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SA Zionist Federation condemns 'ANC assault' on chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng

30 June 2020 - 12:44 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
The SA Zionist Federation (SAZF) has condemned the ANC for attacking chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng for 'endorsing' Israel.
The SA Zionist Federation (SAZF) has condemned the ANC for attacking chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng for 'endorsing' Israel.
Image: Sebabatso Mosamo/Sunday Times

The SA Zionist Federation has condemned the ANC and others who criticised chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng for “endorsing” Israel.

Mogoeng was called out by the ruling party in a statement for appearing to support Israel during a webinar hosted by the The Jerusalem Post.

“The chief justice's heartfelt sentiment exposed the boundaries of the ANC’s support for the constitutional right of freedom of religion, thought and opinion. This assault is not simply on the chief justice but on the rights of the many millions of South Africans, Christian or not, who believe in Israel and her right to exist peacefully alongside the Palestinians,” said Rowan Polovin, national chair of the SA Zionist Federation.

The federation accused the ANC of “paying lip-service” to the notion of a negotiated and peaceful resolution to the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel.

“Not surprising then, that it discards the key message of the chief justice, who said that South Africans 'are denying ourselves a wonderful opportunity of being a game-changer in the Israeli-Palestinian situation' and that SA’s goodwill 'is an asset we must use around the world to bring peace when there is no peace and to mediate effectively based on rich experience'.

“The chief justice, alongside millions of South Africans, is a committed Christian and enjoys an inalienable right of religious belief and freedom to speak it.

“Even office bearers like himself have the right to express themselves freely and to be treated equally,” the federation said.

The federation called on the ANC to distance itself from its conduct and “give meaning to promoting peace rather than hatred in the Middle East and SA”.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said that the party was “deeply concerned” with the remarks by the chief justice.

“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 UN Security Council on numerous occasions and contemptuous behaviour towards the human rights of the people of Palestine.

“It was rather unfortunate for the chief justice to state that ‘SA 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'," Mabe said.