Moosa foundation wants SA Zionist Federation to withdraw complaint against Siraj Desai

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Retired judge Siraj Desai. (Photo by Gallo Images / Beeld / Jaco Marais)
Retired judge Siraj Desai. (Photo by Gallo Images / Beeld / Jaco Marais)
  • The Essa and Fatima Moosa Foundation wants a complaint lodged by the SA Zionist Federation against retired judge Siraj Desai at the Judicial Conduct Committee to be withdrawn.
  • In defending Desai, the foundation accused the SAZF of trying to use the country's judiciary to advance objectives of "the apartheid state of Israel".
  • The SAZF complaint against Desai followed an interview Desai conducted with an Iranian Youtube channel.

The Essa and Fatima Moosa Foundation has come out in defence of retired judge Siraj Desai, calling on the South Africa Zionist Federation (SAZF) to withdraw a complaint it laid with the Judicial Conduct Committee against him.

The SAZF accused Desai, who had since been appointed Legal Services Ombud, of conduct and actions "entirely unbecoming of a judicial officer".

It also accused him of having "breached" the Judicial Code of Conduct "over many years".

READ | Zionist Federation lodges complaint against Siraj Desai, accusing him of being a 'politicised' judge

The foundation hit back, saying Desai was a defender of social justice and human rights.

The foundation said:

As a human rights foundation we find it difficult to comprehend the merits of the attack against Judge Desai. It appears to be a blatant attempt to discredit a champion for human rights and defender of social justice whose work greatly benefitted ordinary South Africans during the dark days of apartheid and continues in the post-apartheid era.

It accused the SAZF of using the judicial system to defend the "apartheid state of Israel".

"We call on the Judicial Conduct Committee to dismiss the SAZF complaint as disingenuous and without any credibility as it serves as proxy for those who defend the massacre of innocent women, the detention of innocent children, some as young as seven and eight years of age.

"It serves the agenda of people who unashamedly have no regard for justice and are willing to utilise the provisions and institutions of our judicial system to advance their own  objectives to defend the Apartheid State of Israel.

"We must graciously and humbly insist that the South African Zionist Federation withdraw its complaint and ceases all further attempts to discredit Judge Siraj Desai."

ALSO READ | Africa4Palestine opposes Chief Justice Mogoeng's appeal against ruling on Israel comments

According to the SAZF complaint, Desai made "inappropriate comments" in an interview on an Iranian Youtube channel in which he likened Iranian leader Ayatolla Khomeini to Nelson Mandela, describing both as "towering figures".

Comparing renowned statesman Mandela to Khomeini, "a despotic founding leader of a regime notorious for human rights violations" was inappropriate, the SAZF said.

Desai, had, through his spokesperson, Professor Yusuf Chikte, said he was unapologetic for his condemnation of Israel and his defence of Palestinians "that are persecuted by unjust laws and war crimes conducted against them".

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