The social fiber of our communities in South Africa is in a dangerous stage of unraveling and I believe the main stream media, social media and some community organisations and politicians are partly to blame for this unacceptable situation. The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is brought to our communities by biased and sometimes gravely propagandistic reporting and actions, pitting sections of the community against each other.
The uncontrolled outbursts on social media and undisciplined statements and rhetoric by some politicians and leaders in government contributes to the stigmatizing and demonizing of people in our communities which has reached a dangerous level.
Freedom of expression enshrined in our constitution is threatened. The Shashi Naidoo debacle is a case in point. After expressing her view on social media, she received death threats. It seems that the Israel/Palestine conflict is used by anti-Israel proponents as a tool of division — if you do not support their narrative, you are an outcast and a target for persecution. What happened to our rainbow nation?
The same happened to Dr Mpho Phalatse, MMC at the Johannesburg City Council when she reiterated her support for Israel at the Friends for Israel Annual Conference. The EFF and ANC threatened that they will not allow the budget to pass if Dr Phalatse is not fired.
On Thursday, 21 June 2018, a man screamed anti-Semitic insults to Jewish passengers after landing at Oliver Tambo Airport from Israel. This happened in full view of tourists from other parts of the world.
If these multiple actors on the hate stage are transparent and their goal is to seek justice for the disenfranchised, they should be applauded. But, that is not the case and some pertinent questions should be asked. Why do they choose to ignore the status of women and public executions in Saudi-Arabia? Why are they silent on the grave atrocities in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Somalia and other countries where innocent people are murdered just because they don’t practice the same religion as the murder gangs? I find it very strange, to say the least.
South Africa is a multi-cultural, multi-faceted country consisting of various races, religions and creed. If we allow the current divisive actions to go unchecked, we will leave behind a shattered country no one of us wants to see our children and grandchildren living in.