‘Sick with rage’ – Petzer’s video sparks anti-Semitic frenzy

What began as a smear campaign against a Jewish comedian opened a frightening Pandora's Box of hatred.

Last month, a video purporting to show comedian and Citizen online news editor Daniel Friedman – a.k.a. Deep Fried Man – belittling the horrors of farm murders and their traumatic impact on much of the white population elicited a furious backlash.

Given how fraught this issue has become, the excessively abusive and sometimes threatening messages subsequently received by Friedman were, if not defensible, at least understandable.

The video itself was compiled and narrated by one Willem Petzer, who allegedly has had it in for Friedman ever since the latter exposed him as the host of a Discord chatroom which regularly featured racist content.

Had Friedman indeed been guilty of writing and performing a song maliciously ridiculing the victims of farm killings and the distress their brutal deaths had generated amongst (mainly Afrikaner) white people, he could hardly have cried foul about any of this. It turned out, however, he had done nothing of the sort.

His song is no more than satire, and a rather mild one, of white fears and general dissatisfaction over their future living under black majority rule. Amongst other things, it ridicules those who had believed that once Mandela died, a genocide of whites would follow (rather as the Madam & Eve cartoon strip poked fun at whites who in the uncertain lead-up to the 1994 elections, reportedly stocked up on candles and other necessities in anticipation of a general descent into chaos). Nowhere is reference made to farm attacks, whether directly or by implication.

While Petzer may, of course, have genuinely misunderstood what the song was about, it is far more likely that he knowingly twisted and misrepresented its meaning it in order to make it seem to be about farm murders.

Whatever might have been going through his mind, the fall-out from his little stunt has been exceedingly ugly. The many vicious messages since received by Friedman would have been bad enough had they been confined simply to abusing him personally, but many went a great deal further by using his Jewish background as the basis for their vitriol.

Indeed, it is disquieting to see how readily people rushed to denounce Friedman not as a private individual whom they felt had crossed the line but as a Jew, even though in this context it was of no relevance whatsoever.

ALSO READ: How Willem Petzer twisted Deep Fried Man’s ‘White Genocide’ song

Antisemitic attacks were not confined to Friedman but quickly led to attacks on Jews in general, with the Citizen receiving antisemitic hate mail and various scurrilous reports appearing on ultra-right, white supremacist websites.

An example of the latter was an article entitled “Jewish ‘Comedian’ in South Africa Mocks White Farmers Brutally Murdered by Blacks” that appeared on the site rightoftheright.com.

As has become typical in these forums, not only in South Africa but in like-minded circles the world over, Jews are depicted as being bent on bringing about the destruction of the white races.

We are told that South African Jews have “been demonising and subverting the whites for the last 60 years or more, disguising their Bolshevik Revolution there as a philanthropic anti-apartheid ‘human rights’ campaign”.

The fact that the plight of white farmers is being ignored is attributed to the media and government in South Africa being “firmly controlled by the Jews”. The article nevertheless concludes by warning: “In reality, the blacks are the Jewish ‘golem’, a Frankenstein-like monster created to destroy the enemies of the Jews (South African whites), and like most ‘golems’ the blacks will eventually turn on their creators.”

These themes were readily expanded upon in the comments section. “Jews will pay soon for the treason [sic]… Jews want to destroy white ppl because they hate europeans since roman/greek times. They r parasites, no one likes them” wrote one reader.

“Pity his parents missed the train and the showers!!!!!!!!” wrote another.

Amongst the comments sent to Friedman directly was one that read: “You are Jew scum and like 99.9% of you oxygen thieves don’t belong on this planet. Hope you get lynched by a hoard of black savages and your balls cut off and placed in your mouth. SIEG HEIL!” Many others wrote in a similar vein.

To be fair to Willem Petzer, he himself did not make Friedman’s Jewish background an issue and has since distanced himself from the above sentiments. However, this does not diminish his culpability for having provoked them in the first place.

In an environment increasingly marked by racial tensions, mutual suspicion and paranoia, his reckless and unethical actions amounted to shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre. In the course of refuting the accusations against him, Friedman wrote: “From what I’ve seen in the past few days, large numbers of white South Africans are sick with rage.”

This is undeniably true, but the problem is by no means confined to elements within the white population. If the belief in Jewish culpability in the demise of white South Africa has taken root in this milieu, corresponding notions of the ANC having sold out the black population at the behest of their Jewish masters are likewise surfacing in more radical black circles.

The increasing readiness of people of all backgrounds to make Jews the scapegoats for their country’s problems by peddling crass antisemitic conspiracy theories is symptomatic of a deeply unhealthy society.

A few months from now, South Africans will mark the first quarter-century of multi-racial democracy in their country. One can but hope this milestone will become an occasion for serious introspection as to how we have strayed from the united, non-racial ethos that marked the early years of the transition and to committing ourselves to recapturing at least something of that spirit.

David Saks is Associate Director of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies

David Saks of The South African Jewish Board of Deputies.

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