A 9 Av call from Nizaar

A 9 Av call from Nizaar

Tonight, my wife took a phone call from “Jack”, who when I answered the phone, introduced himself as Nizaar.

I realized that the man “STOP THE BDS” had publically condemned for threatening to “petrol bomb ” the Cape Town Israel rally, had found my phone number, which is no secret, and knew that I was an admin of the South Africa “STOP THE BDS” page, which is also no secret.

He was calling in panic to tell me that someone had posted all his details and his wife’s details on the comments threade and he feared not only for his legal situation but for his and his family’s safety, which of course none of us had any intention of threatening.

He assured me that he was not serious, and pointed out that he had used the FB suffix “lol” after the threat.

We had a long, frank, and constructive conversation and I offered to convince STOP THE BDS international and regional groups to remove the post if he publically committed to renouncing hate-speech and violence and debating in a civil manner only.

He agreed in writing via FB message to one of the admins, and the post was removed.

shows how powerful FB is, how a civil and calm conversation can bring about desired results, albeit after much pressure, and how We live in an age where Hashem gives us the tools to stand up for ourselves.

We might just meet for coffee at the Cape Grace, or maybe even the King David, one day.

השבינו ה עליך ונשובה חדש ימינו כקדם

The Chofetz Chaim and Apartheid

“All human beings are God’s children”

The Ponovizer Rov, Rav Kahanaman zt’l used to visit South Africa a lot as he had relatives there and the Jewish community there has mainly Lithuanian roots.

He once visited the Chofetz Chaim zt’l after one of these visits, and the Chofetz Chaim asked him about how the black people in south Africa were doing and that he had heard they were being persecuted.

Rav Kahanaman asked the Chofetz Chaim what his interest was in south african affairs.

The Chofetz Chaim replied that they are also G-d’s people and he needs to be concerned about their welfare.
(heard from Rabbi Abraham Tanzer שליטא , Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva College of South Africa)

Kosher products in danger?

It has been reported in the “The Times”,  (Johannesburg,June 18, page 6 “Food labelling on the boil”) , that under proposed new “consumer” legislation, “if a shop stocks foods with religious endorsements, such as “kosher” or “halal”, identical food without religious claims on the labelling must also be available.

This would ‘give consumers their constitutional right of freedom of choice’, the draft says.”

In a free market economy, people have the right to buy and sell whatever they want, and not be forced to buy and sell anything, so the entire spirit of this law is anti-progressive and smells of interventionism and communism.


However, even if there was merit in the absurd  argument that stores had a “constitutional” obligation to stock products that their patrons were happy with, the idea that the presence of a label on a product which does nothing more than confirm the absence of any products forbidden to a particular religious group, is an infringement on anyone’s “constitutional right of freedom of choice” is absolutely preposterous.

On the contrary, any requirement to produce separate product lines, will inevitably achieve one of two things:

  1. Either the price of the product will be driven up, which would have  a REAL negative effect on consumers, and also provoke religious hatred and resentment as a result
  2. Producers and retailers would be unable to stock products suitable for religious groups, which would certainly be a very REAL infringement of these groups “constitutional freedom of religion”, leaving them with nothing to eat.

Now, I ask you, what is more of a constitutional infringement? A small harmless label, or interfering with free-trade PLUS a choice between forced price-increases and religious incitement or religious persecution and forced starvation?

As is common these days, some people in high places

Why the D.A. lost Gauteng- lessons from Khayalitsha


Much hoped was placed in the opposition “Democratic Alliance’s” David vs Goliath campaign to take South Africa’s wealthiest province from the A.N.C.

In a province where the local A.N.C. branch opposed President Zuma’s re-election as A.N.C. president, and where frequent power outages, the e-tolling debacle, and crimehave had a serious impact on home and business alike, the charismatic and black Mmusi Maimane should have been swept to victory.

However, those of us who feel shocked and disappointed that despite some growth in Soweto and Alexandra, the masses in those great bastions of the anti-Apartheid struggle stuck with the comfort-zone of the party they know and trust, despite its failings and corruption, should look to the province we all jealous of for some guidance.

the DA has been in power for no short time in Cape Town and the Western Cape, and has had plenty of opportunity to garner support and loyalty by changing the lives of the impoverished masses in its own black townships like Khayalitsha and Gugulethu- it certainly promised much in this area.

It even promised a rapid transport system between Khaya and the city before the last local elections, which does not seem to have materalized.

Yet the results speak for themselves- the DA won the Western Cape again due to its non-black majority, in fact with an increased majority.

in this ward in Khaya, however ,and many others, it coudln’t even manage 2% of the vote:



ANC 17 191 88.77%
EFF 1 309 6.76%
DA 256 1.32%

If in a province where the black minority is a relatively small percentage of the population, the DA has been unable to change the lives and loyalties of the urban poor blacks of the townships, and certainly hasn’t got the votes to show for it, how could we honestly have expected their cousins up on the Highveld to swallow Helen and Mmusi’s promises of free rent and 6 million jobs?

