South African Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng praised the State of Israel this week during a webinar hosted by the Jerusalem Post, causing his country’s anti-Israel government and media to react with alarm and furious denunciations.
Many South Africans, like Christians in other African countries, have positive views of Israel. But the country’s left-wing political elite, deeply influenced by Soviet allegiances during the Cold War, as well as by an influential Muslim minority and current intellectual fashion, is virulently anti-Israel.
Mogoeng expressed his admiration for Israel, and suggested that South Africa could offer productive advice to Israel and the Palestinians if it stopped condemning Israel so often.
South Africa’s Independent Online reported:
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.
The Jerusalem Post noted:
Mogoeng took pains to emphasize that the policy of the South African government was binding upon himself and that he was not seeking to reject it.
But, he said, as a citizen he was entitled to criticize laws and policies and suggest changes.
Those remarks, in a context where South African institutions are under pressure to boycott Israel, drew condemnation from various political parties and civil society organizations, and calls for the Chief Justice to resign.
Shannon Ebrahim, the foreign editor of the Independent media group, noted with alarm that Mogoeng’s support for Israel came just as the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepared to extend Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria.
The ruling party, the African National Congress, criticized the Chief Justice, saying that he had a duty to uphold human rights in his job on the Constitutional Court, and that his support for Israel was allegedly at odds with those values.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.