Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich on Tuesday pressed charges against the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) at Cape Town Police Station. This came after SAJBD laid a formal complaint against Ehrenreich with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) last Thursday over alleged hate speech following a post on social media in reference to the ongoing conflict 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, who are complicit, will feel the wrath of the people of SA with the age-old biblical teaching of an eye for an eye,” Ehrenreich said on his Facebook page Wednesday.
The lengthy post garnered much disdain and opposition from various groups representing the Jewish community. Many opposing his sentiments have claimed they amount to hate speech and anti-semitism. But Ehrenreich was resolute in his stance outside Cape Town police station. He said SAJBD is creating and aiding the means for the justification of the oppression of the Palestinian people.
He said he had since last Wednesday received various threats on his life via telephone and social media. He fingered individuals sympathetic to SAJBD’s stance on Israel and Palestine.
Former Western Cape Community Policing Forum chairperson Hanif Loonat, who has also come under fire for comments regarding Palestine (and was suspended from his position on the City of Cape Town’s Civilian Oversight Committee), says Ehrenreich is completely justified in pressing charges against SAJBD and their sympathizers.
“He has a constitutional right to lay the charge, he’s been threatened. And with that in mind I believe he needs to do what is best for him; and that is to lay charges and for the police to find out [who] is behind it,” Loonat said.
Loonat said the remarks he made that lead to his suspension were made in reference to other posts by other South African citizens. VOC (Andriques Che Petersen)