SA Jewish Board of Deputies lays complaint against 3 men over anti-Semitic hate speech

2018-07-02 12:37
SAJBD Logo. (Twitter)

SAJBD Logo. (Twitter)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) has laid a complaint against three individuals it accuses of anti-Semitic hate speech.

The complaint of crimen injuria was made on Thursday, June 28, and relates to accusations that three individuals – Muhammad Hattia, Tameez Seedat and Matome Letsoalo – made disparaging comments on social media.

"Social media is a very powerful platform and these individuals' tweets had wide reach, with many people commenting," SAJBD chairperson Shaun Zagnoev told News24.

READ: Two years for racist rant

He said that the social media commentary was damaging, in that it specifically called for harm to Jewish people.

"Letsoalo's series of tweets included the statement, '@sajbd The #Holocaust Will be like A Picnic When we are done with all you Zionist Bastards. F*ck All Of You'.

"In another tweet, he described Jews as vermin, who Hitler should have exterminated completely," the SAJBD said in a statement.

Negative commentary

Hattia is alleged to have posted: "F*ck you Jew pricks. Fat nosed f*cks…. I hope you and your family die. Hitler f*cked up he should've killed you all."

Social media is notorious for negative commentary, but it rarely results in prosecutions.

The public nature of the postings motivated the SAJBD to tackle the individuals, so as to ensure that it resulted in an increase of sensitivity to hate speech commentary on social media.

"These weren't private postings, because they moved into the public domain and were of a nature that was extremely damaging and harmful," said Zagnoev.

He added that he hoped the criminal charges would send a strong message on hate speech.

"The lesson should be learnt and the individuals need to appreciate that what they've done is damaging. The gravity of the action needs to be understood by the individuals, and society has to condemn the gravity of these comments."

First jail sentence

In March, former real estate agent Vicki Momberg became the first person in South Africa to be jailed for crimen injuria.

She was found guilty after a video of her racist tirade hurled at a police officer went viral.

That followed the case of Penny Sparrow, who was fined R150 000 for her racist social media postings.

READ: Penny Sparrow in plea bargain talks

Zagnoev said that while social media can be negative, the SAJBD was particularly concerned about hate speech that called for harm to Jews.

The founding provision of SA's Constitution declares South Africa to be a republic, with "non-racialism and non-sexism" as core values. The Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of expression, and specifically forbids "hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm".

The SAJBD insisted that it had seriously weighed up the implications before deciding to move forward with the complaint.

"We take these things seriously and we don't approach these things without serious consideration. Politicians should also be condemning this type of statement, the same way they condemn those against racism," said Zagnoev.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    sajbd  |  racism  |  social media  |  hate speech
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.