News last week was rife with criticism of the South African government and its bringing charges of genocide against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Criticism of the South Africa’s baseless argument, evoking horrific antisemitism, overall treacherous behavior, siding with Hamas which by its own account strives to commit actual genocide, becoming an outpost for and proxy of supporting Iranian based terror, deflecting from vast and severe domestic issues plaguing all South Africans, and much more, are all legitimate. Volumes could be filled on this alone, and how Israel’s defense in the IJC eviscerated the South African arguments, overseen by none other than its Minister of Justice.
I have been inundated by messages from friends across South Africa, and South African natives, ashamed of their government, assuring me the government does not represent the people, and that millions of South Africans stand in firm solidarity with Israel. All are praying that this year, the ANC which has turned a country that aspired to enter the world of nations as an enlightened democracy, will see its last breath as ruling party, given that South Africa has become such a shameful state. Literally.
Most of the messages I have received are from Christians who love and support Israel unconditionally. There are numerous examples. For instance, an eight point statement from a broad network of concerned South African Christians noted: “We South African Christian leaders, strongly oppose the decision by the South African government to launch the case against Israel, and demand it be rescinded immediately as it is without merit and detrimental to South Africa’s national interests for the following reasons:”
“We hoped and prayed that our government would use its influence…to bring about a meaningful and lasting peace in the Middle East. Regrettably it has elected not to do so and instead has chosen sides. We, as Christians deplore the loss of innocent lives, be it the Jews, Palestinians, Christians or any other people but are strongly opposed to the (government’s) decision.”
“The decision is fundamentally flawed. The unprovoked attack against Israel’s civilians included rape, mutilation, burning and other, hitherto, unimaginable horrors. This was a deliberate genocide attempt and is supported by Hamas’ charter calling for the total destruction of Israel…celebrations following the attack and Hamas’ repeated statements that it seeks to carry out similar October 7 massacres whenever it has the opportunity. Hamas (has) called for the killing of every Jew and Israeli worldwide…Israel does not seek to wipe Gaza or the Palestinians off the face of the map. It seeks to defend itself. This is a case of victim blaming.”
“(It) is not in the interest of South Africa and its citizens. Detrimental political and economic consequences are likely to follow from… many of South Africa’s major trading partners… South Africa is suffering from debilitating unemployment, high poverty and is fast becoming an uninvestable, failed country.”
“The absence of a public condemnation from South Africa regarding Hamas's actions… raises significant concerns… (and) could be interpreted as direct support to Hamas's tactics, including using civilians as human shields and diverting aid for military purposes and the building of tunnels, rather than humanitarian relief sent to the Palestinian people.”
“’From the river to the sea’ means Israel must become Palestine and Jews must be destroyed. Aside from denying the Jews a right to a homeland in the aftermath of the holocaust, where does this leave us Christians? Places of worship for Christians in the Holy Land will be destroyed. The majority of (south Africans) are Christians… (This) one sided approach it has adopted has placed its Jewish citizens at risk by inciting antisemitism as well as eroding the freedom of religion of Christians.”
“Why did the Government not speak out against numerous atrocities committed against innocent civilians… (including in ) Syria, Nigeria, Rwanda, Mozambique, Afghanistan. Our government has been inconsistent in upholding international law… ignore(ing) Security Council Resolution 1373 which requires all countries… to take steps against… terrorist organizations like Hamas.”
“South Africa… has elected to engage in “lawfare” to achieve the political and religious agendas of extremists whose interests are not aligned with those of the majority of South African citizens or our national interest.”
“ We… deeply regret our government's decision to take sides and to do the bidding of those who have sinister and ulterior political and religious objectives and who have no genuine interest in the rule of law.”
(Please be in touch to receive the full statement and list of supporting organizations.)
In addition to the broad coalition of South African Christians decrying its government’s policies, one of the leading parties in the South African parliament, the African Christian Democratic Party (ADCP) has always maintained strident support for Israel, and its opposition not just to the South African government policies, but its morality. ACDP President and MP Rev. Kenneth Meshoe issued a bold statement against the government's case against Israel at the ICJ.
“While the ACDP mourns the loss of innocent lives on both sides of the Israel-Gaza war… the government could have played a… constructive role in influencing Hamas to release hostages… and even to surrender, to avoid the loss of civilian lives, and to seek to bring about a lasting peace... Regrettably, by… taking sides, it can no longer play a role as an honest peace-broker.”
“The… government will (not) be able to prove that Israel has the necessary genocidal intent… as required by the Genocide Convention. Israel faced a genocidal attack on 7 October by Hamas when unimaginable atrocities were committed against its citizens… including gross violations of international law, war crimes and even crimes against humanity.”
“The Hamas charter calls for the destruction and annihilation of the State of Israel… (and vows) that it will carry out similar attacks whenever it has the opportunity to do so. No country would allow itself to be subject to such attacks. Israel has every right to defend itself, and its citizens, and obtain the release of hostages still held captive by Hamas. Israel’s war is against Hamas terrorists, not against the Palestinian people.”
