Proudly South African, proudly Jewish

Connect, Collaborate, Community
By Daniel Bloch, Executive Director, Cape SAJBD

Over the past several months, our resolve as South Africans and as Jews has been greatly tested. I have heard comments like, “I am embarrassed to be South African” and “I am scared to be Jewish”. And I ask these people the question, “Why?” Their reasons are all the same – the ICJ case and the increase in antisemitism globally.

I hope that through this article, I will be able to address these concerns and provide a clear perspective as to why we should all still be proudly Jewish and proudly South African.

Our government’s application to the International Court of Justice was a low point for our community, and many if not most of us were left feeling embarrassed, alone and angry. However, these are the actions of a few within the ruling party and do not represent the majority of South Africans. The Jewish community and indeed Israel has many friends in South Africa and we are grateful for their support over these past few months. With the country’s elections around the corner, it provides an opportunity for each and every one of us to stand up and be counted. Ensure you make your way to a voting station and cast your vote for a South Africa that represents you, defends your rights, and provides you with a life filled with happiness, prosperity and boundless opportunities. I for one am proud to be South African and will most certainly do my part to build a country which I can be proud to call my home.

Whilst antisemitism is on the rise globally and indeed in South Africa, our Jewish way of life is still protected. As Jews, we can express ourselves by going to shul, frequenting our usual social joints and attending community events. We can proudly display our Magen David chains, wear our Yarmies and celebrate our Zionism. Yes, there have been protests, and social media is filled with a variety of haters; however, we can still walk the streets and live our lives — something our friends in London, New York, Melbourne, Paris and Berlin
find challenging.  

Some may say that if we are truly free and can proudly display our Judaism and our Zionism, then why are we continuously told not to engage with the anti-Israel activists? Isn’t this cowardly and are we not hiding away? Definitely not! The reality is that this minority of antisemitic and anti-Zionist hoodlums are hostile and, in some instances, have shown a tendency to become physically aggressive. However, what really frustrates them is the fact that we continue to ignore them (as does the majority of the public), and we don’t give them the oxygen they so desperately desire. Their main aim is to intimidate and threaten and ultimately elicit a response from our community. The more we block them on social media, ignore their loud rants at protests, and simply disregard their slander and hate speech, the more frustrated they get and, ultimately, they lose momentum, energy and the determination to carry on. We have already seen their protests diminish in size, the turnouts are poor, and even their verbal attacks on social media lose traction and fade away.

How will we defeat all those hate-filled individuals? They can protest, they can scream loudly, they can threaten and intimidate us. However, we will not back down. We will not give into the hatred. We will not remain silent. We will not be bullied and harassed and we will most certainly not apologise for loving Israel. We will continue to live our lives as proud Jews and as proud South Africans.

Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies website:, Instagram, and Facebook page.

• Published in the May 2024 issue – Click here to start reading.

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