NEWS & ANALYSIS

ANC concerned by Mogoeng Mogoeng's remarks on Israel

Esteemed Chief Justice entered the arena of political commentary, says party

ANC STATEMENT ON SENTIMENTS ATTRIBUTED TO CHIEF JUSTICE MOGOENG MOGOENG SUPPORTING "APARTHEID" ISRAEL

The ANC joins fellow South Africans in expressing concern about sentiments attributed to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng expressing his apparent support for Apartheid Israel.

We are deeply concerned with the remarks by the Chief Justice during an interview with the Jerusalem Times.

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 United Nations Security Council (UNSC) 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: "South African 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". The ANC has respect for the independence of the judiciary.

South Africa is a secular state and officials of the state, which include our esteemed judiciary are bound by the constitution to respect this.

The ANC has consistently expressed courageously through its successive resolutions that the contemporary State of Israel is an Apartheid State.

We support human rights and we stand with the oppressed Palestinians who include Christians of the Holy Land, the residents of Jerusalem and Bethlehem who are living under Israeli Apartheid.

On 24 June the SG of the UN stated that the annexation of 30% of the West Bank settlement by Israel is a gross violation of international law.

The annexation is nothing more than a land grab and theft.

We will continue to work with all sectors of South Africa in opposing the occupation, annexation and colonization of Palestinian land!

The Chief Justice has sought to turn the matter of the rights of the people of Palestine into a religious argument, which it is not. A number of Jewish Rabbis recently rejected the notion that Zionism and Judaism are the same perspective.

The ANC at its 53rd National Conference expressed its unequivocal support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination, and unapologetic in our resolution that the Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed in the conflict with Israel.

The Chief Justice is indeed a citizen, but he is the primary protector of the Constitution of SA and if the government were in violation of the Bill of Rights he and the bench must defend the constitution above all else and any other consideration, for this reason, his disagreement with the policy of the government is of grave concern where the main argument of the policy on Palestine is premised on human rights. The Chief Justice can question any policy but the context should give consideration to the station in life he now occupies. We respect his religious choices but South Africa is secular state and its judiciary must be secular.

The Chief Justice is entitled to his personal views however when echoed out in the public such views should never be at the centre of societal polarisation.

The ANC respects the Office of the Chief Justice and we urge the Speaker of Parliament to have high level talks with the Chief Justice regarding his political commentary.

Issued by the ANC, 25 June 2020