Chief justice's comments on Israel were his religious right, says ACDP leader

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Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
Alet Pretorius, Gallo Images
  • The African Christian Democratic Party is hosting a picket in support of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
  • Party leader Kenneth Meshoe says Mogoeng's comments on Israel amounted to religious freedom. 
  • Mogoeng is appealing the Judicial Conduct Committee's ruling, in terms of which he was ordered to apologise for the comments. 

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe says complainants relating to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng's comments on Israel trample on his religious freedom. 

On Monday morning, the party is holding a picket at the Constitutional Court in support of Mogoeng after the Judicial Conduct Committee (JCC) ordered him to retract his comments and apologise.

During a webinar hosted by The Jerusalem Post last year, Mogoeng quoted from the Bible and said he was praying for Israel. He pledged his love for the country.

But Africa4Palestine, the SA BDS Coalition and the Women's Cultural Group laid complaints with the JCC, saying that his comments were a political statement.

He was found guilty and ordered to apologise.

The chief justice has since appealed the decision. 

Meshoe told News24 that Mogoeng was exercising his right to belief and religion and did not violate any laws. 

"What happened to him is an injustice. When a person acts on their constitutional right and other people say he is wrong they need to explain why. Those who say he violated the Judicial Code of Conduct must show us whether their code is above the South African Constitution."

OPINION | Ruling on Mogoeng shows system works

He said Mogoeng, like other Christians, was instructed by the Bible to always pray for peace in Israel.

"As religious people, we are instructed by the Bible to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. If he does what the Bible instructs us and then he continues and says: 'I love the Jews, I love the Palestinians and I love everybody,' what is wrong with that?"

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He said a distinction needed to be made between the Israeli government and the religious nation.

"There are many people in the world who love South Africa but don't like what the South African government is doing. I love Israel but I don't like what the Israeli government is doing. People should be able to make a difference. A government and a nation are different."

Meshoe added that he was "one of the few voices that are brave" and making public statements against the "annihilation of Israel".

"The Palestinian charter, until today, says Israel must be removed from the face of the earth. But we are refusing. How can you remove another nation from the face of the earth? Who are you?"

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