A leader of South Africa’s most powerful trade union has called for attacks on Jews in response to the war in Gaza.
In a posting on his personal Facebook page Wednesday, Tony Ehrenreich, the leader of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in the Western Cape province, called for “an Eye for an Eye against Zionist aggression” and warned that “if a woman or child is killed in Gaza,” then Jews who support Israel must face an equivalent fate.
Breitbart News reached Ehrenreich via his cell phone–which is publicly available–and he confirmed that the Facebook posting was his own.
Ehrenreich is one of South Africa’s more important political voices. He was the Cape Town mayoral nominee in 2011 for the country’s major political party, the African National Congress (ANC), and still leads the opposition in the city council. He has strong anti-Israel views, and recently called for boycotts of Jewish businesses in South Africa if the Jewish community’s leadership, the Board of Deputies, refused to stop supporting Israel.
Now, Ehrenreich has apparently taken his campaign one step further–to possible incitement:
Its [sic] time for an Eye for an Eye against Zionist aggression…
We have seen in our own country that the Jewish Board of deputies [sic] have [sic] arranged gatherings to pledge their allegiance to the killing of Palestinians . W e [sic] are aware that the Jewish Board of Deputies has been fascilitating and supporting the funding of the Isreali [sic] Army as well as getting SA youth to join the killings in Gaza . This makes the Jewish Board of Deputies complicit in the murder of the people in Gaza .
The time has come to say very clearly that if a woman or child is killed in Gaza , then the Jewish board of deputies [sic], who are complicit, will feel the wrath of the People of SA with the age old biblical teaching of an eye for an eye. The time has come for the conflict to be waged everywhere the Zionist supporters fund and condone the war killing machine of Isreal [sic].
People in other countries waged war inside their countries for the freedom of South Africans from Apartheid , we are duty bound to do the same for other countries where apartheid is practiced .
Last month, another member of the ANC in the Western Cape province posted an antisemitic statement to her personal Facebook page–an image of Hitler with the comment, “Yes man, you were right!” and the caption: “I could have killed all the Jews, but I left some of them to tell you why I was killing them.”
The ANC refused to discipline Smit or apologize, saying that it could not do so because the comments were on her personal page.
In an interview with Breitbart News, Ehrenreich said: “Essentially, my point is that the Jewish Board of Deputies, who are promoting and supporting the war of aggression of the Israeli army against the Palestinian people–we must imprison them and charge them with war crimes. They cannot act with impunity.”
Ehrenreich said that confrontations must take place “across the world, like people were confronted during apartheid.” He claimed, however, that he meant his comments to refer to the Board of Deputies alone and not to Jews in general.
“How can I mean Jews in general when many Jews support the divestment movement?” he asked.
Asked what kind of retribution he meant by calling for “an eye for an eye,” Ehrenreich said, “I’m tired of talking to you,” and hung up.
The new South African Constitution prohibits “incitement of imminent violence,” as well as “advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.”