SA Jewish Board appalled by Andile Mngxitama holocaust tweet

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Cape Town Holocaust Centre is aimed at educating the public about the holocaust. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
Cape Town Holocaust Centre is aimed at educating the public about the holocaust. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Cape Town - The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) expressed shock on Thursday at a tweet by Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama claiming that the legacy of the holocaust was not all negative.

In an apparent attempt to position himself back in the media spotlight, Mngxitama tweeted around 05:30: "For those claiming the legacy of the holocaust is ONLY negative think about the lampshades and Jewish soap."

The tweet was possibly a reference to Western Cape Premier Helen Zille's controversial tweets earlier in the year when she said the legacy of colonialism was not all negative. Zille subsequently apologised.

The SAJBD said it was appalled by his "crassly offensive, demeaning and hurtful" statement.

"With this ugly, jeering remark, Mngxitama has portrayed not just the deliberate murder of Jewish people but even the supposed reduction of their remains to everyday objects as something to be treated as a joke," said SAJBD president Mary Kluk.

"It is deeply distressing that anyone could so casually and publicly dehumanise an entire people in this way. How much more outrageous it is when emanating from a public figure who heads up a political voice."

'No relationship'

Kluk told News24 that she had absolutely no idea why Mngxitama had chosen to target Jewish people.

"I don't know where it would have come from. It was out of the blue. We have no relationship. It could come out of a personal interaction [with someone]."

She said his overt hateful tweet was an attack on the rights to dignity and equality of Jewish South Africans and should be strongly condemned by all citizens.

"Civilised society, and certainly South Africa with its stained history of human rights abuses, has no place for those who condone the merciless massacre of millions of innocent people in the most cruel way."

The SAJBD was considering its options in terms of action to take against him.

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) became aware of the tweet when News24 phoned on Thursday morning.

SAHRC spokesperson Gail Smith said they would provide comment later in the day.

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