A new petition on Change.org is gaining worldwide attention, as more than 28,000 people have endorsed a call for white South Africans to be given a "right to return" to Europe.
The petition states South Africans of European descent are facing "ethnic cleansing and persecution" from the South African government.
The petition was started one week ago by a Brazilian man, Rodrigo Herhaus de Campos, who states: "Over 4,000 white farmers have been brutally murdered, often including torture and rape and mutilation. Many white South Africans today live in poverty and squalor as a consequence of the ANC government's Black Economic Empowerment policy which shuts whites out of the labor pool."
Citing the "Israeli government's policy of allowing all Jews the right to return to Israel," the petition says, "[I]t is not only advisable but morally obligatory that Europe should allow all white South Africans the right to return."
The petition also calls for extending the same rights to whites living in Zimbabwe and Namibia.
But the move has caused controversy in both Europe and South Africa.
On May 23, the U.K. Express published a story with the headline, "Europe could be overrun with white South Africans who 'have the right to return.'" A few days later, the story's headline was changed to "White South Africans 'fearing for their lives' ask EU for right to 'return.'"
In South Africa, a small political party, the Front Nasionaal Suid Afrika, has been designated the "liaison" for the effort. But other South Africans are outraged and strongly opposed to the petition.
Angel Jones, founder and CEO of the corporate headhunting firm Homecoming Revolution, described her reaction as "fury" in an appearance on the South African Broadcasting Corporation. And the South African website IOL, which represents a group of South African newspapers online, dismissed Herhaus de Campos' statistics about farm murders as "dubious."
But some experts argue whites in South Africa are specifically targeted for violence. Commentator Ilana Mercer, who was born in South Africa and lived for some years in the country, believes the torture and mutilation of white murder victims shows evidence of racial hatred.
Mercer, a WND columnist and author of "Into the Cannibal's Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa," told WND: "The figures I've looked at show that in proportion to their percentage in the population, whites are likelier than blacks to be targeted. Now this differential could be chalked down to the fact that whites are likelier to be wealthier. Nothing, however, explains the manner of death reserved for these victims.
"When attacked, whites, especially farmers and rural folk, are slaughtered in ways that would do Shaka Zulu proud; in ways that beggar belief. The telltale of racial hatred is seared into the mangled, mutilated bodies of over four thousand dead Afrikaner farmers and their families."
Journalist Alex Newman, author of the recent book "Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians Are Using Government Schools to Destroy America's Children," has written about South Africa for years and warns white South Africans face nothing less than genocide at the hands of an increasingly far-left government.
Newsman, who lived in South Africa from 2004 to 2005, explained to WND: "While tragic that European-descent South Africans are in this situation, it is the reality, and the world must act. Radical South African President Jacob Zuma publicly sings songs advocating the extermination of whites in the only homeland they know. They are being openly dehumanized and slaughtered as the regime does nothing, or worse, encourages it.
"The Communist Party-African National Congress (ANC) regime is going off the rails, and the world's leading expert on genocide, Dr. Gregory Stanton, has already sounded the alarm bell about the planned extermination of South Africans of European ancestry."
Ilana Mercer's "Into the Cannibal's Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa" is a polemical work anchored in history, reality, fact and the political philosophy of classical liberalism.
Both Newman and Mercer charge Western leaders with hypocrisy when it comes to immigration.
Mercer observes, "Over the objections of Europeans, unelected Eurocrats are planning to accept at least a million uneducated, poor, possibly illiterate, predominantly male, and by necessity violence-prone north-Africans, sailing from Libyan ports to southern Italy – but imperiled white South Africans claiming refugee status are regularly returned to South Africa."
Newman declares, "If Europe and the United States can take in tens of millions of refugees and immigrants from the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, and every other place where there is trouble, they can certainly find space for a few million upstanding South Africans fleeing for their lives."
As Mercer notes, South Africa was once a haven for political dissidents, notably "for Jews like my grandfather who fled the Bolsheviks to build a life in South Africa." Citing Polish and Czech refugees who "found a haven in South Africa when they fled Communism's depredations," Mercer asks, "Where's the reciprocity?"
Mercer warns whites in South Africa face a "slow-motion Zimbabwe" if they do not flee the country.
"Zimbabwe is likely a harbinger of things to come. It's instructive to understand that South Africa's strongmen and their poor black constituents salute Robert Mugabe for giving greedy whites 'a long-delayed and just come-uppance.' When Mugabe took power in 1980, there were about 300,000 whites in Zimbabwe. Pursuant to the purges conducted by the leader and his people, fewer than 20,000 whites remain and of these, only 200 are farmers."
Mercer also claims whites face no economic future in South Africa, telling WND: "Although most farmland in South Africa is still owned by whites, the ANC government is working to change the landowner's landscape. An extremely radical form of affirmative actions, Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), means that racist labor laws make it hard for able white men to make a living."
Newman said, "South Africans of all races should be able to live in peace and freedom without persecution, racist laws barring them from the economy, and the grotesque farm murders that have become a fact of life for so many South Africans."
But absent those South African reforms, Newman says, "The West has a duty to allow these hard-working, Western-minded, Christian refugees to find a new place to call home, because these beleaguered people have gone through enough."
Mercer says America could use many of the white South African refugees, and explains: "As I describe in 'Into the Cannibal's Pot,' there are no better farmers than the hardy Boers, currently operating under the most precarious conditions. Despite a life of graft and grief, most persist and persevere. These are just the kind of men and women whom America, once a frontier nation, needs."
But she also says Americans need to pay attention to South Africa for more ominous reasons.
"The situation in South Africa is coming to a theater near you. In South Africa, white taxpayers constitute a minority with no say in government. South Africa is a dominant-party state.
"And because of centrally planned, mass immigration from the Third World – the mass importation of undocumented Democrats – the U.S. is on the verge of becoming a dominant-party state, where a disenfranchised minority supports the majority."
Mercer also warns black violence against whites is already a reality in the United States.
If white South Africans, particularly Afrikaners, are not able to leave South Africa, Newman says one alternative is for "the Afrikaner nation to exercise its inherent right of self-determination."
In a Feb. 7 article for National Review Online, Josh Gelernter suggested a similar solution, calling for "endangered South Africans" to "set up a Singapore-style city state."
If Afrikaners and white South Africans generally are not given a safe haven either in Africa or in the West, warns Newman, "a tragedy of monumental proportions is just around the corner."
Summarizing the precarious position of South African whites, Newman said, "I just hope the world will open its eyes before it is too late."