The South African Jewish Board of Deputies has said it will not be intimidated by the Congress of South African Trade Unions.

Port Elizabeth - The Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) on Thursday has lambasted the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) for singling it out and holding it accountable for the actions of the State of Israel. 

"On Friday, Cosatu’s Western Cape branch will hold an anti-Israel demonstration outside the offices of the SAJBD in Cape Town. Cosatu is well aware that the SAJBD represents South African Jews, not the Israeli government. 

"Despite this, they have singled it out for aggressive protest action. This shows yet again that they believe South African Jews to be answerable for the actions of a foreign state and as being collectively guilty of what their co-religionists elsewhere in the world are supposedly doing. This is clearly racist," the statement said.

The board accused Cosatu of not recognising the Jewish community as part of South Africa, and called out the federation's deputy on the claim she made that "most South Africans who are Jewish have dual citizenship". "This too is racist," the SAJBD said, adding that it was a "classic antisemitic smear that Jews care only for themselves" and are fundamentally disloyal to the countries where they live.

"Cosatu have a long and dishonourable record of threatening, baiting, maligning and insulting the Jewish community and its leadership," the statement said. They also said that the South African Human Rights commission had found two high-ranking members of the trade union federation guilty of antisemitic hate speech. 

"For Cosatu, defaming and demonising the State of Israel is not enough; they also wish to bully and intimidate Jews into endorsing their bigoted agenda against the Jewish state."

The SAJBD said they would not be intimidated by Cosatu and that as loyal South Africans, they would not be dictated to by the federation. It called on Cosatu to instead, focus on the myriad problems and challenges South Africa faced, "rather than on bringing foreign conflicts to our streets and thereby sowing even more division and ill-feeling in our society".

African News Agency (ANA)