South Africa Emerges as Moral Giant on Gaza

Pretoria is challenging the Israeli government’s claim to innocence, which for far too long has allowed it to act with impunity against the long-suffering Palestinians.

Nelson Mandela statue outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria. (South African Tourism, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

By John Wight

The collective West will forever stand disgraced and exposed due to its blind support of Israel’s genocidal slaughter of Palestinian civilians in Gaza since Oct. 7. 

What passes for governance in Washington, Berlin, Paris, London et al. has forced us all to bear witness to infanticide, high crimes and war crimes without end these past few months. Said crimes have been committed not in the name of self-defence but rather in the name of ethno-nationalism, settler-colonialism and white supremacy.

[See: Craig Murray: A Shift Against Impunity for Genocide]

Israel’s ability to act with impunity is a feature of the innocence it has claimed to enjoy as the national home of a Jewish people whom Hitler marked out for extermination in a European Judeocide that ranks as a crime of the ages.

The tragic aspect to this horrific episode in “European history” is the cynical fashion in which a Zionist movement, rooted in the ethnic cleansing of a people deemed to belong on a lower rung of a malign cultural ladder, manipulated it in order to achieve its aims.

The mantra of “never again!” has, ever since, been deployed as a sword against a people and region entirely innocent of the attempt to wipe European Jewry off the map, rather than a shield to ensure that the crime of genocide never re-occurs against any people, anywhere, and at any time again in human affairs.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2019. (, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 4.0)

Which brings us to the current government of the Republic of South Africa’s quite stunning intervention in bringing legal proceedings against the state of Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands, under the auspice of The Genocide Convention, brought into international law by a nascent United Nations in 1948.

Israel, predictably, has come out swinging against what it views as the temerity of any government to dare accuse it of genocide. The accusation of blood libel has been leveled at Pretoria, in other words anti-Jewish racism, along with a litany of baseless slurs. 

Here, again, we are invited to adhere to a rendering of the Holocaust which holds that violence unleashed by the state of Israel is done so in the name of the dead of Auschwitz, and therefore comes anointed with the halo of impunity.

Crashing into this mythos was Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s brazen and chilling biblical injunction, included in a speech he gave to his people at the start of Israel’s military operation in and against Gaza in October.

To wit:

“Remember what Amalek did to you (Deuteronomy 25:17).”

This particular Old Testament injunction sanctions the extermination of the ancient tribe, Amalek, by God in the name of his chosen people, the Jews, after they emerge from bondage in Egypt. 

That Netanyahu, leader of a 21st century state, saw fit to include it in said speech at the outset of Israel’s ground invasion constitutes, does it not, a de facto case of genocidal intent?

Landmark Proceedings in The Hague

This, inter alia, forms the backbone of what will be landmark proceedings in front of the ICJ in The Hague, scheduled to take place on Jan. 11 and 12.

Black South Africa has long supported the Palestinian struggle. Famously, its most illustrious son, Nelson Mandela, once declared the following during a 1997 speech marking that year’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people: 

“But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

Just on the simple refrain that “it takes one to know one,” post-apartheid South Africa has never been in any doubt that Israel is an apartheid state. In this it has now been joined by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and all people of conscience and consciousness around the world.

Interior  of the Peace Palace at The Hague, The Netherlands, seat of the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial body of the United Nations  2011. (UN Photo/Andrea Brizzi, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

That post-apartheid South Africa, with this legal case, now accuses Israel of being a genocidal state breaks new ground. Again, on a moral and historical level, it challenges the State of Israel’s claim to the innocence which for far too long has allowed it to act with impunity against the long-suffering Palestinians.

In this respect, it bears emphasizing that Hamas is a symptom rather than a cause. It is the product of structural oppression, apartheid, ethnic cleansing and the countless Oct. 7s endured and suffered by the Palestinians since 1948. It is not the cause.

In the last analysis, either international law applies everywhere or it applies nowhere. In bringing forward this case against the state of Israel, the Republic of South Africa stands tall. Where she goes others will hopefully now follow. [Turkey and Malaysia have expressed support for South Africa’s genocide case against Israel.]

John Wight, author of Gaza Weeps, 2021, writes on politics, culture, sport and whatever else. Please consider taking out a subscription at his Medium site.  

