Ehrenreich’s Facebook post “idiotic and against the traditions of Cosatu”

| Brent Meersman
Screen grab of Tony Ehrenreich’s Facebook page.

An eye for an eye and the whole world would be blind, the Mahatma famously said.

But, this is precisely what Tony Ehrenreich’s official Facebook page is calling for. It would be very hard to interpret the post made at 13h31 on 13 August as anything other than an incitement for the violent targeting of members of the Jewish Board of Deputies and “Zionist supporters” in South Africa.

At the time of writing, the post had been shared 29 times (many of whom were disagreeing with the post), and it had been “liked” 43 times.

The post states: “We have seen in our own country that the Jewish Board of deputies have arranged gatherings to pledge their allegiance to the killing of Palestinians. We are aware that the Jewish Board of Deputies has been fascilitating [sic] and supporting the funding of the Isreali [sic] Army as well as getting SA youth to join the killings in Gaza . This makes the Jewish Board of Deputies complicit in the murder of the people in Gaza.”

“The time has come to say very clearly that if a woman or child is killed in Gaza , then the Jewish board of deputies, who are complicit, will feel the wrath of the People of SA with the age old biblical teaching of an eye for an eye. The time has come for the conflict to be waged everywhere the Zionist supporters fund and condone the war killing machine of Isreal [sic].”

In response, Zackie Achmat, who is well known for his strong stance against Israel’s action in Gaza, tweeted: ‘ “An eye for an eye” @TonyEhrenreich is that really you? Unlawful, wrong & harms #Palestine’.

Doron Isaacs, deputy secretary general of Equal Education and an outspoken critic of the occupation of Palestinian territory, said Tony Ehrenreich’s call of an eye for an eye against local Jews or Zionists was “idiotic and against the traditions of Cosatu”.

On Thursday evening, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies released a statement saying it is “in the process of instituting both criminal and civil charges against” Ehrenreich “for hate speech and incitement to violence against the elected, representative leadership of the SA Jewish community. This will include laying charges of incitement with the police and lodging a formal complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission.”

The massive march in Cape Town in support of the people of Gaza on 10 August was marked for its peacefulness and its broad base which included Jewish protestors. It was held just meters from the Jewish Museum and the Holocaust centre and no incidents were reported.

As Gaza Palestinians struggle to obtain their rights and freedom, and the voice of peace within Israel calling for restraint of the Israeli government is already increasingly marginalised, Ehrenreich’s call for the conflict to be broadened to attack leaders in Jewish communities “everywhere” is dangerous, irresponsible and counterproductive.

Editor’s note: Additional information was added to this article after it was published. Also, the original tweet we provided by Zackie Achmat was incomplete. It is now correct.

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