What lies beneath Jewish plans for Table Mountain

In Jewish folklore a dead malcontent may return to possess the living. The troubled soul is known as a dybbuk, and it runs amok making mischief. It may upturn family life in the ghetto or, in the case at hand, blight a planned Jewish campus in the heart of Cape Town.

It takes diabolical talent to pit black and white, socialist and capitalist, poor and property mogul in a bun fight – and over an empty school of just 1,7 ha, even some of that protected by a heritage footprint. Tafelberg, as the property is known, is the prize. The heat of the fight is another marvel. The real Table Mountain could be up for grabs, so demonic are resistors to a school for Jews.

More than meets the eye

Here, one may think, is more than meets the eye. Think bigger. Think a trending concept of justice that barks from movements in vogue, and casts a yellow eye at one injustice that rules them all. White privilege, many wake up and go to bed believing, is the tight choker around the globe. What drove opponents mad, before and after the government sold the property on open tender? It being in, “a rich suburb of Cape Town (where) whites have near-exclusive access.”

White privilege hence drove them mad. What made opponents hopping crazy when a preferred bidder was announced? Jewish capitalists paying R135 million for the property on behalf of their Phyllis Jowell school, run from upper Camps Bay, the summit of white privilege. It made opponents hopping crazy. Ending white privilege starts with ending Jewish privilege. “Ending white privilege.”

Tafelberg is a local battlefield. Campuses and capitals from America to Europe are the frontline warzones. Here the ‘scourge’ of white privilege arms and energizes global movements, swelling them with envy, priming them for retribution. Look at the core of the BDS movement’s dogma: white colonialists came from Europe and stole Palestine from the native people. Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street are other racial and resentment-driven movements; while that sacred cow, affirmative action, hoots out back for the white skinned to make way.

 The antagonists, great and small

At this point antagonists in the local saga become instructive. The list is as broad as it is long. At street level Reclaim the City campaigns, laudably, to desegregate inner Cape Town through subsidized housing for people who live dismally in far-flung squatter camps called ‘informal settlements.’ Domestics that work in gentrified Sea Point provide the media face for the group. To make them more consequential, numbers are plumped up by dragging other disadvantaged groups to the fight: the poor in the suburbs of Woodstock and Salt River (do they know that Reclaim the City counts them in?); young professionals (how are they  disadvantaged?); even school kids trying out political protest, in school time or out, we don’t know.

The brain, and money, behind it all is a civil rights NGO with a Zulu name, Ndifuna Ukwazi (Dare to Know).Try to forget halos that angels wear. Think of a business competing for free dollars and Euro in the civil rights sector. Ndifuna Ukwazi gets hard currency from the pick of the crop: the Ford Foundation, compliments of white capitalists Edsel and Henry Ford; Hivos International, guided by ‘humanist values’ defined by pie in the sky notions of a free, fair and sustainable world; and the Wallace Global Fund, creaming the pie with ‘informed and engaged citizenry to fight injustice, and protect the diversity of nature and natural systems upon which all life depends.’ How nice! The Chief of the NGO and her staff look like happy campers, with hard currency to make light of the load.

 The Jewish alibi-givers

The inevitable Jews to boast of their proud heritage have their comrades’ back. The idea of a new school for Jewish kids rather than subsidizing workers to live in a swanky suburb is, if possible, more disgusting to the back-up Jews than to their comrades-in-arms. It is their purpose to be outraged. They provide the fail-proof alibi: it’s not about Jews, it’s about human rights for the poor. Some do it with élan, others clumsily. All bring in that bogeyman, Apartheid, which has been gone for nearly a quarter century.

Take a heavy-handed alibi-giver. Opponents to a Jewish school at Tafelberg, writes Andrew Feinstein from exile in London, “simply don’t have a prejudicial bone in their collective body. Some are young Jews, proud of their heritage. Most are progressive black activists who make common cause with people of all backgrounds committed to a just society. Yes, they will point out the persistence of residential segregation, underpinned by unchanged patterns of white property ownership…” (my italic).

Then he plays the conclusive Holocaust card to drive home that he knows what he speaks of. “Anti-Semitism is personal for me. In 1943 my great grandfather was sent to Theresienstadt in a cattle truck. More than 30 members of my mother’s immediate family died in Nazi camps, mainly Auschwitz. In 2000 I recalled this history in Parliament, when I introduced a motion to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Month.”

