Johannesburg - The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (Sajbd) said it was concerned about threats of further protests outside Jewish places of worship.
This comes after a series of protests outside the Gardens synagogue in Cape Town, where pro-Palestine protesters have been accused of insulting the Jewish community over the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
"The Jewish community in South Africa is not responsible for the conflict in the Middle East. This community centre is home to the Gardens Synagogue, the South African Jewish Museum, the Holocaust & Genocide Centre, Café Riteve, and several South African Jewish organisations.
“This is not 'Little Israel', as the protesters try to portray it. Any issue they have with the government of the State of Israel should be directed to the Israeli Embassy," Daniel Bloch, a spokesperson for the Sajbd, said.
He said Cape Sajbd believes in freedom of speech and expression. But was concerned about the nature of the protests.
"In South Africa, there is protected speech, and the comments made at these protests would fall into the realm of hate speech. Using threatening and intimidating statements that incite violence and call for the death and murder of men, women, and children is not acceptable and will certainly not provide any peaceful solutions," Bloch said.
Bloch said the protests were currently happening in Cape Town.
"These protests started on March 29, and May 18. It was the fourth anti-Israel protest to take place outside the Gardens Jewish Community Centre. Following the second protest, we approached the City of Cape Town and SAPS, and we will continue to engage with them, as we believe that South African Jews, like any other South African citizen, have the right to be protected against hate, threats, and harassment.
“We are entitled to continue to conduct our activities without being subject to intimidation," Bloch said.
Bloch said the position of the Sajbd in the Israel-Palestine matter was a two-state solution.
"We believe in a two-state solution whereby both Israelis and Palestinians can live together in peace and harmony. Bully and intimidating protests will certainly not end the conflict, nor will they generate any peaceful solutions," he said.