US Citizens Push Embassies to Back SA’s Genocide Charge

A coalition of ‘grassroots diplomats’ are taking the lead on international solidarity with South Africa in the absence of diplomacy and accountability from U.S. officials, writes Melissa Garriga.

Code Pink members and other peace activists press the case for supporting South Africa’s application to the International Court of Justice outside the Colombian Embassy on January 5. (Code Pink)

By Melissa Garriga

Peace activists across the United States have embarked on a campaign to mobilize global support for South Africa’s charge of genocide against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The campaign, spearheaded by CODEPINK, World Beyond War and RootsAction, aims to rally nations to submit a Declaration of Intervention supporting South Africa’s case at the ICJ.

The focus is on holding Israel accountable for alleged genocide in Gaza and putting an end to the tragic suffering of an imprisoned population. Delegations from major cities engaged with U.N. missions, embassies, and consulates from around the world, urging countries to invoke the Genocide Convention at the United Nations’ judicial arm.

[So far Malaysia, Turkey, Jordan and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have joined South Africa’s complaint against Israel. The ICJ will hear the case this Thursday and Friday in The Hague. The hearings will be streamed live and on demand on the ICJ’s website and on the UN Web TV.]

The campaign started two weeks ago with an open call for people to join in a petition and letter-writing campaign urging countries to invoke the genocide convention and charge Israel with genocide in the International Court of Justice.

Since then, over 30,000 people signed the petition, accompanied by an impressive 118,290 letters sent to various countries urging support of the cause.

The nationwide delegations of “grassroots diplomats” took on this campaign because officially appointed U.S. diplomats continue to insist on supporting Israel’s ongoing genocide of Palestinians in Gaza, rejecting the sentiments of a majority of people in the U.S. and around the world who want a ceasefire and an end to the slaughter.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby calls South Africa’s 84-page suit accusing Israel of genocide “meritless, counterproductive, and completely without any basis in fact whatsoever.” Notably, the United States supported Ukraine invoking the Genocide Convention last year in the International Court of Justice with far less evidence.

In the first week of January, delegations of grassroots diplomats embarked on a petition and letter delivery campaign across the U.S., urging missions, consulates, and embassies to support South Africa’s legal action against Israel in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) under the U.N. Convention on Genocide.

While the visits and deliveries varied from city to city, the overall reception by staff and representatives in each U.N. Mission, Embassy, and Consulate was encouraging and supportive, with some delegations able to meet directly with country representatives.

The NYC delegation visited around 30 U.N. missions, engaging in significant diplomatic efforts. They had a positive meeting with Colombia’s U.N. Ambassador, Arlene Tickner, exploring the potential for a Declaration of Intervention to support South Africa’s legal action. Another meeting took place with the Deputy Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the U.N. At the Bolivia Mission, the delegation received a warm reception, providing a letter and petition.

South African Rep Appreciates Effort

Peace activists received a warm reception at the Honduras Embassy. (Code Pink)

A productive meeting occurred with the Bangladesh U.N. Consul, who expressed interest in connecting with legal experts. The NYC team met African Union diplomats who offered support and suggested additional efforts for South Africa.

A meeting at the South Africa Mission involved discussions with the counselor and deputy permanent representative. The delegation expressed their gratitude and support to the South African government. The South African representative acknowledged and appreciated the delegation’s work in their peace work.

The D.C. team engaged in diplomatic efforts, meeting with the Deputy Minister at the Colombian Embassy to encourage the Colombian government’s continued stance against Israeli actions and to join South Africa’s case.

They visited and submitted their petition to the Ghanaian, Chilean, and Ethiopian Embassies, urging support for South Africa’s case against Israel. The team also had discussions with the Bolivian Embassy. Currently, they are arranging a meeting with the Turkish ambassador to further their diplomatic initiatives.

Three delegations from Miami divided their efforts to visit 10 consulates, including those of Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, France, Honduras, the Republic of Ireland, Spain, and Turkey. The delegations had the opportunity to meet with consular generals from Bolivia, Honduras, and Turkey, all notably welcoming and receptive.

