Hitler post: Jewish body rejects apology

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Associated Press

File photo: Matt Rourke

Cape Town - A woman who volunteered for the ANC during the recent election campaign has broken the silence about a controversial Facebook post that drew much criticism to her and the ANC.

Rene Smit took to her personal Facebook page to issue an apology for a post which contained an image of Adolf Hitler with the caption: “Yes, man, you were right,” followed by: “I could have killed all the Jews, but I left some of them to let you know why I was killing them.”

To this, Smit added, “Free Palestine!”

There was confusion in media reports after the DA led a public outcry against Smit and the ANC, misidentifying her as an “ANC Western Cape media official” and “ANC staffer”.

ANC Western Cape spokesman Cobus Grobler said Smit was a volunteer during the May elections, but had no official affiliation with party. He called the post “unfortunate”.

Smit deleted the post and offered the following on Wednesday: “Let me begin by unconditionally apologise [sic] for any hurt I may have caused by one of my posts on the unfair conflict in Palestine. I am truly sorry if any person believes that I am attempting to spread hate or hatred for any group of people. I do not and never have believed in the hate philosophies of Hitler. I am truly sorry for the hurt my post may have caused.”

She then went on to give “context” and her “understanding” of the post, saying she reposted the images “in the midst of seeing all the bloodshed of innocent civilians in Palestine on social media”.

The other image in the post was the old apartheid government flag with the Israel emblem in the middle.

Smit said she regarded Israel as an apartheid state.

She also said that to her, the image of Hitler “seemed to reflect Hitler’s arrogance and hatred towards the Jewish people, which, in my opinion, is now exactly what the Israeli government is doing towards the people of Palestine”.

Smit said she had removed the post when she became aware it offended people, but said she would “continue to expose the terrible attacks on the people of Palestine”.

The SA Board of Jewish Deputies lodged a formal complaint with the Human Rights Commission against Smit.

Mary Kluk, the board’s national chairman, said the organisation had taken further offence at Smit’s most recent post.

“Although she claims that it is an ‘unconditional apology’ there is nothing unconditional about it.

“She has in fact further compounded the insult to SA Jewry,” Kluk said. “We will continue pursuing the hate speech case through the SA Human Rights Commission.”

anne.steele@inl.co.za

Cape Argus


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