Hamas, PNC & Haters Spin South African Court Ruling That Anti-Zionism CAN BE Antisemitism

A recent South African court ruling has supposedly pleased a number of palestinian and anti-Israel groups.

Hamas welcomed “the historic decision of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, which affirms that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism, and that criticism of Zionism is not considered criticism of Jew.”

“The decision constitutes legal and political support for opponents of the Zionist occupation of our occupied Palestinian lands, after the occupation spent decades blackmailing countries and forces rejecting it, linking any criticism of it to anti-Semitism.”

The Palestinian National Council (PNC) also welcomed the verdict:

“The ruling represents a victory to the values of freedom, democracy and justice,” PNC chairperson Rawhi Fattouh said in a statement.

He said the verdict affirms “South Africa’s support to…the struggle of our people against the [Israeli] apartheid.”

South Africa’s Palestinian Solidarity Campaign was also pleased over the “important ruling that anti-Zionism is NOT anti-Semitism, and that attacking Zionism is NOT the same as attacking Jewish people.”

But a look at the actual ruling shows they are all full of it.

The Constitutional Court ordered Bongani Masuku to tender an “unconditional apology” to the Jewish community for the following statement he made in 2009: declaring it to be harmful, and to incite harm and propagate hatred; and amount to hate speech as envisaged in section 10 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act No 4 of 2000:

“[A]s we struggle to liberate Palestine from the racists, fascists and Zionists who belong to the era of their Friend Hitler!  We must not apologise, every Zionist must be made to drink the bitter medicine they are feeding our brothers and sisters in Palestine.  We must target them, expose them and do all that is needed to subject them to perpetual suffering until they withdraw from the land of others and stop their savage attacks on human dignity.” 

In other words, his use of the word Zionists instead of Jews to hide the antisemitism did not work. The mention of Hitler did him in “because a reasonable reader would have noted that a reference to Hitler to a group which was predominately Jewish was used because of their Jewish ethnicity and identity. After all, Hitler’s anti-Semitic extermination campaign was not limited to people of the Jewish faith or ethnicity who identified as Zionists.”

I actually made a similar point last week in this post on solicitor Moustafa Kheir, who filed Nasser Mashni’s Racial Discrimination complaint against the Australian Government over its support of Israel.

And think about it logically. Tweeting “Puzzled at how quickly zionists forget” with photos from the Holocaust of murdered Jews makes pretty clear he is referring to Jews when he writes “Zionists.”

When you think about it, this ruling shows the opposite of what Hamas, the PNC, and other haters claim. It is terrible for them because it shows that so-called anti-Zionism can very much be considered antisemitism.

It is no wonder the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) welcomed the decision.

The haters claiming the decision affirms that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism, and that criticism of Zionism is not considered criticism of Jews are relying on the other part of the judgement, which found that the following statements of Masuku were not hate speech because “they were clearly aimed at Israel and those who support Israel” and not aimed at Jewish people.:

On 5 March 2009, at a rally convened by the Palestinian Solidarity Committee at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Mr Masuku made three further statements, also while representing COSATU.  When referring to what COSATU’s intentions were regarding those who supported Israel, he stated that “COSATU has got members here even on this campus; we can make sure that for that side it will be hell.”  (Second Statement.)

He further remarked:

“[T]he following things are going to apply: any South African family, I want to repeat it so that it is clear for anyone, any South African family who sends its son or daughter to be part of the Israel Defence Force must not blame us when something happens to them with immediate effect.”  (Third Statement.)

Finally, he stated:

“COSATU is with you, we will do everything to make sure that whether it’s at Wits, whether it’s at Orange Grove, anyone who does not support equality and dignity, who does not support rights of other people must face the consequences even if it means that we will do something that may necessarily cause what is regarded as harm.”  (Fourth Statement.)

Regarding this, the SAJBD “were of the view that since the great majority of Jews in South Africa, as demonstrated by credible academic surveys, support and identify with Israel, Masuku’s threatening and offensive comments in practice target the Jewish community” but they stated they “respect the conclusion of the Constitutional Court that other impugned statements by Masuku, while “inflammatory” and “seditious”, would on the balance of probability not be considered by a reasonable person to be aimed at Jews specifically, but rather at Israel and those who supported it.”

I personally do not have a huge problem with this part of the judgment either; when I expose the antisemitism of so-called “anti-Zionists”, I also require more than posts and statements targeting those who support Israel but rather those that are clearly aimed at Jews for being Jewish.

The Hamas, PNC, and hater reactions to this judgments are yet another example of their lying and spinning things to suit their false narrative.


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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