Zane Dangor is special adviser to Minister for International Relations and Co-operation Lindiwe Sisulu.
Zane Dangor’s aggressive response to an article that appeared in the SA Jewish Report is nothing short of bizarre. It is outrageous that in a robust democracy like ours, where all citizens have the right and are even encouraged to state their concerns with government, as and when issues arise, Dangor seems to be outraged when Jewish citizens object to what they regard as unjust actions by our government representatives.

His vitriolic response to the SA Jewish Board of Deputies voicing its upset over Minister Sisulu’s unfathomable statements regarding the downgrade is underlined by his labelling of it as ‘libellous’ and ‘anti-human rights’.

By characterizing those who do not endorse his anti-Israel beliefs as being anti-human rights, Dangor is smearing and effectively attempting to silence the mainstream Jewish community. He also persists in attempting to undermine the official democratically elected SA Jewish Board of Deputies, while lauding a fringe group of Jews whose political beliefs conveniently mirror his own.

In attempting to justify the ANC resolution to downgrade its embassy, Dangor reveals his own gross bias against the Jewish state. Surely as an advisor to the Minister of International Relations, his arguments should be factual rather than emotional? Instead, he refers to Israel’s ‘most serious international crimes’ as if this were an established fact rather than a hotly contested allegation levelled by Israel’s enemies.

His reference to the ‘deliberate targeting of non-combatants including women, children and members of the media’, is majorly ironic in light of last weeks targeted killings of innocent Israeli citizens by Hamas and the firing of rockets aimed at Israeli schools, kindergartens, hospitals and homes. Why on that occasion was there no condemnation, even of the mildest nature, of these unprovoked Hamas and Islamic Jihad attacks from our government?

The Bill of Rights, in our constitution, states clearly that `South Africa belongs to all who lives in it”. Mr Dangor, as an advisor to government and therefore as a public representative, would do well to take heed of this principle by respecting the right of his fellow citizens to differ from him and to do so strenuously, if they so choose. This includes the right of Jews to voice their views, to criticise their government, and all in all to be treated as equal members of our hard-won democracy.

Monessa Shapiro

Glenhazel

* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.