There was a significant increase from last year in anti-Semitic speech, which the law prohibited, associated with the conflict in Gaza. On July 30, the Western Cape provincial secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (a member of the ruling African National Congress’ (ANC) tripartite governing alliance) released a statement saying, “The time has come to say very clearly that if a woman or child is killed in Gaza, then the Jewish Board of Deputies, who are complicit, will feel the wrath of the People of S[outh] A[frica] with the age old biblical teaching of an eye for eye.”
On July 10, the ANC’s deputy secretary general (a member of the party leadership but not of the government) stated that: “As we move towards the month of August and are reminded of [t]he atrocities of Nazi Germany, surely we must ask the people of Israel, has the term ‘lest we forget’ lost it[s] meaning…The State of Israel has turned the occupied territories of Palestine into permanent death camps.”
On October 24, a member of the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) placed a pig’s head in the kosher section of a Woolworth’s grocery store in Cape Town as part of an ongoing protest against the store’s marketing of Israeli produce. That protest was tied to COSAS’ objections over Israel’s role in the Gaza conflict. The SAJBD took legal action against COSAS for the incident and also lodged a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission.
As of November 10, the SAJBD recorded a total of 160 incidents of anti-Semitic speech, a threefold increase over the total for all of 2013 and significantly greater than the previous record total of 102 incidents in 2009. The majority of the incidents were posted on social media sites, but included 14 face-to-face comments and 64 written threats. The SABJD filed eight cases of hate speech with the authorities. Investigations in these cases were ongoing.
On October 4, a suspected arson occurred at Cape Town’s Open Mosque. The following weekend, in an unrelated incident, a car rammed the mosque’s gated entry and damaged video surveillance equipment. A police investigation was ongoing. Religious leaders attributed the attacks to the mosque’s policies towards women, LGBT individuals, and non-Muslims, rather than anti-Muslim motives.