Anti-sermitism

Ron Press anclondon at gn.apc.org
Sat Jul 1 19:20:44 MDT 1995


Hi

Just some comments on Anti-Semitism.

This goes back for hundreds of years. So many of the people in
South Africa came there to escape the pogroms in Eastern Europe.

Interestingly many became members of the left and Communist Party
in South Africa in the thirties.

Black anti-Semitism in SA had never been a problem as far as I can
remember.

The Afrikaner nationalists did borrow Anti-Semitism from the
Nazi's but they down played it when they found that it was not
useful for political power since the Jewish community as a
community generally did not take sides in the struggle of the
Africans for freedom.

The establishment of Israel was used to equate Israel with Jew.
This is painful for many Jews. This meant that Israel and the
struggle of the Palestinians was deliberately confused as the Jews
against the Palestinians, not Israel against the Palestinians.

This was used politically to find common ground between the
Nationalists in SA and the Israeli's.

It seems that Anti- anything is a useful political tool to use
unreason and prejudice to sustain power and privilege.

Ilya Erenberg said that he was proud to be a Jew because of those
thousands of Jews who died fighting the Nazi's. I remember when I
was in Sacsenhausen concentration camp in the then East Germany in
one of the huts there was the picture of a young Jewish girl. When
about 16 years old she led an attack on a gestapo office and
killed some Nazi's. She was captured and was imprisoned and died
in the camp. It was for me a lesson in humility and reverence. One
so young could be so brave and determined. To die so young and so
beautifuf. To die in the fight against fascism. For people like
these we must be humble and reasonable and not use swearwords
loosly. It is not leaders alone who make history. It is the small
people the little people who we must honour. And these are found
in all countries in all walks of life and are the hope of
humankind.

I find it amazing that those who as a group were killed in their
millions by fascism can do the terrible things they have done to
the Palestinians.

There are many parallels between the Nationalist in South Africa
and the  Zionists in Israel. The left supported the Boers against
the British at the turn of the century. The Boers having gained
power became fascists and oppressed the Africans. The left
supported the establishment of Israel only to find that when
established the same state did what it did to the Palestinians and
the Arab countries on it's borders.

Nationalism is a powerful blunt instrument. It has no sense of
direction. With careful tutoring and melding with working class
understanding it can be progressive. But beware it is a viper. (
Apologies to vipers)

Ron Press.


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