Conrad Steenkamp
Conrad Steenkamp

Sentletse, be careful where you dip your pen

Response to Sentletse Diakanyo: “Jews do wield immense power and influence”

Dear Sentletse,

There’s a big difference between saying Jews are an influential minority (which they are) and claiming that Jewish money “controls” the Western world (which it does not). The minister said the latter, not the former. You, deliberately it seems, obfuscate the two.

Also, saying that Jews control the Western world is not a critique of Israel, but a hateful caricature of Jews. You are, therefore, abusing Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s comments about the sensitivities of some to critique when you use it to defend the minister’s statements.

What the minister said, and you defended, is the kind of propaganda that got pogroms going in the Middle Ages and placed the Third Reich on the road to the Final Solution. An ethnic/religious minority is generalised as the source of all problems and its logical corollary — that one can deal with those problems by somehow “dealing” with that group — is not far away.

It’s not quite on the same level as “kill the boer, kill the farmer” or threatening to “eliminate” the opposition, but it’s the kind of hatefulness that has so often created the conditions under which those guys with the dark glasses and trench coats get the upper hand and the innocents start piling up in heaps.

Words have consequences. That is why the Germans speak of “schreibtischtaeter”: people who were innocent of killing Jews, gays or Gypsies in person, but who contributed to the Holocaust through their writing.

Yours is the kind of rhetoric and frivolous polemic, Sentletse, that we South Africans have come to expect from our politicians and I am saddened when I see an intelligent young person like yourself follow their example. More so when so many readers, presumably also young and intelligent, agree with you, as was indicated by their comments on your piece. Our country needs responsible young role models.

And now I would like to digress somewhat. Mark Weber, the man you quote so approvingly, became quite explicit about his hatred for Jews in an article about the Anglo-Boer War (). Here he explains how the war was caused by the “boundless greed of the Jewish ‘gold bugs'” (mining magnates). He quotes a South African commentator at the time as saying that:

“Johannesburg is essentially a Jewish town. Most of these Jews figure as British subjects, though many are in fact German and Russian Jews who have come to Africa after a brief sojourn in England. The rich, rigorous and energetic financial and commercial families are chiefly English Jews, not a few of whom here, as elsewhere, have Anglicised their names after true parasitic fashion. I lay stress on this fact because, though everyone knows the Jews are strong, their real strength here is much underestimated. Though figures are so misleading, it is worthwhile to mention that the directory of Johannesburg shows 68 Cohens against 21 Joneses and 53 Browns. The Jews take little active part in the Outlander agitation; they let others do that sort of work. But since half of the land and nine-tenths of the wealth of the Transvaal claimed for the Outlander are chiefly theirs, they will be chief gainers by a settlement advantageous to the Outlander.”

The same old statistics game that you perpetrate in your own piece, Sentletse, in this case ignoring the existence of people like Sammy Marx and all the “Boerejode” who went on kommando against the British.

Weber collects further supportive quotes: Cecil John Rhodes’ associates were “generally of German Jewish extraction”. The “Semitic lords of the press” had successfully propagandised Britain into a “criminal war of aggression”. They were aiming for “an Anglo-Hebraic Empire in Africa stretching from Egypt to Cape Colony” designed to swell their “overgrown fortunes”.

The only thing that makes sense here is the bit about the “criminal war of aggression”, which, of course, the Anglo-Boer War was — just as one could call the war in Gaza senseless, brutal, inhumane and cynical.

Weber, by the way, also has some interesting opinions about black people. You can get an idea of what they are by trawling sites like “white pride world wide” () where his talks are announced. His opposition () quotes him as saying that: “I’m concerned about the future of (the white) race and I’m concerned about the future of our country.” “I don’t believe it’s possible for black Americans to be assimilated into white society.”

Weber’s buddy David Irving, another Holocaust denier, is quoted in the Independent as saying that it’s “fascinating to read what [Adolf] Hitler was thinking. A lot of it made sense”.
Like what?

“Oh, about women. Women have very special minds. They are superficially similar to us and they speak a very similar language to us but they are also rather like ants. They can communicate with each other without actually (using) a language that you can hear.”

When he gives his talks on what a jolly chap Hitler was, he wears a medallion that belonged to Idi Amin under his clothes.

Get worried, Sentletse. You find yourself in the company of crazies! Crazy old white guys! Folks who actually think that Hitler is just a misunderstood and misrepresented hero of the (white) people!

Be more careful into whose ink you dip your quill. It might just be poison.