From Sieg Heils to Boycott-by-Foreskin: the arsenal of the ANC’s anti-Israeli tactics

As the military incursion into Gaza continues, some leading South African politicians share their unsavory views online, bringing the Middle East offensive much closer to home – and perhaps desperately so

As the war in the Middle East seems to move from ceasefire to ceasefire rather unsuccessfully, South African politicians have begun to weigh in on the conflict, revealing a lack of knowledge in the art of diplomacy perhaps.

Tony Ehrenreich, the controversial deputy-general of COSATU and leader of the opposition in the Cape Town City Council, caused an outrage this week when he went beyond his standard calls for renewed boycotts of all Israeli goods. Ehrenreich made his views public that people, who were allegedly complicit in supporting Israel should be punished by the law.

Ehrenreich wrote on Facebook:

“The time has come for the conflict to be waged everywhere the Zionist supporters fund and condone the war killing machine of Isreal.” [sic]

He went into particular detail about attacking the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, saying that recently arranged pro-Israeli events across South Africa were “gatherings to pledge their allegiance to the killing of Palestinians”. But his unsupported indictment did not even weigh up the attendance numbers of recent pro-Palestinian rallies against Pro-Israeli protests held in South Africa.

The Jewish Broad of Deputies has reacted strongly in the meantime by laying criminal charges against Ehrenreich, but this seems to have left the COSATU leader rather unimpressed, as he vowed to stick to his defamatory words:

“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,” Ehrenreich said as he repeated his attempts to justify his cause. It wasn’t long before Tony Ehrenreich had earned himself a new nickname online: Tony Thirdreich.

Tony Ehrenreich
Ehrenreich made the controversial remarks on social media platform Facebook

But Tony Ehrenreich is not alone in his quest to ruffle up some feathers and alienate entire sections of society in a single blow. Earlier this month, another ANC politician had caused further upset by tweeting a picture of Adolf Hitler with the caption “I could have killed all the Jews, but I left some of them to let you know why I was killing them” with the adage, “Yes man, you were right!”

The ANC’s Rene Smit was neither criticised nor chastised by her party for her more-than-provocative tweet, with the ANC leadership only commenting that the message had been sent out in a private capacity, thus hoping to distance the party itself from any conflict.

That being said, tweeting images of Nazi Number One and justifying current military actions with the Holocaust of millions of Jews and other minority groups during World War II must be a new low for SA politicians, regardless of their political affiliation – especially when the person in question is a social media manager for the ANC in the Western Cape.

This ongoing level of anti-Israeli sentiments began to take on even more absurd dimensions when calls were made to boycott Israeli-made male circumcision-aid devices, which are aimed at drastically reducing the spread of HIV, saying that “we cannot have exceptions” – according to COSATU spokesman Patrick Craven.

It would appear that when there’s a line of reasoning, which prefers HIV infections and Adolf Hitler aphorisms to whatever little common sense may be left in SA, there really no reasoning at all.