Friday, November 08, 2013

Jews, get out of South Africa?

A few Chabad rabbis leave town for a while and the rumours start that Jews are pushing for mass-emigration. 
While we were dancing at farbrengen-central, the Star newspaper ran this sensationalist headline: 

I picked this up on a friend's Facebook feed, where young concerned Jews vented their concerns about rising anti-Semitism in S.A. Sensationalist perhaps, but the Star's article wasn't anti-Semitic. It reported on Israeli MK Avigdor Lieberman's comments that South African Jews should get out of the country ASAP to avoid an impending "pogrom". Lieberman was responding to some inane comments against Israel made by International Relations Minister, Nkoana-Mashabane.
Pogrom in SA? We may have problems in our country, but rampant anti-Semitism isn't one of them. 
Last night, I landed in Montreal Canada. Shortly before I got here, a Jewish man was attacked in an eatery by two Muslim women. Ironically, he had asked their view on an issue of mutual concern- the possibility that the Quebec government may ban religious head coverings. Rather than engage, the women hurled abuse at him, knocked his food to the floor and took a few swings at him, before calling the police to report his "racial incitement". 
Last year, Canada had over 1300 reported incidents of anti-Semitism.
This past Sunday, I chaired a session at the Kinus to discuss anti-Semitism in Europe. The Shluchim on the panel represented Sweden, Germany, Poland and the UK and, to our surprise, the UK measured the highest levels of anti-Semitism of them all. Last year, Australia racked up over 500 anti-Semitic incidents, and last month saw five people hospitalized in an anti-Semitic attack in Sydney.
South Africa reported 50 anti-Semitic incidents last year.
A few years back, I heard Mark Bagraim talk about how he had represented the SABJD at a conference on global anti-Semitism and had arranged a comprehensive two page report on the issues on our home front. The French delegates arrived with a three volume report on the problems in their country, with the UK, Australia and Canada not far behind.
If Israel wants to promote Aliyah, by all means.
But don't fear-monger.
Having just spent the week with communal leaders from around the world and hearing what's really going on in other Jewish communities, I'd rather go with the assurances of the Lubavitcher Rebbe that SA will remain good for the Jews until Moshiach gets here. 


Steven Marks said...

Great piece Rav
short and to the point
Steve Marks

Steven Marks said...

Great piece Rav
Short and succinct

Steve Marks