Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has expressed his deeply held personal beliefs and views on Israel based on his strong religious and spiritual connections with the Holy Land of Israel, but he now faces criticism, intimidation and reprisal from the ANC, BDS, the Judicial Services Commission and others.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has a proven track record of upholding the Constitution and human rights over the years.
In addition, the judiciary, under his leadership, has been fiercely independent, and was the strongest bulwark against the ANC’s complete capture of the state during the Zuma years.
- We reject criticism and intimidation of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng as baseless and an attack on his constitutional rights of freedom of belief and freedom of expression.
- Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng must be allowed to exercise his constitutional right as a South African citizen to express his personal opinion and beliefs based on his deeply held views on Israel.
- All Christians must be able to express their beliefs without criticism, intimidation or fear of reprisal.
- We similarly reject the calls for Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to resign, as well as the ANC’s call on the Speaker of Parliament to have “high level talks” with the Chief Justice regarding his views.
- We see this as a very dangerous attempt at intimidating our Chief Justice from expressing his deeply held personal religious views, which can also be seen as an indirect threat to the independence of the judiciary.
In a recent wide-ranging interview with the Jerusalem Post (https://bit.ly/2VQ85eC), which included South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein, discussion focussed on global racial tensions and the need for love, forgiveness and reconciliation.
During the interview, he made it very clear that he was not undermining the government’s policy on Israel but had the right to express himself as a citizen and as a Christian.
It is also undeniable that South Africa, with its unique history and experience in negotiating a peaceful solution, could play an important role in facilitating the peace process in the Middle East.
We thus fully agree with Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s sentiment that “the people of South Africa are an asset we must use around the world to bring peace when there is no peace, and to mediate effectively based on rich our experience.”
The ANC has chosen to ignore these important parts of the interview, but has only focussed on Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s personal comments on Israel.
Sadly, the unbalanced approach of the ANC in condemning Israel whenever possible, along with its resolution to downgrade the South African embassy in Israel, while turning a blind eye to far more serious human rights violations in many other countries including China, Iraq, Syria, Iran, North Korea and Myanmar, has resulted in it losing any credibility as an honest mediator in international affairs.
This resolution to downgrade the SA Embassy in Israel flies in the face of growing diplomatic ties between Israel and many African countries who see the benefits of such relationships when it comes to Israel’s technology such as in the medical, water and agricultural spheres.
These growing diplomatic ties are ironically being mediated by Gulf states, including the United Arab Emirates who mediated a meeting between Prime minister Netanyahu and Sudanese President Burhan, and clearly illustrates how short-sighted the ANC’s foreign policy towards Israel is.
The ANC asserts that South Africa “is a secular state and officials of the state, which include our esteemed judiciary are bound by the constitution to respect this.” This view shows that the ANC has no understanding of the relationship between the state and religion as clearly articulated by the Constitution and the courts.
South Africa is not a secular state. This was confirmed by a full bench of three Gauteng High Court judges in the 2017 OGOD judgement which stated that, “this fits a twin theme often raised during argument, and accepted by all, namely first, that we are not a secular State and, second, that in this country our diversity is celebrated, not tolerated.”