It is only when the D.A. is able to win the black vote in its own “success story”, the Western Cape, that it will have a chance of convincing the masses in Soweto and Alex to give it a try too, and this should be its focus in the next 5 years, not just planning for the coming local elections.

The ANC might be corrupt, but at least it gave its people water,electricity,and hope, so their monopolistic tyranny and arrogance has been given yet another 5 years, not because of their greatness, but because of the lack of real alternatives that people can trust.

Maybe the people aren’t as stupid as some think?


the biggest loser in these elections is the constitution



The biggest loser in the 2014 elections in South Africa could be our constitution


With all the hype around how many seats the ANC and the DA will secure, and whether the ANC will get a two thirds majority, one very  poignant fact seems to have been ignored:

For the first time ever, left-wing parties with serious support and a serious socialist/populist agenda, will have far more than a two-thirds majority in parliament.

Should the ANC , under Cosatu pressure, or for its own ideals, wish to alter property rights enshrined in the constitution and allow Zimbabwe style land grabs, for example, the EFF will happily lend them its support, and any such amendments will easily pass, democratically, and constitutionally.

Not bad news for those who think the Zimbabwe model  is good for growth

Those who believe in  the free market, and that liberty should outweigh equality, should cry the beloved country……….


DA taking a big risk by praising Mandela and Mbeki

In the excellent TV commercial recently censored by the South African Broadcasting Corporation, but now back on the air after the threat of court action,  the Democratic Alliance’s very eloquent candidate for Gauteng Premier, Mmusi Maimane, tell South Africa’s that the ANC of Jacob Zuma is not the same ANC of the great leaders that they voted for in the past.

for a party that used to attack these ‘great leaders”, one of whom, “Thabo Mbeki” was an HIV denialist and great supporter of Robert Mugabe, this is a rather hypocritical strategy.

One only hopes, that in contrast to the views expressed in the below article, the strong impact of the advert and message will at least help to woo some votes from those who have always loved the ANC but are now focused on Zuma’s crimes.

People, after all, have short memories.



Fugitive Rabbi and followers in S.A.- how to react?

How should we react when a Chassidic Rebbe accused of sex crimes in Israel arrives with 300 of his followers in our community before Pesach after being expelled from Morocco and now Zimbabwe?

on the one hand, there is a prohibition against helping sinners (mesayin yedei ovrei aveira) and the Chilul Hashem involved here is unsurpassed.

On the other hand, some of the more naive members of a cult like this might well be “tinokos shenishbe’u” and victims of their own upbringing and environment- would the normal Mitzva of kiruv and hachnasas orchim, and tzedoko not apply to those of them who have nowhere to go for Yom Tov?

the Chief Rabbis of S.A. and Israel seem to think “yes”, on condition that they agree to go back to Israel after Pesach- is this not wishful thinking though, and kind of like offering a drug-addict help on condition he gives up drugs in a week?

Is this not really a far deeper problem that needs far more expert help- they are, after all, fellow Jews who are either willing accessories to horrendous things or unwilling victims of a terrible cult?

is this not perhaps an opportunity for us a community to do far more- or is it more than we can possibly handle, and wise to follow the Chief’s advise and get out as fast as possible?

The Chief Rabbi’s letter is posted below

Dear Rabbonim שליט”א


As per the previous e-mail, R. Eliezer Berland and his followers have wrongfully descended on our community, and in doing so have exacerbated the terrible chillul Hashem of the situation.


However, it appears that some of these families are now destitute without food or shelter before Pesach. Given the dire circumstances, those who are able to help these destitute people over the course of Pesach should do so on the following condition, that after Pesach the entire group of these followers must agree to return to Israel immediately.


R. Eliezer Berland himself must return to Israel immediately to face the criminal justice system. It is untenable and unconscionable for anybody to support or shelter a fugitive from justice.


His followers must return home immediately after Pesach and we as a community must insist they do so.


The direction provided in this letter is based on discussions with and represents the consensus of my opinion and that of Rabbi Kurtstag and the Johannesburg Beth Din, as well as Chief Rabbi David Lau, the Chief Rabbi of Israel.


חג כשר ושמח.



Yours sincerely


Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein

Rabbinic fugitive in Africa

When the Vilna Gaon excommunicated the Chassidic movement based on its early cultlike tendencies, one wonders whether he imagined 300 Breslaver Chasidim blindly following  their renowned fugitive Rabbi, accused of sex crimes in Israel, from one African country to another, creating one of the greatest Chilulei Hashem of the day.

He certainly was reacting to the specter of thousands of followers of the false Massiach Shabtai Tzvi who followed their leader in his conversion to Islam  and his student Jacob Frank into radical sexual permissiveness.

yet we cannot blame Rabbinic sex crimes temselves on Chasidism- we have had more than enough of these scandals spanning the full spectrum of Orthodoxy from modern Orthodoxy and Religious Zionism to Lithuanian and Chasidic Chareidism-

nor do they have the monopoly anymore on blindly following leaders into insanity……

There is something far from healthy in our own backyard, and we dare not ignore it any longer