South African chief justice stands by call to pray for Jerusalem

Head of South African Supreme Court slams anti-Israel group, saying they ‘weaponized’  his call to pray for the peace of Jerusalem against him.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The head of South Africa’s supreme court on Wednesday slammed an anti-Israel group that criticized his call to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, saying South Africa’s judges should no be censored, gagged or muzzled.”

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said the local activist group Africa4Palestine took his remarks out of context to make an example out of anyone who differs with it, the South African news website News24 reported.

“Somehow, Africa4Palestine has, in my view, found a way to build a case by taking these remarks completely out of their obvious context to achieve its goal of making an example of me to any who would ever dare to knowingly or unknowingly differ with them,” Mogoeng wrote in a 19-page affidavit to the Judicial Conduct Committee (JCC) in response to a complaint filed by Africa4Palestine.

Africa4Palestine is the South African branch of the BDS movement that calls for countries and organizations to boycott Israel and Israelis, divest their investments in Israeli companies and put sanctions of the Jewish state. Aside from its anti-Israel messages the group does not call for peace with Israel and has been branded by countries like Canada and Germany as an anti-Semitic organization.

The anti-Israel group filed a complaint earlier this year against Mogoeng with South Africa’s Judicial Service Commission (JSC) over the chief justice’s comments in a webinar hosted by the Jerusalem Post, accusing him of breaching the judicial code of conduct.

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During the webinar, Mogoeng told listeners he was disturbed by what he said was a lopsided attitude towards the Israel-Palestinian conflict by South Africa, adding that the African nation could have greater influence if it adopted a more balanced approach.

Africa4Palestine complained that Mogoeng “conflates the modern political entity, the racist State of Israel that was created in 1948, with the Biblical land of Israel.”

Mogoeng said that his Bible-based prayers for peace in Jerusalem and the refusal to hate or curse were now being made out to look like a preference of Israel over Palestine.

“In sum, these are all being weaponized against me, and made to look like conduct so unbecoming of a judge as to justify the imposition of some form of punishment on me. And all this, in the name of human rights,” Mogoeng said.

Mogoeng wrote that judges should not be needlessly “censored, gagged or muzzled” and should “be free to continue to write articles or books, deliver public lectures or participate in radio or television programs to share reflections on human rights, constitutionalism, policies or any other subject of public interest.”

News24 noted that in his 19-page affidavit, Mogoeng cited other judges who have made remarks regarding a peaceful resolution of the Israel/Palestine problem in a mutually beneficial way, but Africa4Palestine did not lodge a complaint against any of his colleagues.

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“I am their target,” he said.