This week, on Monday’s observance of Human Rights Day, supporters of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and members of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and ‘Defend. Embrace. Invest(in). Support. Israel’ (DEISI) gathered and demonstrated outside of the Constitutional Court of South Africa in support of the Chief Justice.
The Judicial Conduct Committee (JCC) ruled earlier this month, that the Chief Justice must apologise for pro-Israel comments he made in a webinar in June last year, hosted by the Jerusalem Post. This came after Africa4Palestine, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions South Africa (BDS SA) and the Women’s Cultural Group laid the complaint against Chief Justice Mogoeng.
The statements made by the Chief Justice during the webinar
“Let me give the base. The first base I give is in Psalm 122, verse 6, which says “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. They shall prosper that love thee”. And see, also Genesis 12, verse 1 to 3 that says to me as a Christian that, if I curse Abraham and Israel, God, the Almighty God, will curse me too. So, I’m under an obligation as a Christian to love Israel, to pray for the peace of Jerusalem which actually means the peace of Israel. And I cannot as a Christian do anything other than love and pray for Israel because I know hatred for Israel by me and for my nation will, can only attract unprecedented curses upon our nation.
So, what do you think should happen? I think, I think as a citizen of this great country, that we are denying ourselves a wonderful opportunity of being a game changer in the Israeli-Palestinian situation.”
Supporters of Chief Justice Mogoeng say that although he is bound by certain rules regarding political opinions, he has freedom of religion and speech and did not say anything particularly political.
ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe states that the Chief Justice’s religious freedom is being trampled on
The South African Zionist Federation concerned over ruling
National chairman of the South African Zionist Federation, Rowan Polovin, stated to the South African Jewish Report that the organisation was concerned by the ruling as: “First, the original comments of the chief justice were legitimate, fair, and impartial. They gave full credence to both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His comments were in line with South African foreign policy, and he took care to note that he is bound by South African government policy on the issue.”
Bafana Modise of the South African Friends of Israel spoke passionately about the issue
Chief Justice refused to apologise
The Chief Justice chose to appeal the ruling and declined Africa 4 Palestine’s request to meet on the matter. He has held steadfast to his beliefs on the matter.