Jews And Communism In South Africa – Part 1

A large number of Jews have worked to promote Communism in South Africa, as Pike`s book indicates. Many of these Jews were involved in the organization of trade unions, particularly black trade unions. Some of the names mentioned by Pike are A Z Berman  a noted Marxist  who headed the Industrial Socialist League in Cape Town; the communist writer David Shub, Solly Sachs, secretary of the Garment Workers Union and expelled from and then readmitted to the South African Communist Party, Bennie Weinbren who directed the Non-European Trade Union Federation, Issy Diamond, Abraham Levy, Hymie Levin, Issie Wolfson, Julius Lewin, Louis Joffe, Dr Max Joffe, Molly (Zelikowitz) Wolton, Lazar Bach, Rebecca (Notlowitz) Bunting, Fanny Klenerman, Michael Harmel, Sam Kahn, Katy Kagan, Eli Weinberg, Yetta Barenblatt, Hymie Barsel, Leon and Norman Levy, Lionel Forman, Jacqueline and Rowley Arenstein, Errol and Dorothy Shanley, Monty Berman, Bertram Hirson and Neville Rubin.

Dr Pike (p 212-3) quotes from a South African Government Gazette Extraordinary (vol VI 16 Nov 1962 pp 2-28) which listed  persons who have been office-bearers, officers, members or active supporters of the Communist Party of South Africa . The list included 66  clearly identifiable as Jews , 61  white non-Jews  and two uncertain. At the time, the South African population was approximately 3 million whites, while the South African Jewish population was 110 000 (World Almanac 1958 p270). So there was approximately one Jew for every 26 white non-Jews in the country. If there had been an equal distribution of Communist involvement between non-Jewish whites and Jews, the Jewish membership of the Communist Party should have been one-twenty-sixth the white Gentile representation. Instead, we find slightly more Jews as members. In other words, Jews were almost thirty times more likely to become members of the Communist Party than were white Gentiles. If Jews with non-Jewish names were also counted, the ratio would be likely to have been considerably higher.

In theory this could be explained away as simple Jewish concern for the welfare of the underdog, the lowest classes, and in the South African context, evidence of Jewish sympathies across racial barriers, or non-racism. In testing such a hypothesis to see whether this is indeed the case, we can look at another instance. Such concerns have been notoriously, and very conspicuously, almost totally absent in the protracted conflict in the Middle East. There, international Jewish support has been overwhelmingly and steadfastly in favor of the Jewish Israelis, and not of the Palestinians who have lost their country, and in thousands of cases their lives, to the violent settlers from Eastern Europe and America. After all, the entire territory was under Palestinian political control until 1947. The Jewish population of the area in 1917 was a mere 7% of the 700 000 inhabitants. The other 93% were Arabs. In 1947 the United Nations under tremendous US pressure gave the Zionists, who owned only about 6% of the land, 56% of the territory of Palestine. Since then, there has been a steady take-over of the remaining territory by force, violence, warfare, bribery and stealth.

Source : A History of Communism in South Africa by Dr Henry R Pike

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