JOHANNESBURG (Oct. 8)
All four South African Jewish weeklies devoted their editorials this week to the situation consequent upon Israel’s decision not to replace its Minister to South Africa and the speech by the South African Prime Minister, Dr. H.F. Verwoerd, in reply to Israel’s action. Each of the papers expressed appreciation that the Prime Minister clearly recognized that Israel is alone responsible for its decision, and urged that there should be no attempt to blame the Jews of South Africa or stir up anti-Jewish feelings.
The “Zionist Record,” organ of the S. A. Zionist Federation, said that while Israel’s decision “will be viewed with regret as a further sign of the deterioration of the excellent relations which once existed between this Republic and Israel, ” there were “grim practical reasons which have forced Israel to align herself with the Afro-Asian states at the UN on the question of South Africa. ” This was generally understood, even by those who felt hurt at Israel attacking South Africa.
The paper welcomed “the fine statement by the Prime Minister,” in drawing the necessary distinction between Israel and South African Jewry and setting his face against any growth of anti-Jewish feeling. South African Jewry’s Zionist ties with Israel must continue, and it was to be hoped that in altered circumstances past friendship would be restored, the paper said.
The “Jewish Herald, ” Revisionist mouthpiece, criticized Israel’s decision. It said that while it was recognized that Israel was “in a special position in regard to all forms of differentiation between peoples on racial, religious, social and political grounds,” “historic experience shows that, in today’s world, governments send envoys to countries to suit their convenience and not necessarily because they agree with their internal policies. ” Israel, for example, still maintained diplomatic representation in the Soviet Union. “The Jewish community of South Africa deeply regrets the latest developments and the strain in relations between the two countries, ” and was appreciative of the understanding Dr. Verwoerd had shown and his warning against anti-Semitism, ” the paper declared.
The “Southern African Jewish Times” (independent) said: “Israel, concerned with her survival, has acted in a way that has caused embarrassment to the South African Government. It naturally follows that this is a matter of concern to all those living in South Africa , and hoping to live here for the generations to come, whatever the racial group which they belong. The Jews are not in different case from the others. Israel has been actuated by her problems of survival. But it would be malicious to suggest that human principles did not enter into it. It can, in fact, be said that with their past history, no other course was possible for a Jewish State. ” The paper agreed with Dr. Verwoerd that it was no fault of South African Jewry’s, and expressed appreciation of his warning against anti-Semitism.
The “Afrikaner Yiddish Zeitung” (independent) said the latest development followed the trend of events on the African Continent and Israel’s foreign policy relations. While welcoming the Prime Minister’s warning against anti-Semitism, the paper said this also had its disturbing implications, because it implied that there was a strong element which would be anti-Semitic if given the green light, and that only the restraint exercised by the Government maintained the proper position and contained that element.