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August 24, 2014 6:21 pm

South African Jewish Leaders Charge Local Labor Chief With Incitement and Hate Speech Over Call for Revenge Attacks


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Tony Ehrenreich. Photo: Facebook.

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) said recently it will lay criminal and civil charges against COSATU labor union leader Tony Ehrenreich for inciting violence against the Jewish community’s elected leadership through a post on his Facebook page.

Ehrenreich’s offending post alleged that the SAJBD is “complicit in the murder of the people in Gaza” and that it encourages South African youths “to join the killings in Gaza.” The COSATU provincial secretary also called on South Africans to target the Jewish leaders with revenge attacks every time a woman or child in Gaza is killed.

“We have seen in our own country that the [South African] Jewish Board of deputies have arranged gatherings to pledge their allegiance to the killing of Palestinians,” he wrote.

“The time has come to say very clearly that if a woman or child is killed in Gaza, then the Jewish board of deputies, who are complicit, will feel the wrath of the People of SA with the age old biblical teaching of an eye for an eye. The time has come for the conflict to be waged everywhere the Zionist supporters fund and condone the war killing machine of Israel.”

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SAJBD said charges of incitement to violence and hate speech will be brought against Ehrenreich, and a formal complaint will be filed with the South African Human Rights Commission.

SAJBD Chairman, Mary Kluk, said Ehrenreich’s Facebook post violated South African law prohibiting hate speech and incitement to cause harm. She also said his message encourages violence and hatred against all South African Jewry.

“What makes it even worse is the fact that he holds a leadership position within COSATU, South Africa’s largest trade union organization,” she added. “It also comes at a time of heightened tension over the Israel-Gaza conflict, thereby inflaming an already volatile situation.”

This is not the first time Ehrenreich has targeted the SAJBD. He previously issued a statement threatening SAJBD with a COSATU-led campaign of strikes and boycotts against its members and supporters if the board did not stop its “Zionist propaganda” in Cape Town by Aug. 7.

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