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South African minister accused of hate speech

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CAPE TOWN (JTA) — A South African Jewish umbrella group lodged a complaint against the country’s deputy minister of foreign affairs for hate speech.

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies lodged the complaint Wednesday against Fatima Hajaig with the South African Human Rights Commission.

Speaking Jan. 14 at a pro-Palestinian rally, Hajaig alleged that "Jewish money power" controlled the United States and most other Western countries.

"They in fact control [America], no matter which government comes into power, whether Republican or Democratic, whether Barack Obama or George Bush," she said. "The control of America, just like the control of most Western countries, is in the hands of Jewish money and if Jewish money controls their country, then you cannot expect anything else."

Jewish Board director Wendy Kahn condemned what she called the "classic anti-Jewish stereotyping and conspiracy-theory mongering," which she said were used to portray Jews as "scheming, manipulative and disloyal to the countries in which they lived. The Jewish community is outraged by such a public display of bigotry by a senior government representative."

Zev Krengel, the Jewish Board’s chairman, said the decision to lodge the complaint was not taken lightly. He noted that statements such as these against Jews by a senior government official had not been made since the days of the pro-Nazi Nationalist members of parliament more than 50 years ago. Krengel stressed, however, that Hajaig’s views were her own and not representative of government as a whole.
 

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