South African Jewish umbrella rejects minister’s apology

CAPE TOWN (JTA) — A South African Jewish umbrella rejected the foreign minister’s apology for saying "Jewish money power" controlled the United States and other Western countries.

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies rejected Tuesday’s apology by Deputy Foreign Minister Fatima Hajaig for statements she made at a pro-Palestinian rally on Jan. 14. 

"They in fact control, no matter which government comes into power, whether Republican or Democratic, whether Barack Obama or George Bush … and if Jewish money controls their country then you cannot expect anything else," she said. 

The Board of Deputies lodged a complaint against Hajaig for anti-Jewish hate speech with the South African Human Rights Commission. Hajaig has not denied making the remarks and, in a statement that she read over the radio yesterday, apologized for any pain she may have caused South Africans, "and the Jewish community in particular."

Hajaig denied that she was anti-Jewish, saying that she had been opposed to apartheid and all forms of racism — including anti-Semitism — all her life. She admitted, however, that she had "conflated Zionist pressure with Jewish influence," but said that she regretted "the inference made by some that I am anti-Jewish."

The board said in a news release that Hajaig’s statement "failed to address, let alone repudiate, the blatantly anti-Semitic sentiments originally expressed by her, but merely apologized for any hurt it might have caused to the Jewish community. The bulk of the statement in fact focused on the Middle East situation and Ms. Hajaig’s viewpoints in this regard.

"It can only be concluded that Ms. Hajaig stands by her previous statement that the United States and most other Western countries are controlled by Jewish money power. As such, her latest statement does not constitute an acceptable apology but in fact serves to compound the original insult to the Jewish world, the people of South Africa and the United States government," the statement concluded. 

 

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