By Dr. Charles Asher Small for the Euronews – 12 January 2024

Instead of making claims that are nothing short of modern-day blood libels against Jews, the ANC should be working to create a safer and more transparent democracy for the people of South Africa, Charles Asher Small writes.

In 1982, as a new first-year undergraduate student of politics at McGill University in Canada, I took a course with the renowned professor Sam Noumoff on the politics of revolution. 

He gave a series of lectures about Apartheid South Africa. Its Nazi-inspired fascist and racist ideology that governed every aspect of the segregated society based on racial categories, both shocked and disturbed me.

It was an issue I had barely any prior understanding of. I couldn’t fathom that in my lifetime, an entire society was being ruled by an ideology of racial supremacy that was closely based on the Nazi ideology and a worldview that systematically annihilated my grandparent’s generation. 

An ideology which I thought had been consigned to the trashcan of history. Yet the architects of apartheid — Verwoerd and Smuts — were racist antisemites who aligned themselves with this supremacist worldview, and the system was still in place, in my lifetime.

The anti-apartheid movement made sense to me

Eventually, I met an exiled South African professor, Chengiah Ragaven, an intellectual leader and founder of the Black Consciousness Movement and teacher of Steve Biko. Under his mentorship, I gained valuable insights into the movement and decided to delve deeper into my studies. 

I understood that the goal of the anti-apartheid movement, personified by the great Nelson Mandela, was a social democratic society in which all citizens would be equal under one legal system.

As a proud young Jewish person with a strong background in human rights and Zionism, the movement committed to the national liberation of the Jewish people, I became deeply involved in the anti-apartheid movement. 

It made sense to me. I became the chairperson of the African National Congress Solidity Committee of Canada, worked with the leadership of the ANC, and actively supported its goals to create a democratic society in South Africa.

Tragically, the reality of ANC rule has failed to live up to the rhetoric and vision of its legendary leader and the vision I and others worked for decades ago. 

Yet, the ANC threw their full weight behind Hamas

Thirty years after the end of apartheid, the ANC has failed to deliver any of its basic promises, as the vast majority of Black South Africans continue to live in squalor. 

Rampant corruption among the ruling party’s leadership is out of control, making it one of the worst in the world. 

In 2023, South Africa once again featured in the top ten countries in the world for the highest murder rates, with tens of thousands of annual killings, and inadequate basic services such as electricity, nutrition, housing and employment.

Yet instead of focusing on transparency in their own party, or cleaning up the streets, the ANC has gone back to the world’s oldest scapegoats. 

Just like Nazi-inspired racists and Jew-haters Verwoerd and Smuts, who blamed Jews for all the evils in the world, the current ANC government is deflecting from its own failures by attacking the one and only Jewish state and threatening Jewish South Africans with prison for serving in the army of the truly democratic nation of Israel. 

The claims being made by the South African government at the Hague are nothing short of a modern-day blood libel, with the scapegoating rationale as cynical as ever.

The liberators of apartheid have tragically jumped into bed with the autocrats of Qatar, Russia and China, while throwing their full weight behind Hamas, whose own ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood is based on the genocidal European antisemitism that lay the foundation of Nazism. 

Hamas in its very constitution not only openly calls for a genocide of Jewish people around the world, it calls for the subjugation of women and the elimination of democracy — the antithesis of the ANC Freedom Charter. Nelson Mandela, who was close to the Jewish community, must be turning in his grave as his party betrays its very core beliefs.

Instead of siding with the liberal democracy facing the Islamist terrorist organisation whose own charter calls for the genocide of Jews, the ANC Government now supports the movement in Gaza that at its core calls for the destruction of Israel and the murder of all Jewish people.

The people of South Africa deserve more

It should be recalled that on 6 October 2023, Gazans and Israelis had relative peace and quiet. On 7 October, Hamas’ unprovoked rampage of rape and murder against Israeli civilians, whereby entire families were burned and butchered in their beds, began a war of necessity for Israel. 

The terrorists sang ISIS songs as they beheaded their victims. One even phoned his parents to boast about the number of Jews he had killed with his bare hands.

Yet, encouraged by the very enemies of freedom and democracy, South Africa has gone “all-in” with the terrorist group. Furthermore, South Africa has brought in some of the world’s most repugnant and disreputed antisemites and racists to represent them at the Hague, including former UK Labour Party head, Jeremy Corbyn, who has called those same genocidal rapists of Hamas his “friends”.

The people of South Africa deserve more. At a time when South Africans are facing the highest unemployment rate in the world according to the World Bank, and out-of-control crime and murder rates, the ANC should be focusing on the issues that matter. 

Instead of cynically deflecting with modern blood libels against the Jews, the ANC should be working to create a safer and more transparent democracy for the people of South Africa.

Charles Asher Small is Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP).