An Open Letter to Chief Justice of South Africa, Mogoeng Mogoeng.

Mr. Mogeong, you are turning a blind eye to the severity of the Palestine-Israel conflict and it speaks volumes.

Following current news on Chief Justice of South Africa Mogoeng Mogeong and his comments on the Palestine-Israeli conflict, I have a bone to pick. In a recent webinar hosted by Israeli newspaper, The Jerusalem Post (TJP), Mogoeng expressed support for Israel which the ANC has since condemned. As the Chief Justice of South Africa, who is fully aware of the country’s apartheid history, how are you so comfortable in claiming South Africa’s lop-sidedness on the Palestine-Israel conflict?

Crash course: The Palestine-Israel conflict

The Palestine-Israel conflict dates to the end of the 19th century. It is primarily a conflict over territory. After the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the Holy Land was divided into three parts: the state of Israel, the West Bank (of the Jordan River) and the Gaza strip.

Since a surge in violence and uprisings amongst over land began, Palestinians have conflicted with Israel over their own land. Sounding a bit close to home?

Israel’s desire to rule over the Jordan Valley means a separation between the West Bank and the River Jordan. The river feeds over 80 000 hectares of agricultural lands and fish farms. Israel rule means that they have full control to direct the rivers waters to new and pre-existing illegal settlements in the West Bank. Israel habitually cuts off water supply from the River Jordan and diverts it to pipelines serving settlements instead.

Isn’t it ironic?

Dear Chief Justice of South Africa Mogoeng Mogeong: I write this letter in horror after hearing your stance on the matter in the webinar held by The Jerusalem Post on 23 June where you vocally expressed your love for Israel as our very own Chief of Justice. The irony. You went on to state “you are under an obligation as a Christian to love Israel”. Saying: “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.” So, is it a Christian thing to support acts against humanity, and essentially, Apartheid?

I am baffled to say the least and I’m not entirely sure what is more disappointing. Is it your posture and support for Israel? How unapologetic you seem to be about the statements you have made, saying “There will be, therefore no retraction. There is nothing to retract. There will be no apology. Not even this political apology that ‘in case I have offended anybody without meaning to offend them for that reason’…I will not apologize for anything. There is nothing to apologize for. There is nothing to retract”. Or is it how you have used Christianity to formulate your weak argument?

Neutrality is Not an Option

With utmost respect, Mr. Mogeong, you are turning a blind eye to the severity of the Palestine-Israel conflict and it speaks volumes. It seems that you have lost the vigor to fight against the struggle for liberation. There is no longer a spirit of resistance, the one you had when you took part in the Black Consciousness Movement in the 80s.

By choosing to remain neutral you have automatically chosen the side of the oppressor. May you not forget the many International states that stood up for South Africa during apartheid despite the costs.

As Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, said: “You cannot in a situation of such conflict only refer to one party and the most powerful one that is practicing the worst denial of human rights”. Your comments have brought great disrepute onto the judiciary of South Africa. Casac’s Lawson Naidoo said that “you have publicly opposed the policy of the South African government with regards to Palestine”, and I concur.

Have some sympathy. What is happening in Palestine is very reminiscent of Apartheid-era South Africa. Stand on the right side of history.

Words: Lumkile Thobile Xaba (Instagram / Twitter)

“I am a 23 year old Black woman who just graduated Honors in International Relations from UCT. I am into creative writing and use this as my way to speak up and stand up for what’s right. I love debating and public speaking, and use these as a platform to speak and be heard.”