In Australia some Jews... - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • Mark Rose
    • 29.01.13 | 18:32 (IST)

    I spent my high school years in South Africa during the 1960's/70's and had many relatives there, some of whom now live in Australia. I agree in general with the article but I would like to make a few qualifying observations. The article states that 'most Jews voted for apartheid.' It would be truer to say that most Jews voted voted for the United Party (when it existed) which did not support apartheid but certainly did not advocate imminent black majority rule - a form of complacency. It should also be remembered that the only anti-apartheid party in Parliament was the Progressive Party which had two seats - one for Houghton in Johannesburg and one for Sea Point in Cape Town. They would not have been elected without the large number of Jewish voters in those constituencies. I would also like to comment on a generational aspect to the relationship of South African Jews to apartheid. The generation of the 1940's - 1960's were generally middle of the road supporters of the United Party who had a 'temperamental discomfort' with the strictures and specifics of Apartheid. This is not to say some did not vocally support it and I have no doubt some voted for the Nationalist government who were the idealogical engineers of the system. I spent my time in South Africa in a non - Jewish environment and I can attest to the jingoistic and vehement support given to the government and its policies by Anglo South Africans at the time. As the article states, most of the jews who were ideologically opposed Apartheid left in the 1960's and 70's. For those who remained (the majority) the generation of the 1970's - 1990 comprised of two forms of retreat from the realities of Apartheid. The first were those who turned to the Chabad/Lubavitch community and often comprised of well educated people from 'liberal' backgrounds. Others tended towards an more extreme and cynical version of materialism. Both were apolitical but it is this latter group that seems to have made its way to Australia and are now experiencing the dysfunctional relationship with Australian Jews as well as Australia in general., as they have arrived in a form of time warp in that they consider themselves politically moderate and are unable to recognize that their 'moderation' is to the right of what is generally considered moderate in western countries. Ironically their middle of the road parents would probably have been no more racist and possibly less so than the parents of their Australian counterparts.

    from the article: In Australia, some South African Jews still stained by apartheid
    First published 12:25 29.01.13 | Last updated 12:25 29.01.13
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