In addition, the Miami team reached out to the Turkish ambassador in Washington, D.C., further extending their diplomatic efforts. The Türkiye Consulate in Miami emphasized the visit on their social media platform.

The Tampa team focused on a single visit to the Greek Consulate, accompanied by a representative from CAIR Florida, based in Tampa. CAIR is a nationwide federation of legally independent chapters dedicated to safeguarding the civil liberties of Americans.

The Greek Consulate warmly received the delegation, expressing appreciation for a gift of olive oil. Furthermore, they assured the team they would forward the petition and letter to the Embassy of Greece in Washington, D.C.

The Los Angeles delegation with Bolivia Consulate Gabriella Silva. (Code Pink)

Orlando engaged with five consulates representing Mexico, Italy, Brazil, Haiti, and Colombia. The meeting at the Haitian Consulate was mainly positive, with a productive discussion with an assistant consul urging support for South Africa’s case against Israel.

Similarly, the delegation met with the vice consular of Colombia, delivered a petition, and urged their support for South Africa’s case against Israel, indicating a proactive approach in advancing their diplomatic efforts.

In Houston, the delegation reported successful engagements during their visits. They met with the Consulate of Belize staff and spoke with Consulate General Francisco Leal of Chile. The delegations also visited the Pakistan consulate as part of their diplomatic efforts.

Delegation Prevented Entry

The Peace Palace, seat of the International Court of Justice, at The Hague, Netherlands. (UN Photo/ICJ/Jeroen Bouman, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The San Francisco delegation visited three consulates – Chile, Brazil, and Colombia. They engaged with the staff at the Chilean and Brazilian consulates, delivering the petition and letter at the Colombian Consulate, situated in the same building as the Israeli Consulate.

Security at the building instructed the delegation to wait outside for a representative. However, the doors were subsequently locked, preventing entry. In response, the delegation affixed the petition and letter to the building’s door to convey their message.

The delegation in Los Angeles visited nine foreign consulates in the city, including Belize, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Turkey, Chile, Colombia, and Kuwait. The delegation expressed gratitude to the staff at the South African Consulate for South Africa’s filing in the ICJ that charges Israel with genocide.

As a goodwill gesture, the activists brought flowers, a simple yet well-received token of peace and unity. They also had an encouraging meeting with Bolivian Consulate Gabriella Silva, who supported the delegation’s effort.

U.S. activists stand outside South African embassy in Los Angeles. (Code Pink)

Delegations from Detroit, Chicago, Boston, and San Antonio also made visits to their local Consulates. Prior to deliveries, Turkey, Malaysia, and Slovakia publicly came out in support of South Africa’s filing. Since then, Jordan announced that they will file a “Declaration of Intervention” supporting South Africa’s case.

This grassroots diplomatic effort represents a unified plea for justice, demanding global solidarity against Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza. The tireless advocacy seeks to bridge nations in support of South Africa’s pursuit of justice in the International Court of Justice.

Melissa Garriga is a Code Pink staffer with a background in communications. She has been involved in media relations work for a pro-public education advocacy group and formed part of a national communications team for the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival.

Views expressed in this article and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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4 comments for “US Citizens Push Embassies to Back SA’s Genocide Charge

  1. robert e williamson jr
    January 8, 2024 at 15:13

    My hat is off to micheal888.

    A thought that may help keep the genocide in Gaza in perspective.

    The one positive, if there can ever be any positive energy from the blood lust of the IDF and right wing Israeli leadership it is this.

    Any and all humans capable of rational thought processes should realize that in today’s world of satellite communications and streaming video the truth about the events unfolding in Gaza are an abomination that will wreak havoc on the nation of Israel. The “walking brain dead” of America may fall into that category of those who are beyond help themselves, they are what they are and can be counted on to not stand for anything other than dividing the country for their own gain.

    Far too many Americans absolutely fail at being able to see themselves as they are, they way they appear to the other. Those afflicted with the inability to understand their self-appointed exceptionalism impresses themselves and only themselves, individuals around the planet are not fooled by the fool believe me.