This article is from the author’s Medium site.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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21 comments for “South Africa Emerges as Moral Giant on Gaza

  1. January 6, 2024 at 15:33

    I disagree. Pardon me for cross-posting a comment I made on Larry Johnson’s site:

    A favorable ruling in the case is likely to be ignored by Israel at least in the beginning. But all members of the Genocide Convention were required to enact enabling legislation that requires the nation to act to stop genocide anywhere it happens. One of those nations is the U.S.A. hXXps:// (.) Notice that it has severe criminal penalties and makes liable those who incite genocide and those who conspire or attempt to commit genocide. The statute logically extends even to members of Congress and defense contractors.

    A pending federal civil case under that statute asks the court to order an end to military aid for Israel . The decision by the World Court would be entitled to significant deference by the U.S. courts. Magnify that problem by the 150-some nations that are party to the convention.

    Now imagine a class action lawsuit by the heirs of Gaza’s dead and wounded against U.S. defense contractors who have provided Israel with weapons used in Gaza.

    Also, the International Criminal Court has been slow-walking its investigation of Israeli and Hamas war crimes. But looking down the barrel of an ICJ opinion finding that Israel has engaged in genocide, the ICC would come under very stiff criticism if it does not begin prosecutions of individuals who have engaged in it.

    Even the Houthis then become fighters on the side of angels, acting to stop Israel’s genocide, which is likely why they announced their intent to end their blockade of the Red Sea if Israel stops the genocide.

    This isn’t a case about an apartheid wall. This is a case about a very serious war crime. A ruling in South Africa’s favor will have repercussions aplenty.

  2. JB
    January 6, 2024 at 13:31

    It is wrong to consider and proclaim South Africa a “moral giant” just because it did something that so glaringly needed to be done in a clear-cut case of on-going genocide before the eyes and conscience of the entire world.

    There is nothing “morally giant” about using an available mechanism, the International Court of Justice, to formally establish the commission of genocide against the Palestinian civilians and the responsibility of the state of Israel for that genocide. No risk is involved, no courage needed.

    It is simply the right thing to do.

    • Caliman
      January 7, 2024 at 15:18

      Hmmm, but no other nation has seen fit to do it, have they? The others have not done “the right thing” despite ample opportunity and in fact frequently contributed to the ongoing genocide.

      Doing the right and necessary thing when no one else is brave enough to do so is the definition of heroism.

  3. Bostonian
    January 6, 2024 at 12:45

    South African white nationalists were sympathetic to and worked with National Socialist Germany, having the British Empire as their common enemy. When both Israel and South Africa were international pariah states, before the UN repudiated its courageous resolution condemning Zionism as racism, Israel was the only nation willing to supply arms to South Africa. Mossad also helped train South African security forces. Israel even quietly set aside its founding mythology in 1976 to allow South African Prime Minister John Vorster, an active wartime Nazi ally, to place a wreath at the Yad Vashem holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. Vorster was in Israel to strengthen its military alliance with his government, a partnership that violated international law at the time. So much for loyalty to an ally, in any case.

    Incidentally, South Africa’s apartheid system was modeled on Mississippi’s. A delegation of South Africans visited there in the 1940s to observe how the races were legally separated, and copied what they found in the 1948 Apartheid Acts, which were passed after South Africa received her independence from Britain.

  4. Vera Gottlieb
    January 6, 2024 at 09:51

    DON’T GIVE UP HOPE!!! Don’t forget…Germany’s Nazis were terminated too. Nothing is forever.

  5. CaseyG
    January 5, 2024 at 18:03

    That NuttyYahoo loves to kill!
    The thought of it gives him a thrill!
    Palestine will survive!
    People there they will thrive!
    The Universe, sends Bibi a big bill!

  6. mary-lou
    January 5, 2024 at 15:32

    thank you for describing this both clearly and eloquently. Craig Murray’s insights (great reference) also are always to the point. things are brewing: Saudi Arabia categorically rejects any plot to displace Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to anywhere outside the Strip – hxxps://
    then there are Jewish people (a.o. organised in Jewish Voice for Peace/JVP) who say it is intolerable that Israel is destroying Gaza in the supposed interest of their safety as Jews. “Not in our name,” is JVP’s rallying cry; its most pressing demand: “Cease-fire now.” – hxxps://
    meanwhile we can only pray for peace and healing.