Here is a statement worth more than a nod. Remembering the Holocaust: fanfare and virtue-signaling for everyone and his dog! When the United Nations designates a day for doing it, we know that commemorating the Holocaust and hatred of Jews are not mutually exclusive. People are anti-Semites up to a point. Past that point they do more than tolerate Jews, they venerate them. If there is one thing anti-Semites love more than dead Jews it would be dead Jews by the millions. While the very name Israel makes anti-Zionists want to bring up, they will go to the ends of the earth to commemorate six million martyred Yids. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/20247

Hatred that harms

Then Feinstein defends a good friend in Ndifuna Ukwazi. The friend marches with Palestine solidarity groups. He lauds the friend for taking a stand by withdrawing from a march after it turned into Jew-baiting. Probably in the heat of the moment his comrades forgot the golden rule: “Stick to calling them Zionists; never Jews.” Anyhow, can you play with Pit-bull dogs then object when they bite people? For Jews, as for the bitten, it matters not what comes first: hatred of Jews or hatred of their Jewish country. The hatred is what harms, not the motive for it.

We then learn that Feinstein represented the ANC ruling party – run by criminals for criminals. It is the party that propagates fear and hatred of “white capital”, and forbids members to travel to Israel, knowing they will discover how well Jews run a country, not for a thin crust of crooks, but for the benefit of all.

Repeating a stupid experiment

“From the time of my election to Parliament,” writes Feinstein, “I felt that Sea Point needed to be more accessible to those who worked there. My desire to see Tafelberg used to integrate this beautiful suburb is heightened by my lingering disappointment in what happened to the Tramway Road site. We invested time and energy in the belief that Tramway Road held real potential for righting historical wrongs, but it ended in failure. Tafelberg is now the last chance, and a relatively modest one at that, to reverse the legacy of residential apartheid in Sea Point.”

Was it Albert Einstein who defined madness as repeating a mistake thinking it must finally work? In the heart of Sea Point the poor were given a tract of land. What went wrong? The land was too valuable and rates and taxes too high for them. The lucky winners, acting rationally, were not poor for long. They sold off their rights and moved with their quick money to other good parts of Cape Town.

Now the comrades-in-arms pick the one site that Jews bought for a school to repeat the failed experiment. They could have picked better sites. They do pick on them, only not so bloodthirstily as they pick on absurdly small Tafelberg for a housing estate. Meanwhile Sea Point’s sky high property values keep even middle income Jews pipe dreaming about affording a property in Feinstein’s “beautiful suburb.”  And what of the fact that vast tracts, perfect for low cost housing, lie empty in and around the city? Nor is the Western Cape Government sitting on its hands about that.

The ANC party had a long go at running Cape Town. Feinstein is forced to admit that “not a single subsidized housing unit has been built in the inner city and surrounds since the end of Apartheid.” Why? – Too busy squirreling away ill-gotten gains, crooked arms deal and all? After exposing his criminal comrades Feinstein fled the country.

Where Jews for the Jewish campus went wrong

Not that the other camp is made of sturdier stuff, or displays a wiser head. Investors in Tafelberg have been all faint heart and wobbly knees. Panic marked the spokesman’s public salvoes. Don’t engage with opponents, he warned; only to then extol engagement, before ducking for cover behind legal process.

Even a quick and clear cut court victory is thus doomed to be hollow. Jewish investors had to take the moral high ground – or be paralyzed to develop their dream. Protest action won’t be stopped by a court giving the sale and development a thumbs up. Anger will more likely get louder and uglier.

A bogus human right 

Meanwhile just thinking of privileged Jews gets the goat of the antagonists. The trumped up right of people of color to live in a “beautiful” suburb is a tissue-thin disguise. “Ending white privilege starts with ending Jewish privilege.” Therein lies what opposition to Tafelberg is all about.

That sour motives are involved; that the campaign is vindictive is all too clear. There are better viable sites in the inner city. Transnet the state-owned rail and port enterprise, owns Culemborg, long earmarked for low cost housing. The site is 50 times that of Tafelberg – and close for commuters. Yet Transnet holds onto the site. Has the anti-Tafelberg camp put the heat on Transnet? Hardly. Or on District Six, more prime land, where heels have dragged forever and a day?

No, the token Jews have been as meek as mice. Their comrades did occupy some empty buildings by the Waterfront. But their protest seems more anti the ‘white’ government of Cape Town than anti ‘Black capital.’ They’ll not utter a peep when capital is Black. Jewish capital alone lights the fuse.

About the Author
The writer is a prolific author of novels and non-fiction, essayist and commentator on ‘Enemies of Zion’ which happens also to be the title of his latest book. His works are The Paymaster, 1998; Hadrian’s Echo, 2012; Contributor to ‘War by other means: Israel and its detractors’, 2012; Enemies of Zion, (for publication 2017); and Balaam’s curse ( a novel in progress)
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