exploring issues related to israel, israeli society & global jewry
In this editorial, DakfaDotCom looks at what anti-BDS legislation in the United States may mean for the University of Cape Town's proposed boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
THE adoption by Senate of the University of Cape Town (UCT) of a resolution in favour of boycotting Israeli academic institutions has caused much consternation within the South African Jewish community and has also attracted a great deal of global interest. The issue is still very much alive: the Senate resolution needs the approval of UCT’s Council before it becomes official university policy.
An online petition opposing the boycott has garnered over 65,000 signatories. The petition speaks of the proposed boycott as “violat[ing] the principles of academic freedom and freedom of speech” and having the possibility of “fan[ning] the flames of anti-Jewish hostility on campus”. And a group of Jewish South Africans have come out in support of the proposed boycott arguing that “[t]his establishes UCT as an adherent to international law and affirms the university as a partner in the struggle for human rights in Israel/Palestine.” Opponents of the proposed boycott have raised concerns as to how a pro-boycott position could impact fundraising and relations with alumni, research conducted by UCT academics and partnerships with scholars and universities abroad, as well as the reputation of the university. The group that supports it have labelled the threat of loss of funding as “backdoor fear-mongering.”
"Such a boycott would take place in a world where lines have already been drawn in the sand over the issue of boycotts targeting Israel."
Israel & global Jewry [trends & prospects] Exploring issues related to israel, israeli society & global Jewry
In this article Wayne Sussman analyses data from previous elections in South Africa and discusses whether electioneering strategies used around the Israeli-Palestinian issue translate into actual votes.
AFTER the first democratic elections in 1994, my older brother advised me to not only pay attention to who would become the President and the Deputy President(s), but also to focus on who would be the Minister of Finance, Minister of Home Affairs, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs (now, the Minister of International Relations & Co-operation). Alfred Nzo, the first Minister of Foreign Affairs, was one of those names I would memorise. My brother’s advice was to underscore the importance of the Office of the Foreign Minister, which indeed took on a particular resonance under former president Thabo Mbeki and his vision of an “African Renaissance”.
"... in wards which are either strongly Muslim, or strongly Jewish, very few voters seem to be motivated by Middle Eastern developments."
Exploring issues related to Israel, Israeli society & global Jewry
In this article Prof. Ran Greenstein explores how Isaac Deutscher's concept of 'the non-Jewish Jew' can be used to help better understand the political orientation of Jewish South African & Israeli activists -- both historically & in the present.
"Liberal Zionists are Jews but not ‘non-Jewish’ as they proudly are part of the Jewish-Israeli mainstream. Anti-Zionists are ‘non-Jewish’ (in a political sense) but are not usually motivated by a specific Jewish sensibility."
In a speech delivered sixty years ago, writer and activist Isaac Deutscher coined the phrase ‘the non-Jewish Jew’. This term referred to a group of intellectuals of Jewish background – Baruch Spinoza, Heinrich Heine, Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky, and Sigmund Freud – who, according to Deutscher, “found Jewry too narrow, too archaic, and too constricting. They all looked for ideals and fulfilment beyond it, and they represent the sum and substance of much that is greatest in modern thought.”
What was specifically Jewish about them? Deutscher argued that
… as Jews they dwelt on the borderlines of various civilizations, religions, and national cultures. They were born and brought up on the borderlines of various epochs ... They were each in society and yet not in it, of it and yet not of it. It was this that enabled them to rise in thought above their societies, above their nations, above their times and generations.
Israel & global jewry [trends & prospects]: exploring issues related to israel, israeli society & global jewry
In this article Rolene Marks explores how South Africa, in particular its attitudes and positions towards Israel, Zionism and the South African Jewish community, is represented in the Israeli (print) media.
"Whilst there has been much written on how Israel is covered in South African media there is very little on how relations between the two states is covered in the Israeli media"
WHEN Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, was asked his opinion about the United Nations’ propensity to castigate his country, he shrugged and answered, “Um, Shmum” (signifying dismissal or contempt). This term is an apt description of how Israelis currently feel about South Africa. Once a country that fascinated the Israeli media and public, South Africa is still widely covered in the Israeli media – but for the wrong reasons.
exploring issues related to Israel, israeli society & global Jewry
In this article, Bev Goldman suggests that the current political and social climate in South Africa has left the Jewish community feeling vulnerable. She explores what a Ramaphosa presidency might mean for South Africa-Israel relations and the future of the South African Jewish community.
AS we enter a Ramaphosa-presidency, there is little doubt that “we live in interesting times.” Tumultuous and tempestuous, yes, but riveting too. What will the future bring? How imminent and dramatic will change be? And, considering the ANC’s stance on Israel, will these changes include a dramatic reconfiguration of relations between South Africa and Israel?
"Local businesses that continue to seek alliances with Israeli enterprises seemingly pay little, if any, attention – on the surface at least – to the political noises emanating from those who hold power."
Our Jewish community is an intriguing one. Our public utterances present an outward picture that we are a united community, that we strive for the same goals and aims, that we traverse the same beat. For the disinterested, the uninformed and those who still have hope, there is some sort of safety in trotting out the tried and tested axiom that South Africa and Israel, for all the media hype, are in reality still good friends away from the glare of the public spotlight. To think otherwise would suggest that the Jewish community’s relationship with the national government is soon to enter a turbulent period.
Jewish communal leaders – and some members of the Jewish community – have been quick to label these moves as mortal threats to the relationship between the states, and to the local Jewish community. The evidence suggests otherwise.