The South African Friends of Israel is appalled by the recent Judicial Services Commission (JSC) judgment that seeks to censure and silence Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng on his remarks about his biblical love for Israel alongside the peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

The Chief Justice’s remarks are legitimate, fair and non-controversial. They were made in accordance with his deeply held religious beliefs which are protected under the South African constitution, alongside the Judicial Code which regulates judicial conduct. Religious beliefs, and the freedom to express them, do not suddenly become controversial when a small and radical group of anti-Israel activists deem them to be. 

This judgement is a form of institutional cancel culture against judges who publicly express the Christian beliefs that underpin their support of Israel and peace. This effectively has a chilling effect on future behaviour, which is unacceptable in a constitutional democracy such as ours. It is particularly concerning when the majority of our country’s population is Christian with ties to the Holy Land and the only democratic state in the entire Middle East. It is especially notable that some judges, such as Siraj Desai, have had a long history supporting extremist groups in Gaza and Iran, even leading tours of activists in this regard, without any sanction or censure. 

The South African Friends of Israel strongly protests the decision from the JSC. It cannot be that a few small but noisy and extremist groups have the last say on the beliefs and views of peace-loving South Africans. 

Hands off the Chief Justice, hands off freedom and belief, hands off freedom of speech.

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Bafana Modise

Bafana Modise is the Spokesperson for South African Friends of Israel.

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