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South African politician says she meant ‘Zionists, not ‘Jews,’ control U.S.

by Brad A. Greenberg

February 6, 2009 | 2:04 pm

Hajaig

Not everyone who is an anti-Zionist is an anti-Semite. But clearly the rhetoric of today’s anti-Semites is to say that Judaism is a beautiful religion but Zionism the spawn of Satan. In fact, some of their best friends are Jewish ...

And that’s the point of clarification that Fatima Hajaig, the South African deputy foreign minister, has made regarding her statement last month that “control of America, just like the control of most Western countries, is in the hands of Jewish money.”

Hajaig says she meant:

I have just returned from a visit to Japan and learnt of the controversy surrounding some comments that I was purported to have made. I have reviewed the proceedings of the meeting and wish to say, to state the following: Throughout my life I have been opposed to apartheid and all forms of racism. It is this opposition that drove me into exile and to work with the African National Congress for decades. Along with all in the ANC and consistent with the recent resolutions adopted at our Polokwane conference in December 2007, I have long been cognisant of the immense suffering the Palestinians have experienced in the form of expulsions, collective punishment and massacres, of which the recent war in Gaza is but the latest example. It is to this suffering that I spoke at the meeting. I deplore the attempts of Zionists to justify policies that have worsened the crisis in the Middle East, in particular unmitigated state violence directed against unarmed civilians as much as I deplore indiscriminate attacks against Israeli unarmed civilians.

At a singular point in my talk, and entirely unrelated to any South African community, I conflated Zionist pressure with Jewish influence. I regret the inference made by some that I am anti-Jewish. I do not believe that the cause of the Palestinians is served by any anti-Jewish racism. As a member of the South African government and a committed member of the African National Congress, I subscribe to the values and principles of non-racism and condemn without equivocation all forms of racism, including antisemitism in all its manifestations and wherever it may occur.

To the extent that my statement may have caused hurt and pain, I offer an unequivocal apology for the pain it may have caused to the people of our country and the Jewish community in particular. I wish to reiterate that the major issue in relation to the Palestinian Israel conflict is the enormous suffering of the Palestinian people and the struggle for peace for all its’ people based on justice and security for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

As Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, I reaffirm the government’s commitment to engage all parties in Israel and Palestine to find an amicable and just resolution to the conflict in that region.

Ben Cohen at Jewcy isn’t buying it. He writes:

Check out the fascinating inversion going on here: instead of the word “Zionist” being used as deliberate code for “Jew,” the word “Jew” is being - accidentally? - used as code for “Zionist.”

Fatima Hajaig doesn’t want to explain how she flipped those around. And why should she? Antisemitic canards about Jews and money and power were, no doubt, furthest from her mind when she made this unfortunate slip of the tongue. Those of us who dwell on this point are playing the usual Zionist trick of changing the subject. As Hajaig’s defenders in South Africa’s Palestine Solidarity Alliance put it, what we have here is “no more than a sinister means of diverting public attention from the ever increasing reports war crimes, ethnic cleansing and a massive humanitarian crisis caused in Gaza by Israel.”

Yes, it’s very sinister. After all, Hajaig is clear that what she calls “anti-Jewish racism” does not serve the cause of the Palestinians, so how could she possibly be suspected of anything other than noble intentions? When Hajaig rails against Jewish financial influence, or when Hamas quotes from the Protocols, or when Torah scrolls are pulled from the ark of a synagogue in Caracas and defaced by a group of armed men, none of this is directed at Jews. Shame, really, on those who say otherwise.

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