Bill introduced in Congo to ban the only politician with Jewish heritage (and the frontrunner) from presidential race

Politics in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the United States have something in common: efforts to knock formidable competitors for the presidency out of the race via state action.

The Jewish Voice reports:

A law barring the Democratic Republic of Congo's only politician with Jewish roots — and the frontrunner in the African nation's presidential race — from taking office has sparked outrage.

The law, reintroduced to the African nation's parliament in Kinshasa this week, would block Moise Katumbi from running because he doesn't have two Congolese parents.

Proof that this is not merely some concern over parentage comes from the fact that

[t]he bill was introduced by Noel Tshiani, an ally of current president Felix Tshisekedi. Tshiani introduced a similar bill in the past, when Katumbi was also running.

It's possible that Jew-hatred is not at the root of this move, only fear of Katumbi winning.  But it certainly looks very bad either way.

Others see antisemitism at work:

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association, attacked the proposed legislation: "I am appalled by the proposed legislation that would disqualify a leading candidate from running for office based solely on their Jewish heritage. This is an egregious violation of human rights and a dangerous step backward for the Democratic Republic of Congo. I am sure, Congolese citizens will fight against this unjust bill and ensure that all people are able to participate in the electoral process regardless of their background. I call on all who believe in justice and equality to unite in this crucial fight for the future of the DRC and the African continent as a whole."

How, you may wonder, did someone of Jewish background come to be involved at the highest levels of Congolese politics?

Katumbi is the son of a Congolese woman from royal descent and a Greek Sephardic Jew, Nisim Soriano, who fled to what was then a Belgian colony during the Holocaust. Katumbi's grandparents were murdered in Auschwitz.

In his later years, Soriano emigrated to Israel, where he lived until his death. Katumbi visits Israel often and has met with Prime Minister Netanyahu as part of a delegation of Congolese governors.

Of course, because Jewish heritage is matrilineal, Katumbi is not officially Jewish.  But that has not stopped Jew-haters like Hitler from persecuting those with any Jewish heritage.  

Hat tip: Janet Levy.

Map credit: coolguy 22468, public domain.

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