Chief Justice Mogoeng’s love for 'apartheid Israel' upsets ANC

Published Jun 26, 2020


Pretoria – The African National Congress (ANC) on Thursday said it was concerned about sentiments attributed to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng expressing his apparent support for “apartheid Israel”.

ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said the former liberation movement was “deeply concerned” by the remarks made by Mogoeng during an interview with the “Jerusalem Times”. 

Mogoeng was this week on a lineup of The Jerusalem Post’s “exclusive webinar” which also featured chief rabbi Warren Goldstein and was moderated by The Jerusalem Post’s editor-in-chief Yaakov Katz. 

Among other remarks, Mogoeng, a staunch Christian said during The Jerusalem Post virtual conference: “The first verse I give is in Psalms 122 verse 6 which says: ‘Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee'. Also Genesis 12 verses 1 to 3 says to me as a Christian, if I curse Abraham and Israel the Almighty God will curse me too. So, I am under an obligation as a Christian to love Israel, to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, which actually means the peace of Israel. I cannot, as a Christian, do anything other than love and pray for Israel because I know hatred for Israel by me and my nation can only attract unprecedented curses upon our nation”. 

"I think as a citizen of this country, we are denying ourselves a wonderful opportunity of being game-changers in the Israeli-Palestinian situation. We know what it means to be at loggerheads, to be a nation at war with itself,” Mogoeng said.

On Thursday, Mabe said: “The esteemed chief justice entered the arena of political commentary which may make him vulnerable should he have to adjudicate a human rights matter in the future. He also openly supported the actions of the State of Israel, actions condemned by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on numerous occasions and contemptuous behaviour towards the human rights of the people of Palestine.”

“It was rather unfortunate for the Chief Justice [Mogoeng] to state that: "South African government policy was binding upon himself and that he was not seeking to reject it" but then clearly and openly opposing it "as a citizen". The ANC has respect for the independence of the judiciary. South Africa is a secular state and officials of the state, which include our esteemed judiciary are bound by the constitution to respect this.” 

Mabe said the ANC has consistently expressed courageously through its successive resolutions that the contemporary State of Israel is an apartheid state. 

“We support human rights and we stand with the oppressed Palestinians who include Christians of the Holy Land, the residents of Jerusalem and Bethlehem who are living under Israeli Apartheid. On 24 June the SG [secretary general] of the UN stated that the annexation of 30 percent of the West Bank settlement by Israel is a gross violation of international law,” said Mabe. 

“The annexation is nothing more than a land grab and theft. We will continue to work with all sectors of South Africa in opposing the occupation, annexation and colonisation of Palestinian land.” 

The ANC said Mogoeng has sought to turn the matter of the rights of the people of Palestine into a religious argument, which it is not. 

“A number of Jewish Rabbis recently rejected the notion that Zionism and Judaism are the same perspective. The ANC at its 53rd national conference expressed its unequivocal support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination, and unapologetic in our resolution that the Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed in the conflict with Israel,” said Mabe. 

“The chief justice is indeed a citizen, but he is the primary protector of the Constitution of SA and if the government were in violation of the Bill of Rights he and the bench must defend the constitution above all else and any other consideration, for this reason, his disagreement with the policy of the government is of grave concern where the main argument of the policy on Palestine is premised on human rights.” 

The ANC insisted that as a citizen, Mogoeng can question any policy but the context should give consideration to the station in life he now occupies. 

“We respect his religious choices but South Africa is [a] secular state and its judiciary must be secular. The chief justice is entitled to his personal views however when echoed out in the public such views should never be at the centre of societal polarisation.” 

Mabe said the ANC is now urging Speaker of Parliament to have “high level talks” with Mogoeng regarding his political commentary. 

African News Agency/ANA

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