ANC's Bolivarian revolution has Jews firmly in its sights

September 10, 2015 13:10

A statement this week by a senior African National Congress official in South Africa that his governing party was reviewing the legality of dual citizenship, with the specific aim of preventing Jewish South Africans from "identifying with Israel", provoked a furious response from the country's Jewish leaders.

Obed Bapela, who heads the ANC's National Executive Committee on International Relations and is a fierce critic of ties between Israel and his country's Jewish students, told a local newspaper that the "model" of dual citizenship may not have "a place in the world".

He cited IDF enlistment by Jewish South Africans as the reason for the proposed amendment to the constitution.

South Africa's Chief Rabbi, Warren Goldstein, called the move "deeply hurtful and insulting" to the country's estimated 170,000 Jews.

Jewish Board of Deputies President Zev Krengel went further, comparing Mr Bapela's comments with Nazi antisemitic propaganda in the years leading up to the Second World War.

The ANC, Mr Krengel argued, are "trying to show that your local Jewish community is not 100 per cent loyal", and thus "trying to say that they're a danger to your country".

For all its anti-Zionist vitriol, directly comparing the ANC to the Nazis is - at least at this stage - going too far. In fact, the mainstream leadership of the ANC has no history of condoning, still less propagating, crude antisemitism.

That, though, could change.

WATCH: South Africa's Chief Rabbi's response to ANC threat on ties with Israel

Why, after all, has the post-apartheid South African government been so obsessed with Israel and is now questioning the loyalty of a Jewish minority that comprises just 0.2 per cent of the population - especially considering that no one even seems to know how many of that tiny percentage actually serve in the IDF?

One reason is the ANC's increasing alignment with leftist regimes around the world.

Just days before Mr Bapela's outburst, the ANC published its latest foreign-policy paper that is full of the kind of anti-American/anti-imperialist claptrap that would have made the late Hugo Chavez proud.

According to the Economist, it envisions South Africa as "part of the international revolutionary movement to liberate humanity from the bondage of imperialism".

That ideological roadshow, of course, requires a strong injection of anti-Zionism.

While embracing Iran's human-rights loving theocracy, Mr Chavez, we should remember, severed ties with Israel following the Gaza operation in 2008, expelling the Israeli ambassador and staff. There followed a flood of attacks against Jewish houses of worship, with Venezuelan police officers often implicated in the attacks.

As the ANC embarks on its Bolivarian revolution, there is indeed a danger that any law banning dual nationality will prove just the tip of the iceberg, and discrimination against Jews will increase. Dan Jacobson, the Jewish South African novelist, wrote of growing up in Kimberley in the 1930s as "one of the places on the globe where Jews were safe to enjoy a dull life". The international community should do everything in its power to ensure that the ANC does not rob the latest generation of Jews of that privilege.

September 10, 2015 13:10

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