In South Africa last month, the deputy foreign minister echoed a statement that we’ve heard voiced a bit more frequently lately: that Jewish money dominates U.S. foreign policy. (This may seem like old news, but, as you’ve probably realized, I’ve been a bit distracted.) Here’s what led the Jewish Board of Deputies to file a complaint of hate speech in South Africa:
On Jan. 14, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Fatima Hajaig told a pro-Palestinian rally that Jews controlled America “no matter which government comes into power, whether Republican or Democratic, whether Barack Obama or George Bush.”
“The control of America, just like the control of most Western countries, is in the hands of Jewish money,” she said. “If the Jewish money controls their country, then you cannot expect anything else.”
A local Muslim television station, Channel Islam International, aired Hajaig’s comments as part of its rally coverage.
The rally, held during Israel’s three-week operation in Gaza, was organized by the Congress of South African Trade Unions, a partner of the ruling African National Congress party. Other sponors included the Palestinian Solidarity Committee, the South Africa Communist Party—also an ANC government partner—and the South Africa Council of Churches.
“We haven’t seen such brazen Jew-baiting from a senior government representative in South Africa for at least 50 years,” David Saks, the associate director of the South Africa Jewish Board of Deputies, told JTA. “What was especially troubling about it was the raucously enthusiastic response from the large audience.”