Date: 11 January 2024
In the words of former Minister of Justice of Canada and human rights activist, Irwin Cotler, South Africa is inverting reality by accusing Israel of genocide. The fact that South Africa has bought into this inversion, to the extent that it has taken Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), can only be interpreted as antisemitic.
As unfortunate as this is, it is not unexpected, given South Africa’s close relationship with Hamas.
The inclusion of former UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who will join South Africa’s delegation, confirms our worst fears about the motive of the South African government. Corbyn was expelled from the Labour Party for antisemitism. He also speaks warmly of his friendship with Hamas. This says volumes about South Africa’s intention.
Both DIRCO and the Department of Justice dismiss their Jewish community's concerns over antisemitism with contempt. Global Jewry are united that these charges have at their root an antisemitic worldview, which denies Jews their rights to defend themselves. They won't silence us by denying our reality.
The fact that it accused Israel guilty of “genocide” one week after Hamas initiated the war, is indicative that it declared Israel guilty, irrespective of the situation. For that same week, our President failed to condemn Hamas’ brutal attack on Israel. To absolve Hamas of any complicity in the tragic loss of lives in Israel and in Gaza shows a thorough lack of understanding of the conflict.
Why did President Cyril Ramaphosa not feel “duty-bound” to hand over convicted genocide President of Sudan, Omar Al Bashir when he visited this country? Or see it as a “matter of principle” to hand over Russian President, Vladimir Putin to the ICC when he was expected to visit South Africa? Or take a “principled stand” when he met. last week, with Mohamed Dagalo of Sudan, the commander of the RSF militia who has just inflicted genocide on the non-Arab communities across Darfur?
South Africa’s double-speak and double-standards is also evident with dogged determination to remain neutral and `talk to both' sides in the Russian Ukraine war. Yet, with Israel it has taken constant punitive action, including refusing to offer condolences to Israel after the 7 October massacre, closing the SA Embassy, issuing a demarche to the Israeli Ambassador and now taking Israel to the ICJ.
Why has South Africa’s abandoned their policies regarding conflict resolution? Are there different policies for the Jewish State?
The SA Jewish Board of Deputies regrets all loss of civilian lives. We too, desperately want to see peace in the region and will support all initiatives that will bring about a two-state solution.
Hamas started this war. Hamas can end it. South Africa could play a role in facilitating this.