The South African Jewish Board of Deputies says it will be taking legal action against Black First Land First leader Andile Mngxitama over a controversial Holocaust tweet.
Mngxitama tweeted on Thursday: “For those claiming the legacy of the Holocaust is only negative think about the lampshades and Jewish soap.”
The board said that the tweet was appalling and that it was “crassly offensive, demeaning and hurtful” to survivors of the Holocaust.
“His overtly hateful tweet is a flagrant attack on the fundamental rights to dignity and equality of Jewish South Africans and should be strongly condemned by all in our country,” the board said in a statement.
Mngxitama says the tweet was intended to prove that Jews were racist because they didn’t react when Western Cape Premier Helen Zille made a similar statement on colonialism.
“I’m just paraphrasing her, literally. That’s all,” said Mngxitama.
“We just gave back to them what Helen Zille gave.”
Having met with lawyers and in pursuit of legal action, the Jewish board’s Wendy Kahn said there was no justification for such sentiments.
“We don’t find genocide to be humorous at all. We lost six million people in the Holocaust, in addition to the many other millions killed.
“We don’t believe it’s a subject for humour and we think there is absolutely no justification for this kind of offensive speech.”
Zille vs Mngxitama
In her tweet, Zille’s expressed the belief that colonialism had positive effects, directly implying that had it not been for colonialism, South Africa wouldn’t have positive things like the judiciary, transport infrastructure and piped water.
Similarly, Mngxitama’s tweet implied that “luxuries” like lampshades and Jewish soap could now be enjoyed thanks to the Holocaust.
In both instances, most of the backlash was attributed to victims of the gross human violations.
Both cases were reported to the South African Human Right Commission and face investigation.
Zille publicly apologised and was subsequently removed from decision-making structures of the Democratic Alliance. She remains the Western Cape premier.
Mngxitama said his tweet showed the unethical position of the Jewish board and their selective anger.
“If you are not offended by Zille basically reducing our holocaust, the black holocaust, why do you care for any holocaust?” he asked.