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Leader of South Africa’s National Party Repudiates Anti-semitism

The governing National Party has repudiated anti-Semitic canards expressed by one of its members against a Jewish leader of the opposition United Party during a recent bi-election meeting in Piet Relief, a country town. The local National Party leader apologized on the spot for his colleague’s behavior and the outburst was condemned later by the National Party newspaper, Die Vaderland.

The meeting, organized by the United Party, was being addressed by Harry Schwartz, the party’s Transvaal leader, when a National Party member interrupted to ask Schwartz if he was a Jew and rejected Christ. Schwartz replied that he was a Jew and subscribed to the Jewish religion. His heckler then called out, “If South Africa lands in a war your sort will be in Israel.” Schwartz retorted angrily, “If another war comes you and your sort will again find an excuse not to fight for your country. I am a Jew and a better South African than you are. Your leaders will reject you.” At that point the local National Party leader arose to apologize. He said the views expressed by the heckler were not those of his party.

Commenting on the incident, Die Vaderland said it deplored the anti-Semitic interjection and hoped that “this sort of racialism” will not occur again. The paper added, “It will be a bad day for South Africa if our politics sinks to the level where people will be attacked at political meetings because of their origin or faith.”

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