South Africa Emerges as Moral Giant on Gaza

Spread the love

Pretoria is challenging the Israeli government’s claim to innocence, which for far too long has allowed it to act with impunity against the long-suffering Palestinians.

Nelson Mandela statue outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria. (South African Tourism, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

By John Wight

The collective West will forever stand disgraced and exposed due to its blind support of Israel’s genocidal slaughter of Palestinian civilians in Gaza since Oct. 7. 

What passes for governance in Washington, Berlin, Paris, London et al. has forced us all to bear witness to infanticide, high crimes and war crimes without end these past few months. Said crimes have been committed not in the name of self-defence but rather in the name of ethno-nationalism, settler-colonialism and white supremacy.

[See: Craig Murray: A Shift Against Impunity for Genocide]

Israel’s ability to act with impunity is a feature of the innocence it has claimed to enjoy as the national home of a Jewish people whom Hitler marked out for extermination in a European Judeocide that ranks as a crime of the ages.

The tragic aspect to this horrific episode in “European history” is the cynical fashion in which a Zionist movement, rooted in the ethnic cleansing of a people deemed to belong on a lower rung of a malign cultural ladder, manipulated it in order to achieve its aims.

The mantra of “never again!” has, ever since, been deployed as a sword against a people and region entirely innocent of the attempt to wipe European Jewry off the map, rather than a shield to ensure that the crime of genocide never re-occurs against any people, anywhere, and at any time again in human affairs.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2019. (, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 4.0)

Which brings us to the current government of the Republic of South Africa’s quite stunning intervention in bringing legal proceedings against the state of Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands, under the auspice of The Genocide Convention, brought into international law by a nascent United Nations in 1948.

Israel, predictably, has come out swinging against what it views as the temerity of any government to dare accuse it of genocide. The accusation of blood libel has been leveled at Pretoria, in other words anti-Jewish racism, along with a litany of baseless slurs. 

Here, again, we are invited to adhere to a rendering of the Holocaust which holds that violence unleashed by the state of Israel is done so in the name of the dead of Auschwitz, and therefore comes anointed with the halo of impunity.

Crashing into this mythos was Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s brazen and chilling biblical injunction, included in a speech he gave to his people at the start of Israel’s military operation in and against Gaza in October.

To wit:

“Remember what Amalek did to you (Deuteronomy 25:17).”

This particular Old Testament injunction sanctions the extermination of the ancient tribe, Amalek, by God in the name of his chosen people, the Jews, after they emerge from bondage in Egypt. 

That Netanyahu, leader of a 21st century state, saw fit to include it in said speech at the outset of Israel’s ground invasion constitutes, does it not, a de facto case of genocidal intent?

Landmark Proceedings in The Hague

This, inter alia, forms the backbone of what will be landmark proceedings in front of the ICJ in The Hague, scheduled to take place on Jan. 11 and 12.

Black South Africa has long supported the Palestinian struggle. Famously, its most illustrious son, Nelson Mandela, once declared the following during a 1997 speech marking that year’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people: 

“But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

Just on the simple refrain that “it takes one to know one,” post-apartheid South Africa has never been in any doubt that Israel is an apartheid state. In this it has now been joined by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and all people of conscience and consciousness around the world.

Interior  of the Peace Palace at The Hague, The Netherlands, seat of the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial body of the United Nations  2011. (UN Photo/Andrea Brizzi, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

That post-apartheid South Africa, with this legal case, now accuses Israel of being a genocidal state breaks new ground. Again, on a moral and historical level, it challenges the State of Israel’s claim to the innocence which for far too long has allowed it to act with impunity against the long-suffering Palestinians.

In this respect, it bears emphasizing that Hamas is a symptom rather than a cause. It is the product of structural oppression, apartheid, ethnic cleansing and the countless Oct. 7s endured and suffered by the Palestinians since 1948. It is not the cause.

In the last analysis, either international law applies everywhere or it applies nowhere. In bringing forward this case against the state of Israel, the Republic of South Africa stands tall. Where she goes others will hopefully now follow. [Turkey and Malaysia have expressed support for South Africa’s genocide case against Israel.]

John Wight, author of Gaza Weeps, 2021, writes on politics, culture, sport and whatever else. Please consider taking out a subscription at his Medium site.  

This article is from the author’s Medium site.

Post Disclaimer

Disclaimer: South Africa Emerges as Moral Giant on Gaza - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *