SA Jewish Board of Deputies condemns ANC MPL's 'Jewish Mafia' statement

Cape Town - The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) on Tuesday condemned what it considers to be anti-Semitic remarks made by the ANC's Sharon Davids during the debate on Western Cape Premier Helen Zille's State of the Province Address.

"The ANC of Nelson Mandela is not anti-Semitic," Rael Kaimowitz, chairperson of the Cape Council of the SAJBD, said in a statement.

"It is a movement that has always prided itself on its unequivocal repudiation of any form of racism and related bigotry, yet, we see Ms Davids propagating such theories: In terms of what she claims, the Democratic Alliance [DA] is supposedly pursuing a pro-Jewish agenda against the best interests of the greater population of Cape Town.

"These allegations are factually incorrect and amount to a racist smear campaign against the Jewish community," said Kaimowitz.

During the debate on Friday, February 23, Davids, a member of the provincial legislature, said: "Premier Helen Zille is too much in love with the Jewish mafia".

Davids said "proof" that the DA was favouring Jewish people, was illustrated by party leader Mmusi Maimane hanging out with DA MP Michael Bagraim, who had spent time on the SAJBD.

'The DA is exposed'

She claimed the party turned on Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille, going so far as tabling a motion of no confidence in her, because she was opposed to the sale of a parcel of land to the Phyllis Jowell Jewish day school.

Kaimowitz said this was not the first time that ANC leaders in the Western Cape had made anti-Semitic comments that were unchallenged by the ANC.

"The ANC must distance itself from these remarks and justifications and speak out clearly that this is an unacceptable narrative. As always, we are available to engage on this issue," said Kaimowitz.

Davids issued a follow-up statement on Monday saying:  "The DA is exposed for its underhand and under-the-table dealings with a foreign-based company to supply desalination capacity during the present drought in the province while there are local companies that could do the job just as well.

"I have pointed out this illegal and secret pact that is revealed by DA members themselves. These inside and public sources identified the corruption partners of the DA as Israel-based people. This small group is also referred to by the DA insiders as a mafia."

She said the ANC was not anti-Semitic, and recognised the role Jews played in the struggle against apartheid. Her comments were not aimed at "Jewish people as a whole", she added.

"If any person of the Jewish community felt aggrieved by the way the story was turned by DA spin-doctors, I apologise and ensure them that it is not my intention to taint people of Jewish or Israeli origin. I sincerely hope this clarifies the matter."

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