Skin deep Diaspora Zionist leadership

Unelected Jewish leadership often make unwise decisions. Who suffers? Jewish bystanders.

Steve Apfel

OpEds Pretoria‎, South Africa
Pretoria‎, South Africa

Skin deep Democrats are fools, but can Zionists sometimes be their equal?  Are all Zionists necessarily wise?

Evidence that  replies with a resounding ‘No’ is ample. Zionist leaders, from America to the bottom tip of Africa, pick fights (it’s what they are paid to do) by groping for the nearest blunt instrument. This compels them to pick a second fight when the opponent, betting his good luck will continue, gives as good as he gets – or better.

The ultimate victim? That would be all the Jewish bystanders who had nothing to do with voting their ham-handed, perpetual leaders into office.

Take South Africa and the latest fight picked by two unaccountable communal bodies acting as one – the Jewish Board of Deputies and the Zionist Fed. Like almost every fight they’ve fought, the latest one is against an anti-Zionist government acting in cahoots with BDS. The fight, drawn out and ongoing, is over a looming left-right punch: a government that singlehandedly made bedlam of a near perfect country, wants to downgrade its embassy in Israel, then follow it by sending Israel’s ambassador packing, “to the Dead Sea.” (Is that an echo of Hamas and its old threat to send Zionists packing to the Med?)

Fighting this fight, as they’ve fought others, Zionist leaders, to be polite, have been ham-handed. One, they forgot the obvious maxim, that you hit the opponent where he’s weakest. Instead, a Jewish Board head called his opponent names. He picked on the lady driving the government’s Israel-bashing, and called her names: He called her Jewry’s “single biggest enemy in government.” How she loved it. With her backers and the anti-Zionist media in tow, the “biggest enemy” accepted that gift with alacrity.

Call an anti-Zionist a ‘racist’ and you’d better take care you don’t open a door to be saluted back, with interest on top.

Floored by the knock-out tag, ‘racist,’ and by diatribes on Israel and ad hominem attacks in the media, the Zionist leadersihp lies spread-eagled with a bleeding nose on the canvas. A cartoonist would seize on the image. There’s a Zionist leader flat on his back, bleeding, yet claiming victory: “Our voice has been heard,” he croaks from the canvas...And is echoed by the local Jewish paper. There it is, headlined on the front page; the hollow triumph: The Zionist “voice has been heard.”

It would be difficult, you’d think, to find a worse case of tom-foolery. Think again. Year in and year out the same Jewish Board and Zionist Fed have flattered to deceive their rotten government. They’ve lost no opportunity to tell hard core Israel haters they can “play a role in the peace process.”

The Jewish Board chanted that nonsense again last week. It “appealed to the government to use its experience in peace resolve the (Palestinian Arab) conflict. Did you ever! 

The government, soaked in evil, rode its luck. President Ramaphosa (his own son was caught with fingers in the till and snout in the trough) told the Jewish community his government “will continue to play a meaningful role in negotiations aimed at achieving a lasting peace in the Middle East.”


  • The word, “continue.” The ruling party of South Africa has never played a role, nor will it or could it ever be a role player, meaningful or not, in the cock and bull morality play titled “the peace process.’
  • “Experience in peace building.” The Jewish Board knows better than you or I that the country had one brief peace building government in twenty five years. The era of Nelson Mandela is old old history. Two successors, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, took a different path – the path of harping on white privilege and white monopoly capital and Israel the oppressor. There’s peace building for you.    
  • The Jewish Board read a statement, “reaffirms the right of its elected leaders to criticize” (the government).  Suppose you were that government. Wouldn't you understand that the Board was elected by the Jewish community by popular vote, so that the Board speaks on behalf of the community? I think I would. The truth is quite different. The communal bodies are run by perpetual leaders, neither elected by the community nor with a mandate to speak on the community’s behalf.

It would be surprising were unaccountable leaders interested in really making a difference.. 

There was their fight with the Freedom of Expression Institute. This Institute, manned by anti-Zionists, made mincemeat of the Board, again because it neglected to hit opponents where they hurt. I stepped in on my own – it was quite obvious the Institute was violating its mandate, and was dependent on corporate donors. Presented with the acid proof, the Institute backed off, quiet as a mouse. 

I offered to help the Board identify the Achilles heel of the government and its BDS tail. Let us hope that happens and we put up a real fight against it.

Alas, many Zionist leaders in the Diaspora are a far cry from the visionaries and intellectuals of old.