The South African Jewish Board of Deputies has publicly apologised to Jews who fought against apartheid – for not having stood by them during the struggle.I remember during the anti-apartheid struggle rabbis in South Africa argued for abstention on the grounds that apartheid was a political issue and yet they weren't so reticent about supporting Israel and condemning its critics. "Antisemitism", they said, was a moral issue.
Outgoing national chairman Zev Krengel, speaking on Friday at Lilliesleaf – the farm where Nelson Mandela and other Rivonia trialists were arrested in a raid by security forces in 1963 – said: “We did not fight for people who fought apartheid. For that we must apologise as the board. I think as the board we should have done more.”
He said the mandate of the Jewish Board was not to fight apartheid, but to protect the Jewish community and civil liberties. “We understand that the Jews who fought in the struggle are upset with the Jewish Board because it did not help them,” he said.
Krengel, who was elected as the youngest chairman in the board’s 108-year history, extended an olive branch to “struggle Jews”, saying they must engage the board to develop a dialogue between them and those who were not in community organisations.
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