  7. January 5, 2024 at 15:16


    “That Netanyahu, leader of a 21st century state, saw fit to include it in said speech at the outset of Israel’s ground invasion constitutes, does it not, a de facto case of genocidal intent?”

    Following the principles of Eric Blair (George Orwell), this comma strewn sentence could become two:

    Netanyahu, leader of a 21st century state, saw fit to include it in said speech at the outset of Israel’s ground invasion. Does this not constitute a de facto case of genocidal intent?

    Yes it does, in a language which is designed to engage with his audience, the Israeli Jewry who support this genocide.

    Thus, there is popular support for a political intention to commit genocide. This raises the question of how to serve justice and prevent recurrence? Prosecuting Israel’s political leadership according to the Genocide Convention is entirely justified. To right the wrong behind this political decision will involve seas of compassion assisting the Israeli Jewry to confront the indoctrinated racism which sits at the core of this inhuman injustice.

  8. Drew Hunkins
    January 5, 2024 at 14:41

    “Said crimes have been committed not in the name of self-defence but rather in the name of ethno-nationalism, settler-colonialism and white supremacy.”

    Jewish supremacy. Go ahead, you can say it.

  9. Caliman
    January 5, 2024 at 14:13

    Much respect and love to the great people of South Africa. Yet another reason why South Africa should be one of the permanent members of the UNSC, replacing the past due and declining western satrapies of France and the UK.

  10. Madeline K. Carter
    January 5, 2024 at 12:37

    I concur with the outrage against Israel’s horrible treatment of the longsuffering Palestinians. However, as to Wight’s article on South Africa’s statements on the Middle East, on Gaza, it is ionic and a double standard when one considers the murderous South African policy towards white South African farmers.

    • Rebecca
      January 6, 2024 at 10:52

      “the murderous South African policy towards white South African farmers”? You’ll need good evidence for that claim.

  11. doris
    January 5, 2024 at 11:20

    I hope they can make something stick and force a cease fire as well as hold the Israeli government accountable. (And its Zionist cohorts!)

  12. Vera Gottlieb
    January 5, 2024 at 11:18

    As we all know, or should know, from so many past experiences…israel has been ‘flipping the bird’ to the world for far too long and with impunity. Bravo!!! South Africa – hope you succeed.

    • GC
      January 5, 2024 at 22:17

      I hope they do as well.

  13. Joy
    January 5, 2024 at 10:17

    And because South Africa has taken such a moral and just stand, they are now being smeared in all sorts of comments on the Internet. We need to show our support for South Africa!

  14. Riva Enteen
    January 5, 2024 at 10:11

    The South Africans and Houthis know and feel deeply the oppression of the Palestinians, so are showing the way forward to victory.

  15. hetro
    January 5, 2024 at 08:37

    We can hope that as with this extraordinarily well-written comment by John Wight a movement is beginning to express world outrage over this travesty of lying and murder. Additionally, 17 Biden staffers protested yesterday. Let’s continue mounting energy toward the Jan 11-12 hearing.

  16. susan
    January 5, 2024 at 08:16

    Governments in Washington, Berlin, Paris, and London et al should all also stand trial for “infanticide, high crimes and war crimes”!!!

  17. Robert
    January 5, 2024 at 06:00

    I’m generally an optimistic person but starting with the US elections in 2020, the methodology and results, my optimistic nature began to decline. Add in the lies and deceit in 2022 from almost all western governments that led to one of the dumbest and most preventable wars in human history, and therefore I’m not optimistic about the outcome in the Hague. I don’t see the United States or the United Nations as a solution to any worldwide problems and both are beyond reform, so where do we go from here? A multi polar world in which every country picks a side? A new United Nations for non Western countries? Not sure where this is going to end up, but I know its not going in the right direction.

  18. Rebecca
    January 5, 2024 at 04:51

    It is risible to praise the ANC government of South Africa as a moral giant for this action. My brief viewing of social media posts by SA citizens shows widespread cynicism as to the motivation, commonly expressed as “It is doing this to divert foreign and domestic attention from its complete and intentional failure to provide for the SA working class, and its cravenness to the wealthy class”. Certainly, it will be interesting to follow this case and see what it reveals about the apartheid State of Israel, but let’s not be starry-eyed about the SA government’s motives. The poverty, corruption and widespread violence engendered by the ANC’s deliberate embrace of capitalism as the bedrock for its policies have created profound hatred against it from the SA working class.

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