Former South African chief justice given 10 days to apologize for defending Israel

Mogoeng had refused to apologize, saying South Africa’s judges should not be “censored, gagged or muzzled.”

By World Israel News Staff

South Africa’s Judicial Conduct Appeals Committee issued a statement on Thursday giving former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng 10 days to make an “unconditional apology for becoming involved in political controversy.”

“I’m under an obligation as a Christian to love Israel, to pray for [the] peace of Jerusalem, which actually means the peace of Israel, and I cannot, as I Christian, do anything other than love and pray for Israel, because I know, hatred for Israel by me and for my nation, can only attract unprecedented curses upon our nation,” Mogoeng stated in June 2020 during a webinar discussion with South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein that was hosted by The Jerusalem Post.

“Did Israel take away our land or the land of Africa? Did Israel take our mineral wealth? We’ve got to move from a position of principle here,” he said.

The anti-Israel group Africa4Palestine, the South African branch of the BDS movement, filed a complaint over the chief justice’s comments, accusing him of breaching the judicial code of conduct.

Mogoeng, who served as chief justice until his retirement from the position in October 2021, refused to apologize, saying South Africa’s judges should not be “censored, gagged or muzzled.”

“I respect the law. I will not defy the law. But if it does come to the point where I am forced to do the abominable, or I am forced to reject God, then I would rather be without money, be without any position. I will never refuse to obey the Lord,” he asserted.

“If I get to the point where there is a judgment that says, ‘You must say you hate Israel and the Jews’, I would rather cease to be Chief Justice.

“If I get to the point where they say, ‘Mogoeng, you must say you hate the Palestinians and Palestine,’ I would rather cease to be Chief Justice than to do it…

“I will not apologize for anything. There is nothing to apologize for…I can’t apologize for loving. I can’t apologize for not harboring hatred and bitterness.”

The South African Zionist Federation, “very concerned by the ruling,” has been supporting Myogoeng.

Rejecting Myogoeng’s appeal on Thursday, the Committee said:

“Pursuant to this decision, the committee, by a majority, directed that Chief Justice Mogoeng should issue an unconditional apology for becoming involved in political controversy through his utterances at the online seminar (webinar) hosted by the Jerusalem Post on June 23, 2020. A copy of the apology must be released by Chief Justice Mogoeng to the Office of the Chief Justice and the media within 10 days of the decision.”