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Ehrenreich stands firm against Jewish board

Tony Ehrenreich posted a Facebook update calling all South Africans to take a stand against the board.

FILE: Tony Ehrenreich posted a Facebook update calling all South Africans to take a stand against the board. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) says the country's Constitution does not condone the inflammatory behaviour of Cosatu's Tony Ehrenreich.

The board says it's regrettable that a person of Ehrenreich's political standing would use a public platform like Facebook to make controversial comments.

SAJBD executives have taken legal action against the Cosatu provincial secretary after he accused the body of supporting Israel's attack on Gaza Strip.

In a Facebook update he also called on South Africans to take a stand against the representative board.

The boards' chairperson Mary Kluk says his actions go against South Africa's history of peaceful conflict resolution.

"We have a wonderful legacy in this country of conflict resolution and I'd have hoped that they would have been more dignified way to have dialogue."

The body has laid a formal complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) as well as a criminal charge for public incitement of violence.

Meanwhile Ehrenreich says he will not stop the Jewish board from pressing charges against him if it feels his Facebook comments were offensive.

"Clearly they don't want anyone to speak about the atrocities in Gaza, instead they hold rallies to try and legitimise the killing of women and children. This is completely unacceptable because it goes against the Constitution of South Africa and what the country stands for."

Erhenreich says while the body is free to exercise its Constitutional right, he believes that charges brought against him are impractical as he did not intend to incite violence.

The Western Cape provincial secretary posted a status on Facebook this week calling on South Africans to take a stand against the board.

In the status he uses the biblical analogy of an eye for an eye to describe the action that members of the public should take.

However he says he only intended to get South Africans more involved in speaking out against Israel's attack on Gaza.

"We've got to bring more crime charges against the Jewish Board of Deputies themselves, so we've got to take more decisive action."

Ehrenreich maintains that the comments were made in his personal capacity.