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Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism in the “New” South Africa: Observations and Reflections

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Chapter Summary

In South Africa, for example, a serious "Jewish Question" was experienced in the 1930s and 1940s when, at a time of heightened Afrikaner ethno-nationalism, hostile ideas about the Jews were transformed by the radical Afrikaner white right into programmatic antisemitism. Today, this radical white right, with its conspiratorial views of Jewish wealth, power and influence, has effectively disappeared. In its heyday in the 1930s and early 1940s, movements such as the Greyshirts, the Ossewa Brandwag and the New Order, all clearly inspired by Nazism, were a serious menace. In recent times, industrial protests have occasionally identified specifically "Jewish capitalists" and antisemitic placards have been displayed at a number of strikes around the country. In the wake of the 2009 Gaza War, anti-Zionist protests led by the labour union federation COSATU raised the possibility of targeting specifically Jewish businesses.

Keywords: anti-zionism; antisemitism; Gaza War; Jewish Question; South Africa



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