I am a South African Jew.
I was born in a country that provided shelter to my grandparents as they fled the death of Hitler’s Europe. Where Jews were to be tolerated. But where it was better than the alternative.
I was born in a country where violent summer storms punctuated my childhood and where the thunderous rain on a tin roof remains the comforting sound-track of my youth.
I was born in a country that fed us fear in our porridge and that made us view our neighbors with suspicion from breakfast until bedtime. Where we were taught not to trust.
Especially other races.
A country that made my parents worry that I would be a “Liberal” not because of the value system it represented but because of what could happen when the government informers wrote your name on list. And where we were told to keep our heads down because South Africa had been a hair breath away from supporting the Nazis in the war long past, but could return there again. “Never forget that” we were told. Our survival depended on it.
But I did.
I was born and blessed to be part of the transformation that flashed us a glimpse at what could be possible if we just believed in the goodness of our fellow. And we saw it for ourselves. Like a magnificent lightning flash it became clear for a moment. And we saw it. And we believed.
No matter which God we served.
I was born in a country that “gifted” the horror of Apartheid to the world and that showed us what the natural consequence of racism is. A hell that will take generations to purge. Not just from the victims of discrimination. But from all of us who were schooled and infused with racism that is buried so deep that we often don’t even see it in ourselves.
And I watch as the history of my fellow South Africans gets stolen and appropriated by sellers of hate. I watch the traders of Israel Apartheid Week as they negate our South African history in order to carve another notch in what is really only about the failure to conceded that Israel has the right to exist at all.
Because Israel is a democracy. A fantastically flawed one. And it has its challenges. As South Africa does. As does anywhere. And the so called occupied territories are problematic. As they were from 1948 until 1967 when they were occupied by Jordan and Syria and when no one accused them of apartheid when the residents were confined in refugee camps.
And no screamed “Apartheid” when Middle Eastern countries expelled 850,000 Jews because they were Jews. And because they were angry that Israel existed. And no says a word when Hamas says that they will removed every Jew from Israel because they have no right to be there.
Even though they have been there for 2000 years.
And I watch the ANC government who is meant to represent all its citizens encourage “travel bans” to Israel in case their citizens might see for themselves, I can’t help feel that we are right back where we started.
The ANC government known for wholesale looting and for corruption has sold itself to a segment of the country without regard for the other. Instead of representing all its citizens, in its arrogance and ignorance it has made the decision to try to deny itself and its people the ability to think for themselves. It should come as no surprise, but it is by no means less disappointing.
The ANC has been captured by the anti Israel lobby. And it will not serve them.
Mainly because they have no integrity. They have remained silent on the suffering of fellow Africans in Zimbabwe and in the rest of Africa. They have provided shelter to genocidal murderers and have chosen to ignore the plight of Syrian refugees amongst others. They are silent on Tibet because of trade agreements with China. They are self serving and dishonest.
But mostly the ANC have decimated their own country. They have failed their people in every sector of society and would well advised to clean up the mess of their own creation before being arrogant enough to think that they can solve problems of others.
I am South African Jew. And I won’t remain silent.