Dear Community Member
Yesterday, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies was contacted by 702 to send a representative as a guest on Eusebius McKaiser’s show for this morning show from 10.00 – 11.00. We were told that the topic for discussion was around the students that “took a Knee” at Hertzlia school, and the concept of Zionism. We suggested a speaker from the SAZF would be best placed to explain the topic of Zionism, and Benji Shulman agreed to participate in the debate. These arrangements were confirmed yesterday afternoon.
On the morning of the debate, both Benji and the SAJBD received an sms to say that they were told they were cancelling Benji as “Eusebius has changed the topic … so I have had to cancel you being on the show” and … “We are focusing on whether schools are appropriate place for political discussion.” Again, in a follow up sms, we offered for Benji to participate in the debate in case they wanted our perspective. We were therefore surprised, to say the least, when Mr McKaiser made the palpably untrue statement on air that he had invited the SAJBD to participate in the discussion, but `they had declined to do so’.
If Benji had been given a platform to speak, as the representative of the communal organisations, he would have been well-placed to answer some of the questions posed by Eusebius McKaiser, such as the meaning of Zionism. He also would have been able to discuss the various spaces within the Jewish community where opportunities for discussions take place, and pointed out the irony about the lack of outcry when there are those who attempt to disrupt any Jewish organisation from hosting any sort of function. Given that the Jewish guests asked to be on the show all held similar views and were all critical of the actions of Herzlia school, the show was predictably one-sided and misleading as to how the great majority of our community feel about the issue.
We will be following up the matter.