An Open Letter to South African Jewish Zionists

Megan Choritz

Dear South African Jewish Zionists, (because, embarrassingly, there are also fringe Christian Zionists)

This is a personal response to your claims of victimhood and antisemitism in South Africa, your threats to leave the country, your demand for special treatment that gives you permission to believe your racist ideology, and your constant noise making and press hogging. I am calling you out.

This is very serious. It is time to call a spade a spade and acknowledge that claims of a rise in antisemitism in South Africa are exactly the same claims that white racists make of a white genocide. These are the same claims to a false victimhood. Six examples of antisemitism (widely contested claims since they were distinctly antizionist, not antisemitic) do not constitute a sharp rise in antisemitism.

What you Zionists are saying when you say that you don’t feel safe in South Africa is that you no longer feel as comfortable in the bubble of privilege, special treatment and access to the good stuff in South Africa, as you did before the genocide in Gaza exposed the lie of Zionist Israel. You cannot pretend to not see it. You cannot justify it. And yet you try to, and then cry ‘antisemitism’ when you are called out on it.

What makes you doubly nervous is that there is a growing demand for you to participate fully in a country that is troubled, corrupt, violent and unfair for the majority, for the poor, for the previously disadvantaged. Putting South African Jews on the same playing field as the majority of South Africans is new and uncomfortable. Basically, South African Zionist Jews are demanding special treatment. Like white supremacists.

In South African history a few Jews fought against apartheid. These brave and exceptional people were anti-racists and anti-Zionists. And they were ostracised and maligned. So please don’t use them as examples of Jewish heroes who fought against apartheid so that you, the conservative, racist Zionists, can falsely align with anti-racism.

Now to how you live in South Africa today. Why do Zionists in South Africa still feel entitled to self-proclaimed ‘Jewish areas’ like Seapoint and Glenhazel?  Don’t these attitudes perpetuate and reveal a Jewish exclusivity? A self-created Jewish ghetto mentality. The harsh reality is that very little has changed within Jewish communities of South Africa since 1994, and increasingly, you have been moving towards conservatism alongside parties like the DA, who you fund in a cycle of kickbacks, privilege, and entrenching little Jewish circles of power in government (in Cape Town), in business, in Israel.

The denial of incidents of antisemitism in South Africa would be a very serious mistake. But there is a context for this antisemitism. A march of predominantly Muslim pro-Palestinian supporters is not antisemitic. Pro-Palestine gatherings on the promenade are not antisemitic. Wearing a pro-Palestine t-shirt or displaying a Palestinian flag is not antisemitic. Slogans like From the River to the Sea are not antisemitic. Comparing Zionism to Apartheid is not antisemitic. Criticising the genocidal State of Israel is not antisemitic. Minister Naledi Pandor is not antisemitic.

It is so important to understand that you cannot be an anti-racist, active in doing the work of dismantling apartheid and colonialism and be a Zionist. This is a horrible trap that gets South African liberal Zionists in a knot. In such a knot the only way out is to twist antisemitism into the reason for your adherence to a completely unjustifiable racist system in which a whole people are oppressed, murdered, deprived of all human rights, in order for Jews around the world to ‘feel safe’.

The reality is that Jews in SA are particularly safe and protected by intergenerational wealth, political power, the exclusive communities in which you design the rules – private security, private education, privately owned businesses, with very little access to, or interest in, how the rest of South Africa lives.

And now I will say the quiet part out loud. My thoughts. You South African Zionists are using antisemitism to excuse what is happening in Israel: Racism and pure, old-fashioned Apartheid.

It is very easy to NOT be targeted or to not take personally what you perceive is an antisemitic threat. Be antizionist. Experience the true collaboration of being South African, with all its frustration, disappointments, genuine concerns, unfairness, inequalities, complexities. Be Jewish. And queer. And young. And old. And religious. And secular.

Ultimately, you South African Zionists try to say that you are not racists or pro-Apartheid, yet you justify Apartheid and racism in Israel, and claim it is necessary.  You are on the side of the oppressor even though you know it must be wrong, only for your own good, for your own privilege, for your own protection, for your own misguided belief that you need a plan B in the world. That looks like white supremacy.

Stop using your safety as a weapon. Nobody feels safe in South Africa for many reasons but not because they are Jewish. You are not special. And another thing: Your lives are not under threat here for your Zionist beliefs, your feelings are. You are not safe in your feelings. There is a false equivalence with your (emotional) safety and the real daily threat that Palestinians have been living under. If you can’t or won’t see this, you are being dafka, and your feelings will be dismissed as childish.

Also, stop threatening that your fear for your safety is making you want to leave the country. Be my guest. Go. Go somewhere where there is real antisemitism directed at Jews by ultra-right wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacists. That is antisemitism. That is what it looks like. Either play your part in democratic South Africa by being against apartheid and its legacy, or go. Stay and stand up for what is right and just and fair and human, in the name of Judaism, or go.

Also, be ballsy enough to stand up for the trouble you cause. Dear man, Joburg City Councillor Daniel Schay, if you are going to wear an Israeli flag tie as provocation, expect what comes with it, which is a dismay and a disgust at who you are and what you support, but do not call it antisemitism. People will laugh at you. In fact, they did. I still am. You are pathetic and immature and provocative, and you tried to make a claim of antisemitism that nobody bought. Phansi.

Also, dear scapegoat and child-man David Teeger, if you really believed you were the target of antisemitism instead of what you were actually doing, standing against the human rights of non-Jews as supported by South Africa and its constitution, please understand why people think you are a racist and a supporter of Apartheid, not entitled to represent the country you live in. Too hard to swallow? Leave.

A great way to not feel like a victim of antisemitism is to be antizionist. If you show South Africans that you are against Apartheid, genocidal, supremacist Israel, in Judaism’s name express your antizionist, antiracist feelings as a true Jew and welcome to the world.

Finally, can you stop making yourselves so important that everyone needs to deal with you? Our government has bigger fish to fry than your hurt feelings. They aren’t getting a lot right and could do with your involvement, support, and constructive input, since you are South African.

Yours genuinely and sincerely


A South African Jewish anti-zionist


What I didn’t share before is my grief. My grief because of the loss of family and friends. The grief that I knew and loved people with hearts of stone, selfish beyond humanity, and racist to the point of disbelief.

Zionism has turned kind, thoughtful, otherwise normal people into monsters. And it has left me broken hearted. I have been lucky enough to be embraced by a small community of anti-zionist Jewish South African humans at SAJFP and that has given me enormous comfort.

And the pro-Palestinian community in general has held me, encouraged me and supported me while I have grieved and raged.