NEW YORK (Jul. 20)
Leaders of the Jewish community of Zimbabwe have written to President Robert Mugabe, protesting a “derogatory statement about Jews” he is reported to have made last Friday, the World Jewish Congress reported.
Muriel Rosin, president of the Central African Jewish Board of Deputies, the WJC national affiliate in Zimbabwe, said the letter asked for clarification from Mugabe and requested a meeting with him.
According to published reports, Mugabe’s remarks were made during a visit to peasant farming regions in western Zimbabwe. The peasants complained that white ranchers were refusing to allow their livestock to graze on private lands, despite drought conditions in the area.
“Commercial farmers are hard-hearted people you would think they were Jews,” local newspapers quoted Mugabe as saying.
Rosin told the WJC that the Jewish community was “horrified and distressed” by the reported remark.
Zimbabwe has a Jewish population of under 1,200, divided between the cities of Harare, the capital, and Bulawayo.