    My take, as a direct result of the spectacle of being displayed world wide , is the Zionist will suffer greatly from this outrage.

    That positive energy of which I speak will come to pass as the moment the genocidal maniac who ruled Israel during this period tied the hang man’s rope around his own neck.

    So be it!

  2. LeoSun
    January 8, 2024 at 10:46

    I, LeoSun, submit, an epic “Trade Deal aka Amendment” to The Declaration of Intervention, i.e.,

    …… “It is herein agreed upon that John F. Bolton. Joey R. Biden, Comma La Harris, Barack Ohbama, Bill J. & Hilary R. Clinton, Donald J. Trump, Mike Pence, Antony Blinken, Victoria Nuland, Jake Sullivan, Jen Psaki, John Kirby, Lloyd Austin, Karine Jean-Pierre, Mike Pompeo, Ben Hook, G.W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney: AND, whomever else the ICJ charges, will be served up for indictment, prosecution & incarceration for executing war crimes & crimes against humanity, for f/decades!!! The WH + the USG are 100% complicit, in the deception, destruction, and death in Gaza, the West Bank, the Middle East, the Nation, fka the USA. “ Book ‘Em!!!

    …….. JANUARY 5, 2024, “the $tate Dept., said the two officials, Pompeo & Hook, continue to face serious and credible threats that warrant protection.”

    …….. The $tate Dept., aka Biden’s-Harris’ handlers, informed Congress, in December, 2023, Pompeo & Hook will keep their government funded protection.” (Cost = $2,000,000.00 (+) monthly/ $24M (+) yearly)

    Would anyone miss any of these common democrats’ deception, destruction and death??? Everybody, knows, “Never compete w/an elephant in defecating.”

    For Paz en la Tierra, imo, “we, the people,” of the Divided $tates of Corporate America will gladdy, sign the petition & serve-up, this Nation’s war criminals. For Paz en La Tierra, Cease Fire! Cea$e Funding. Stop War Crimes & Wars.

    For Peace of Mind, “CODEPINK, World Beyond War and RootsAction,” please, declare your support for Biden-Harris 2024 is null & void. Ain’t no f/way, the foregoing Activists will “Vote Blue, No Matter, Who!?!

    A Best practice, Shut the Front Door on Biden-Harris 2024!!! TY. Ciao.

  3. Robert
    January 7, 2024 at 14:17

    It’s a bit frightening to watch/listen to John Kirby answer questions from the podium. He most surely knows that Israel is committing genocide but yet , with seeming assurance, he will flat out lie about the situation in Gaza. Same with the status of the tragic, easily avoidable war in Ukraine. Kirby scoffs at comments stating that Ukraine is losing the war. But 80% of the worlds populations know that is what is happening.

  4. michael888
    January 7, 2024 at 09:25

    Sadly, while most people agree with Code Pink’s action in principle and in their hearts, it is very risky to stand up against Israel in the US today. Our Department of “Justice” has unleashed a dragnet on any protesters near the Capitol on January 6th; their political opponents must be, and will be, punished. Jail, seizure of assets, and harassment has become normal in America today. It is exponentially worse for “anti-Semitic” protesters against Israel.

    Technically we still have the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
    SCOTUS has ruled repeatedly that HATE SPEECH = FREE SPEECH (as no other speech needs protection). Protesters have that right, be they George Floyd supporters or MAGA Republicans; they may be wrong, but the right of Americans to protest is Sacrosanct. In theory.

    It’s not just Haley and Hillary and Biden spewing (protected) hate speech at college students supporting Palestinians. I’ve heard many ultra conservatives, in effect saying how dare they attack Zionists, the children and grandchildren of the Holocaust (in which of course Palestinians had no involvement, unlike the UkroNAZI Ukrainian concentration camp guards, who now are glorified by Biden and NATO.) Wealthy American Zionists are calling not just for the arrests of these conscientious students, many Jewish, but the barring of their future livelihoods. Free speech? Mussolini gave us the word for corporations in league with the government, enforcing actions illegal for their partners in government. Anything is allowed against political opponents; real criminals are treated much better.

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