The Justice for Hlophe Alliance condemns in the strongest possible terms former DA leader Tony Leon for the scurrilous, scandalous and unwarranted personal attacks on Judge President Hlophe and other black judges, which are calculated to bring the judges, the judiciary and the administration of justice into disrepute (see article). The Alliance calls on the public to reject Leon's despicable racially divisive tactics, and for right-thinking members of the public to fully support Judge President Hlophe and to rally behind the rejuvenated campaign to have him appointed as the next Chief Justice of the Republic.
The Justice for Hlophe Alliance notes with extreme sadness that Tony Leon, a Jewish South Africa citizen, has blatantly imported and invoked language and tactics from Israeli politics in an effort to slander the Judge President. Just two years ago, an Israeli member of parliament, Effi Eitam's declared that Israel should expel West Bank Palestinians and bar Israeli Arabs from political life, since the latter are "a fifth column, a league of traitors."
During the fighting in Gaza and Lebanon such tones were increasingly rising in the Knesset and even Knesset Members from Arab parties were charged with being "traitors and a fifth column" by their Jewish detractors (see here.) This philosophy of politics by stigmatizing fits in neatly with the "rhetoric of 'extermination' described by Abir Koptyin in an article entitled "Fifth column forever? Why is Arab criticism always labelled as conspiracy to destroy Israel?" He states:
"Whenever Arabs speak up and voice criticism that does not flatter Israel's policies, this criticism is labelled as an attempt to destroy and exterminate. Every time the question of the relationship between the State and its Arabs citizens is on the political and media agenda in Israel, many opinion leaders choose to consistently make use of rhetoric of "extermination."... The rhetoric and myth regarding the "threat" are used to reject any criticism or proposal for change. This even shapes to a large extent the perception of the Arab public being an "enemy" and apparently legitimizes the continuation of hostile policies towards it instead of reaching a mutual understanding."
The Justice for Hlophe Alliance warns Leon and others against starting or introducing into our society a racist discourse that could replicate the Arab-Israeli eternal strife.
The Justice for Hlophe Alliance cautions that attacking black judges on spurious grounds is rapidly becoming one of the favourite pastimes and hobbies of white politicians from the Democratic Alliance. Given our odious apartheid legacy and racially-based political culture, such comments claiming black judges are "fifth column" members who should be denied appointment to positions on the Constitutional Court contain coded political messages that are provocative and inflammatory.