Radio presenter calls for Jews to be labelled with "mark of shame"

Nathan Geffen and Mary-Anne Gontsana
News
Ivor Blumenthal, the former station master and presenter of Chai FM, has written a tirade against Jews who are critical of Israel.

Blumenthal. who is also the former Chief Executive of the Services Seta, wrote on his blog:

If we cannot have death squads because our Human Rights legislation forbids death squads, if we cannot stone these people to death because as South Africans we have sensitive stomachs, then we have to find other ways of closing them down.

We have to “out” them, their families, their children, their businesses and their friends. We have to make it as politically incorrect to be associated with them ... We need to name them. We need to shame them. We need to make sure that their ability to make a living dries up. We need to label them and their families with the “mark of shame”. They are traitors and must be painted on as such. There is no space or place for half measures here. This is not something that can be negotiated. It is absolute casting into the wilderness which is required so that the next “humanitarian” will think four times before taking the same steps to attack the Jewish people, our values and our beliefs.

He said most such Jews came from Cape Town, "where it is politically fashionable to be an anti-semetic (sic) Jew." He also wrote, "They are treated very much as the Nazi and SS commanders treated Jews who behaved similarly in the second world war."

He is ambivalent that stoning Jews who are critical of Israel is no longer a legal option, "Centuries ago we would have stoned people like this to death. Death is today not an option because, it just so happens that in South Africa we have some of the most stringent Human Rights legislation, ironically developed and forced through Parliament by – Jews, most of them who are the turncoat, ant-semetic (sic), self-hating, treacherous Jews ..."

Blumenthal has a history of controversy. In December 2011, City Press alleged that Blumenthal received a R7.5m golden handshake when he resigned as head of the Services Seta. The newspaper reported that Auditor-General Terence Nombembe found that Blumenthal's and other severance packages were irregular. Blumenthal has also written in support of what is called a "One Jew, one job" campaign on the South African Jewish website, Myshtetl. This campaign encourages Jewish owned businesses to preferentially hire Jews, an idea that is rejected as racist by many in the Jewish community. One of Blumenthal's articles on Myshtetl is titled "Jewish nepotism can never be a bad thing".

A member of the Jewish community opposed to Blumenthal's views pointed out to GroundUp that the MyShtetl website's Facebook page linked to Blumenthal's article, "without a disclaimer", as this image shows:

Facebook screen capture

Political analyst Steven Friedman who is Jewish and an outspoken critic of Israel's human rights record called for Blumenthal's views to be condemned:

The claim that everyone born Jewish must think alike and that those who deviate must be hounded is racist and authoritarian. It is typical of the attitudes held by those who have hounded Jews over the centuries - it chooses barbarism over traditional Jewish values. If these views are not repudiated by everyone in a position of Jewish responsibility, it is hard to see how our community can ever become a home for all Jews.

However, the Jewish Board of Deputies has refused to condemn Blumenthal's views. In an email to GroundUp, chairperson of the Cape section of the Board, Li Boiskin wrote:

Dr Ivan Blumenthal expresses a personal opinion in his blog titled "You cannot fight it darling - a Jew is a Zionist. By birth, not by choice." The Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies feels no need to comment on the opinions of an individual within the Jewish Community who is not speaking on behalf of any Jewish communal organisation.

Many South African Jews are critical of Israel's policies towards Palestinians. Most recently, an organisation called Stop the JNF published an advert in Friday's Mail & Guardian calling on people to support the international campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Blumenthal's article appears to be a reaction to this advert.

We asked Blumenthal several questions via his Facebook account which he chose to answer in a new blog posted yesterday instead of directly to GroundUp.

Doron Isaacs, who is also an outspoken Jewish critic of the Israeli government's policies made it clear he would not be intimidated by Blumenthal's threats:

There are thousands of Jewish people morally uncomfortable with Israel occupying and ruling over Palestinians. I encourage all of them to identify themselves publicly and speak out openly, without fear. Arthur Chaskalson was one of them. I am one of them.