gardens Jewish Community Centre in Hatfield street.
These protests have received a fair amount of media attention and the Cape South African Jewish Board of Deputies has been at pains to call the demonstrators out for both their obvious antisemitism and their implicit threats of violence. At the same time, we are working behind the scenes engaging with our relevant stakeholders and partners to identify all courses of action available to us.
By now you would likely know from the news, or from social media, just how aggressive these protestors have been. Amongst other things they have chanted a variety of hate-filled antisemitic slogans and been displaying Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad flags. For our part we are monitoring the situation constantly, astute to the right of free expression but with community safety our unqualified number one priority.
These protests are occurring more frequently; however, it is business as usual. All security precautions have been taken. Should there be a protest at a time when you visit the Gardens Jewish Community Centre, we implore you not to engage with them.
The Cape SAJBD, together with our partners, will continue to protect (all) our civil rights as Jews in South Africa.
If you do experience any form of hate, discrimination or antisemitism, please Whats App the Antisemitism Hotline on +27 79 994 5573.
Chairperson, Cape SAJBD
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