supporting-rape-survivors

Writer to be prosecuted or anti-Semitic rant

  • AntiSemitism1
Attorney Ian Levitt confirmed this week that Matome Letsoalo is to be prosecuted for a string of vicious anti-Semitic comments he posted on Twitter more than a year ago.
by NICOLA MILTZ | Sep 26, 2019

Letsoalo was tracked down by the police in Limpopo after apparently going to ground after his rant 15 months ago. He is now facing crimen injuria charges after the state decided to prosecute him.

The elusive freelance writer, who used to feature on News24, posted several hateful tweets on his blocked @JustSmartRage Twitter account in June last year.

In one of his tweets, he wrote, “@SAJBD [South African Jewish Board of Deputies] The #Holocaust Will be like A Picnic When we are done with all you Zionist Bastards. F*** All Of You.”

In another one, he wrote, “@SAJBD Must get Decimated. We Can’t Have these Scandinavian Rats, Fake Jews, Zionist Bastards Running our Economy.”

He also posted distressing Holocaust photographs, a swastika, and images of a burning Israeli flag.

When criticised online for calling Jews “rats” and “scum”, he posted a picture of a semi-automatic weapon and tweeted, “I’m ready for you.” He removed the offending comments, but they remain in the Twittersphere.

It’s believed that Letsoalo has been blocked or suspended from Facebook and Twitter, and he doesn’t appear on News24 anymore.

Disturbing tweets going back as far as 2014 allegedly show him to be openly anti-Semitic and racist.

Levitt, acting for the SAJBD, told the SA Jewish Report this week that the state had confirmed that the prosecution was going ahead. “We are awaiting the date for Letsoalo’s first appearance in criminal court,” he said.

At the time of the postings, Letsoalo also allegedly threatened Levitt. On Sunday, 21 June 2018, Letsoalo tweeted, “You won’t take me to court cause I would Shoot you Dead in front of Police. Don’t mistake me for the common Native.”

Letsoalo’s tweets go back to June 2018 when a slew of anti-Semitic incidents sent shock waves through the community. They took place in the wake of television personality Shashi Naidoo’s comments on Israel and Palestine. Her comments followed a period of heightened tension and violence along the Israel Gaza border during the Great March of Return protests, and the controversial moving of the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Naidoo got into an ugly debate on social media, calling Gaza a “sh**hole”. She bashed Gaza for apparently not using aid and resources in helping its population, but pursuing an “ambition to annihilate Israel”. She came under attack by pro-Palestinian supporters and the Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement for supposedly being pro-Israel.

Within a 24-hour period, a flurry of viciously anti-Semitic attacks were made against the community. The SAJBD said at the time that the incidents “generated great anxiety and anger in the Jewish community”, and that screenshots of various offending posts had gone viral.

SAJBD National Chairperson Shaun Zagnoev said on 21 June last year, “The posts show how easily radical anti-Israel sentiment can spill over into hateful slurs and threats against Jewish people in general. We are being told that we are ‘scum’, ‘rats’, ‘bastards’, ‘pigs’, ‘swine’, and ‘fat-nosed f**ks’. We are further being warned that ‘our time is coming’ and that ‘the Holocaust will be a picnic after we are done with you’.”

Other incidents in that month included an anti-Semitic rant by two Muslim teenagers on a WhatsApp chat group called Sneakerheads which sells takkies online. A chat on the group, made up of teenagers many of whom are Jewish, turned ugly when the conversation covered the Naidoo event. The two teenagers have since made an unequivocal apology to the community.

Zagnoev said at the time, “Every single one of these incidents is not only an attack on the Jewish community, but an attack on our democracy. Racism has no place in this country. And certainly, any minority group is protected by the Constitution, which protects our freedom of expression and association. It’s no co-incidence that these anti-Semitic comments are coming after the very public humiliation and ‘re-education’ of model Shashi Naidoo for expressing her support for Israel. It would appear that those who support Israel are now ‘legitimate’ targets for attack.

“The vast majority of South African Jews are overwhelming and proudly South African, proudly Jewish, and proudly Zionist. We will not be intimidated by these attacks, and we call on every single South African who is opposed to racism and who values democracy and freedom of expression to say, ‘Enough is enough!’. We need to condemn politicians who whip up racism, and we need to condemn extremist groups who intimidate and harass individuals who are vulnerable and express an opinion that doesn’t agree with theirs. There is simply no place for hate in our country.”

SAJBD National Director Wendy Kahn told the SA Jewish Report this week, “It should be realised that legal processes are lengthy and complicated. The SAJBD’s mandate is to ensure that these cases are pursued responsibly to achieve the best outcomes. We work with excellent legal teams – in the case of Letsoalo with Ian Levitt – who has been committed to this case for more than a year. Letsoalo made his comments on social media, therefore it was difficult to locate him physically. This had to be done in order to issue him with a warning statement with a view to criminal prosecution.”

Describing Letsoalo’s comments as “deeply offensive threats”, she said, “Sadly, South African society has been inundated with incidents of hate in past weeks including against foreign nationals and women. We must stand up against bigotry whenever and wherever it appears, and for however long it takes. That’s why the SAJBD has pursued the case against Bongani Masuku for more than 10 years.”

Comment

  1. RadEditor - HTML WYSIWYG Editor. MS Word-like content editing experience thanks to a rich set of formatting tools, dropdowns, dialogs, system modules and built-in spell-check.
    RadEditor's components - toolbar, content area, modes and modules
       
    Toolbar's wrapper 
     
    Content area wrapper
    RadEditor's bottom area: Design, Html and Preview modes, Statistics module and resize handle.
    It contains RadEditor's Modes/views (HTML, Design and Preview), Statistics and Resizer
    Editor Mode buttonsStatistics moduleEditor resizer
      
    RadEditor's Modules - special tools used to provide extra information such as Tag Inspector, Real Time HTML Viewer, Tag Properties and other.
       
20-09


Yad---Generic-Banner---2


 

Follow us on

Newsletter