South Africa Jewish Leaders Complain About Minister's 'Inflammatory' Remarks

Blamed Opposition for Taking Cape Contracts From Muslims

By JTA

Published March 14, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies lodged a complaint with the country’s Human Rights Commission over ”inflammatory remarks” made by Deputy Foreign Minister Marius Fransman.

Marius Fransman
Marius Fransman

In a radio interview last month, Fransman claimed that Jewish businessmen in the Western Cape region have benefitted from contracts previously held by members of the local Muslim community. “We saw that the DA [Democratic Alliance party] had given over building contracts … that historically were in the hands of Muslim participants and now they have given it to people from the Jewish community,” Fransman said.

When asked to comment again on the issue, Fransman refused to retract his remarks.

Fransman’s remarks ”are likely to foster ill-feeling between the Muslim and the Jewish communities of Cape Town,” the Jewish Board of Deputies told the human rights board.

Fransman offered a backhanded apology on Thursday morning, saying that the Jewish group’s “accusation that I am pitting one religious community against another for vote-catching purposes is deplorable under any circumstances, and is particularly unacceptable especially coming from a lobby that remains silent on its support for apartheid Israel’s human rights abuses as well as the Democratic Alliance’s war on the poor. If what I said created this impression, I apologize.”

Fransman told the South African daily Businessmen on Wednesday that, ”I am asking the Jewish board to act South African … not holier than thou.”

In another interview, with the Times newspaper, Fransman said: ”The Board should be more ‘patriotic’ and should ask itself whether it represented South African Jews or the Israeli government.”

Mary Kluk, the Board of Deputies’ national chairperson, criticized Fransman for leveling false charges of dual loyalty against the Jews of South Africa.

”The SAJBD finds it appalling that Mr. Fransman has attacked those who speak out on behalf of the rights of Jewish citizens of being un-South African,” Kluk said. “He has effectively accused the SAJBD and, by implication the Jewish community that it represents, of being unpatriotic because of the stand it is taking on behalf of South African Jews/”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.