“It is… hypocritical… to now approach the ICJ when it ignored the International Criminal Court’s (2015) arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on charges of genocide and war crimes (despite a South African High Court ordering the South African government to comply with the ICC warrant), sought to withdraw from the ICC in 2016, and criticised the ICC for the arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
“The… government’s case will alienate South Africa’s trade partners in the West… The US has said (the) case was ‘meritless, counterproductive and completely without any basis in fact whatsoever.’ This may jeopardise the all-important AGOA trade agreement with the US... as well as fractured relations with other important trade partners, the country can ill-afford at a time when it is facing unprecedented… unemployment and poverty and low economic growth.”
“(The) South African government’s (case is) ‘expensive legal frolic,’ tens of millions of rands which… could be better spent on national… law enforcement agencies that are unable to fight crime and corruption effectively in the country due to severe budgetary constraints.”
“The ACDP does not believe that this court case is in South Africa’s best national interest. We continue to pray and advocate for peace in the Middle East, but as far as the South African government’s court case at the ICJ is concerned, we say.., 'not in our name!’”
As remarkable and important as these inspiring voices are from South Africa this month, they are not new. In the remarkable book, “Israel the Miracle” featuring 75 essays from Christian leaders around the world why Israel is important, sentiments like these are echoed from four of the authors, all South African natives.
MP Steve Swart, also of the ACDP, noted that South Africa didn’t always have such a treacherous past vis a vis Israel. “South Africa was one of thirty-three countries that voted in favor of United Nations Resolution 181, paving the way for the establishment of the state of Israel. This was the first time in almost 2000 years that the Jewish people had the chance to establish a sovereign Jewish State in its historical homeland.
“Isael is a living testimony of the Bible, including prophecies regarding the ingathering of the Jewish people from all nations… (bringing) alive our Chrisitan faith. It's concerning that the South African government, while purporting to hold a neutral stance on Israel, has increasingly adopted a biased approach… This does not represent the millions of South Africans who love and support Israel.”
Olga Meshoe Washington, daughter of ACDP MP Rev. Kenneth Meshoe, writes along with her husband Joshua Washington, amplifying South Africa’s previous support for Israel, and the dangerous turn that the ANC government has taken. “Nelson Mandela was clear about his support for Israel: ‘We recognize the legitimacy of Palestinian nationalism just as we recognize the legitimacy of Zionism as Jewish nationalism. We insist on the right of Israel to exist within secure borders.’”
She notes that Mandela’s voice is “critical to remember at a time where no efforts are spared to drive a wedge between Blacks and Jews,” adding that it is an affront to our legacy “to obfuscate (Mandela’s) words and intentions… (including) doctored videos attempting to paint Mandela against the Jewish State. When Mandela spoke about the conflict Mandela said, ‘I cannot conceive of Israel withdrawing if Arab states do not recognize Israel within secure borders.’”
When it relates to justice, there is no more moral or authoritative voice that former South African Supreme Court Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng who had received death threats for his unwavering support for Israel. Chief Justice Mogoeng emphasizes the unbreakable Biblical imperative in Genesis 12:3 where “God irreversibly declares, ‘I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’”
Not able to project that South Africa’s government would continue to embrace even more hostile positions to Israel he wrote about his faith building experience in Israel, he noted, “The Lord also instructed me to atone for my nation’s highly negative attitude towards Israel, which worsened by downgrading our Embassy.” Mogoeng concluded, noting the significance of Israel’s 75th anniversary of independence that is an ever more fervent prayer today, “May this watershed moment – the celebration of Israel the Miracle – serve as a reassurance to the Jews and all true believers in Jesus Christ that ours is a covenant-keeping God who never changes nor forsakes his own.”
Grounding the celebration of modern Israel in Biblical fact, Rev. Malcolm Hedding is the former executive director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem notes that, “It is wholly appropriate that we celebrate seventy-five years of Israel’s modern-day existence, while also remembering that she is an ancient nation.” Despite, or perhaps specifically in the wake of the South African government’s behavior, Hedding note God’s graciousness is “for His own name’s sake, that He may be clarified, and that His works may be seen on Earth,” adding “The miracles surrounding Israel’s modern restoration are numerous and speak of God’s great love and kindness.”
Despite this positive vision, Hedding shares a prophecy that’s particularly and sadly relevant today. “Israel has a great future, but it will be won through conflict, difficulty, prayer, and more miracles. The future will see the exaltation of Jerusalem and peace flowing from it to the nations. The great Hebrew prophet Isaiah saw this coming and wrote: ‘And many people shall come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of God and Jacob, that he may teach us His ways, and that we may walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.’”
With a prayer for the future that is also particularly and sadly relevant today, Hedding references Zachariah 14:16-17, “A day is coming wherein the gentile nations, even those who have hated and resisted her, will understand her miraculous existence and come up to Jerusalem to celebrate with her.”
Unwavering support for Israel among Chrisians is something to be celebrated in Israel and around the world. Despite what amounts to legal terrorism by the South African government and demonstrated with widespread support for Hamas and its genocidal goals and actual attrocoties committed, these sentiments long pre-dated October 7, and will continue to serve as a bedrock of support for generations going forward.
These complete essays and seventy one others are available at www.IsraeltheMiracle.com.
Image credit: ©Getty Images
Jonathan Feldstein was born and educated in the U.S. and immigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. Throughout his life and career, he has been blessed by the calling to fellowship with Christian supporters of Israel and shares experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel. He writes regularly for a variety of prominent Christian and conservative websites and is the host of Inspiration from Zion, a popular webinar series and podcast. He can be reached at [email protected]