OPINION: Accusing Israel of genocide while ignoring Hamas atrocities endangers SA Jewish citizens

South Africa’s Minister of Justice Ronald Lamola stands near pro-Palestinian protesters after addressing the media near the International Court of Justice on January 12 (PHOTO: Reuters/Dawn)

By Vivienne Myburgh, national director International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, South Africa

The decision of the South African government, led by the ANC, to sue the State of Israel at the International Court of Justice in The Hague for genocide in Gaza, is completely contrary to logic and the national interest.

Unfortunately, the ANC government has aligned itself with Israel’s enemies and is leading the opposition to Israel among the countries of the world, by initiating the case accusing Israel of genocide.

This decision led a series of Christian organisations in the country, including the International Christian Embassy – South Africa branch, along with other organisations such as Bridges for Peace, to sign a public statement condemning the government.

Among other things, we came out against the one-sided approach of the ANC government who has not even acknowledged that the October 7 massacre was the trigger of the present war and has also not made any strong calls for the release of the hostages who are kept under inhumane conditions by Hamas and its allies. This emboldens the anti-Israel groups, who have also become openly violent against Israel supporters, as we experienced on 12 November last year in Cape Town. A planned prayer and proclamation rally for Israel was violently prevented from taking place and anyone who arrived at the event with an Israeli flag was attacked.

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This unilateral approach our government has adopted endangers its Jewish citizens due to incitement to antisemitism and also erodes the religious freedom of Christians in the country.

As Christians, we oppose the loss of innocent lives, whether Israelis, Palestinians or anyone else, but
we strongly oppose the court case decision, which is fundamentally flawed. The massacre on October 7 against Israeli civilians, which included rape, mutilation, burning and acts of horror beyond imagination, was a deliberate attempt at genocide, and it was supported by the Hamas charter which calls for the annihilation of Israel.

Hamas and other extremist organisations openly called for the murder of Jews in Israel and around the world. The South African government, shockingly, has not even labelled Hamas a terror organisation. The lack of a public condemnation from South Africa regarding the actions of Hamas in Gaza raises serious concerns and is exacerbated by the ANC hosting delegations from Iran and Hamas in South Africa recently.

Such actions can be interpreted as direct support for the actions of Hamas, including the use of civilians as human shields, the diversion of aid for military purposes and the construction of tunnels, at the expense of humanitarian aid sent to the Palestinian people. This position raises questions about South Africa’s position on these critical human rights issues and its role in international diplomacy.

I would like to clarify unequivocally: the South African government, which is led by the ANC, does not represent the general public. The government does not represent millions of South Africans who stand unequivocally on the side of Israel and are trusting that this trial will result in the world hearing the truth regarding the conflict in Gaza.

The lawsuit filed by the government is against the public interest and was most likely filed due to the ANC being essentially bankrupt and needing funds for the upcoming elections. This made them vulnerable to
being used by Hamas (who urgently seeks a ceasefire), to initiate a court case to seek “interim
provisional measures” while the genocide case is being worked out.

It is highly hypocritical of South Africa to take on this case, while embracing Hamas officials who openly call for the genocide of Israelis. The ANC’s double standards disqualify them from credibly leading South Africa, and all the more disqualify them from helping to resolve the complex situation in the Middle East, as they have always claimed to want to do.

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One Comment

  1. The ANC accuses Israel of genocide, the author rightly counters by saying Hamas has also committed atrocities that should not be ignored.

    But what does the Bible say?

    The Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the grace of God.

    This means that the offender and the offended stand helplessly in need of forgiveness before God.

    Hence the message of the Cross is about:

    1. Reconciliation. Just as our Lord Jesus Christ has reconciled us to the Father, the gospel commits us to the eternal ministry of reconciliation.

    2. Forgiveness. God s grace commits us to forgive our debtors just as our debts have been forgiven. The difference between those who are saved and the unbelievers is God s grace and nothing else.

    3. Love. The love of God enables us to see what our enemy can become through the grace of God.

    Loving one’s enemy might seem unreasonable until we remember that we were once enemies of God until we were forgiven.

    I have seen a glaring disregard of the above fundamental Christian principles in most Christian responses to the ongoing war in the Middle East.

    The new South Africa was born out of reconciliation and the willingness to forgive the wrongs of the past.

    Today, do we as Christians see any role for reconciliation in the Middle East as was the case in South Africa?

    If yes where is the message of forgiveness in our response?

    As it is this war is producing a generation with deep scars who have seen their next of kin brutalized by war. It is this trauma that will generously sponsor the next cycle of violence.

    Turning to the ANCs approach to the conflict, It is always not easy to change the next person or organization because they have full agency as to what they want to do or become. However as Christians we can definitely recalibrate our response to the conflict involving Hamas and Israel.

    I am not sure that it is enough to declare our allegiance without contributing to reconciliation, brotherly love and forgiveness.
    The moment the church of Christ gives up on the power of love, forgiveness and reconciliation is the moment the world kisses “Hope” good bye.

    I believe the approach that seeks to deepen the divide (Us and Them) and apportioning of blame (They are wrong, we are right) only adds fuel to the fire where the message of LOVE would bring hope.

    As it is, our world is full of hatred and injustice hence no one should double down on hate and expect to make a difference.

    In conclusion, all said and done God will never take His eyes off the apple of His eyes, Israel, hence as bad as this situation might seem, it will always lead to the fulfillment of His purpose.

    God’s ways are not our ways and the only way to be sure we are not acting against His will is to walk in love and leave judgment to Him.

    One practical way for the church to walk in love is to provide material support to all survivors of this war irrespective of who they are whilst drumming up the virtues of peace, love and reconciliation.