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Monday, March 11, 2013

City of Durban to rename street after Hugo Chavez

Having three anti-Semitic conferences known as Durban I, II and III - the latter two of which didn't even take place in the city - isn't enough for the City of Durban, South Africa. Now, they're going to name a street in the city after anti-Semitic Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.
Mayor James Nxumalo yesterday said the eThekwini Municipality would “definitely” consider renaming a “prominent street” in Durban after the late revolutionary leader.
Speaking after a full council meeting yesterday, Nxumalo said Chavez was a great man and leader who “deserved” to have his legacy recorded in the city. The ANC has previously renamed a street after legendary South American revolutionary Che Guevara.
And I had a cup of coffee this morning with a South African native who assured me that with the exception of Johannesburg the country is safe.... Maybe not.... 

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At 1:40 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Carl,

To add some context to this article: I am a South African Jew, living in Johannesburg. Yes, the ANC government has been hostile to Israel, primarily because of the PLO's support for the ANC during its anti-apartheid struggle. Also, the Department of International Relations has been hijacked by Muslims with a narrow anti-Israel agenda.

However, to suggest that South Africa is not safe for its Jews is simply wrong.

The Durban City Council is incompetent and uninformed. They have been on a re-naming spree for years. Their choice of street name has absolutely nothing to do with antisemitism. They have absolutely no clue about the antisemitism of Chavez and simply see him, in all their blinding ignorance and political immaturity, as a champion of the poor. The disgraceful conference which the city hosted cannot really be blamed on Durban itself - that conference would have played out the way it did in almost any location.

The South African with whom you had coffee has obviously been out of the country for a long time and was referring to an outdated view on the problem of crime (which affects everyone, Jew and non-Jew alike).

I am totally disgusted by the anti-Israel sentiments of the ANC but once you understand the ANC for what it is (a group of uninformed, ignorant and easily manipulated fools) and understand the fact that the Islamic anti-Israel camp, and radical left play the ANC like a fiddle, you then realise that it has little to do with antisemitism.

As far as South Africa's attitude towards its Jews is concerned, I point out the following:Durban has always had the smallest Jewish community (by far) of the 3 major cities but it does have an excellent Holocaust Centre, has recently approved the building of a new shul, Jewish school and new upmarket neighbourhood designed to attract more Torah observant Jews.

There is an outstanding Holocaust Museum in Cape Town and there is presently one under construction in Johannesburg. Study of the Shoah is compulsory in all schools.

The community has seen a remarkable resurgence of Torah observance (especially in Johannesburg and to a lesser extent Cape Town) where there are more shuls, kosher establishments, Jewish schools and Jewish institutions than ever before. In Johannesburg's more affluent areas, yarmulkes, sheitels, tsitsis, taleisim, black lubavitch hats and ivory panama hats are part of the scenery.

Street signs pointing to Kosher B&B's, advertising signs and even prominent billboards for visiting Rabbis, Jewish and Israel-related events of every kind are a CONSTANT feature of significant parts of the city.

In South Africa, Jews are proud and feel safe to display their Jewish and Zionist identity.

If South Africa was inhospitable to its Jewish population, none of this would be possible.

South Africa's Constitution expressly protects Hebrew (among other languages).

The ANC has fortunately made one decent decision of late: the appointment of Cyril Ramaphosa (pronounced Rama-posa) as its Deputy President, soon to replace Jacob Zuma - who is trying to engineer a way out of the Presidency that doesn't include a stint in prison for corruption - as President.

Cyril Ramaphosa is held in high esteem across the political spectrum and by the Jewish community too. He has a long and personal association with key Jewish communal and business leaders. There is realistic hope that under his leadership, South Africa's relationship with Israel will improve. You will find this link (http://www.chiefrabbi.co.za/2013/02/looking-forward-2013/) interesting - particularly the part where Chief Rabbi Goldstein, in no uncertain terms, makes it clear to Mr. Ramaphosa that the Jewish community is dissatisfied with the stance toward Israel.

If anything, South Africa is one of the most welcoming and respectful countries in the world when it comes to Jews, Judaism and Jewish cultural life.

Thank you again for this incredible blog.

Greg, Johannesburg, South Africa.


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