Why South Africa Is Punishing a Chief Justice for Standing Up for Israel

Last summer, South Africa’s chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng was subjected to ferocious criticism after he suggested that his country take a more “balanced” approach to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and spoke in biblical terms of his “love for Israel.” Complaints about his conduct have led to a recent formal ruling that he violated the country’s strict laws prohibiting judges from publicly commenting on political issues, and giving him ten days to apologize—which he refuses to do. But even if there is a case to be made that Mogoeng ran afoul of official codes of conduct, argues Milton Shain, the response to the affair by both the press and the authorities betrays something far more troubling:

For decades the Jewish state has been maligned and the ideology of Zionism mangled [in South Africa]. Ironically, vilification [of Israel] in the 1950s emanated mainly from the radical white right. Neo-Nazis such as Ray Rudman, for example, located malevolent Jewish power in the Zionist enterprise. . . . Today the anti-Zionist left mirrors the old radical white right. It too characterizes Israel in sinister terms: the Jewish state is at the center of a vast conspiracy, nefariously manipulating global and domestic politics and finance.

In power since 1994, the African National Congress (ANC) has in effect separated “good” Jews from “bad” (Zionist) Jews. . . . Essentially, the ANC and the progressive left see Zionism through an South Africa prism. With a mind-boggling sweep of one-sided history, rooted firmly in a colonial settler paradigm and devoid of even a shred of historical sensitivity, . . . it simplistically frames a 100-year-old conflict within an apartheid framework, an approach largely jettisoned by serious scholars of the subject. No place is left for complexity or competing narratives.

While antagonism towards Israel cannot axiomatically be equated with anti-Semitism, it is apparent that the discourse of anti-Zionism often goes beyond the bounds of normal political rhetoric and frequently betrays vulgar Jew-hatred. Israel alone is signaled out for obloquy, while the human-rights abuses of many other states are ignored. Mogoeng made this clear. In so doing he crossed a red line.

Read more at Business Day

More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Racism, South Africa

Why the White House’s Plan to Prevent an Israel-Hizballah War Won’t Work

On Monday, Hizballah downed an Israeli drone, leading the IDF to retaliate with airstrikes that killed one of the terrorist group’s commanders in southern Lebanon, and two more of its members in the northeast. The latter strike marks an escalation by the IDF, which normally confines its activities to the southern part of the country. Hizballah responded by firing two barrages of rockets into northern Israel on Tuesday, while Hamas operatives in Lebanon fired another barrage yesterday.

According to the Iran-backed militia, 219 of its fighters have been killed since October; six Israeli civilians and ten soldiers have lost their lives in the north. The Biden administration has meanwhile been involved in ongoing negotiations to prevent these skirmishes from turning into an all-out war. The administration’s plan, however, requires carrots for Hizballah in exchange for unenforceable guarantees, as Richard Goldberg explains:

Israel and Hizballah last went to war in 2006. That summer, Hizballah crossed the border, killed three Israeli soldiers, and kidnapped two others. Israel responded with furious airstrikes, a naval blockade, and eventually a ground operation that met stiff resistance and mixed results. A UN-endorsed ceasefire went into effect after 34 days of war, accompanied by a Security Council Resolution that ordered the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to assist the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in disarming Hizballah in southern Lebanon—from the Israeli border up to the Litani River, some 30 kilometers away.

Despite billions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer support over the last seventeen years, the LAF made no requests to UNIFIL, which then never disarmed Hizballah. Instead, Iran accelerated delivering weapons to the terrorist group—building up its forces to a threat level that dwarfs the one Israel faced in 2006. The politics of Lebanon shifted over time as well, with Hizballah taking effective control of the Lebanese government and exerting its influence (and sometimes even control) over the LAF and its U.S.-funded systems.

Now the U.S. is offering Lebanon an economic bailout in exchange for a promise to keep Hizballah forces from coming within a mere ten kilometers of the border, essentially abrogating the Security Council resolution. Goldberg continues:

Who would be responsible for keeping the peace? The LAF and UNIFIL—the same pair that has spent seventeen years helping Hizballah become the threat it is today. That would guarantee that Hizballah’s commitments will never be verified or enforced.

It’s a win-win for [Hizballah’s chief Hassan] Nasrallah. Many of his fighters live and keep their missiles hidden within ten kilometers of Israel’s border. They will blend into the civilian population without any mechanism to force their departure. And even if the U.S. or France could verify a movement of weapons to the north, Nasrallah’s arsenal is more than capable of terrorizing Israeli cities from ten kilometers away. Meanwhile, a bailout of Lebanon will increase Hizballah’s popularity—demonstrating its tactics against Israel work.

Read more at The Dispatch

More about: Hizballah, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden