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By Citizen Reporter


Dual SA-Israel citizens have the right to fight – US Congress

US Congress member Joe Wilson also asked the SA government to explain what steps are being taken to "ensure that Jewish South Africans are protected against growing anti-Semitism."

The Congress of the United States has slammed South Africa’s intent to arrest dual citizens with the state of Israel for serving in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).

In a letter written to President Cyril Ramaphosa, US Congress member Joe Wilson stated the announcement made by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor to arrest civilians serving either compulsorily or voluntarily in Israel’s operation in Gaza was a “gross miscarriage of justice which continued to perpetuate dangerous sentiments against Israeli citizens and the state of Israel’s right to exist”.

WATCH: PSC calls on NPA to prosecute South Africans assisting Israel in Gaza war (VIDEO)

According to Wilson, Israel like every other nation, had a right to defend itself against terrorism.

“When Hamas carried out its murderous and unprovoked attacks against civilians in Israel on 7 October, 2023, this was nothing short of terrorism. The international law of armed conflict does not prohibit the citizens of any state from serving in the military of a nation to which the individual owes allegiance,” he said.

‘Growing anti-Semitism’ in SA

“Arresting citizens for serving Israel in their battle for self-determination against a terrorist organisation is already greatly alarming. But in a nation that has a history of corruption and false imprisonment, as was witnessed in the 1962 Rivonia Trial of Nelson Mandela, the level of concern for judicial malfeasance is increased.”

Wilson said SA was a home to a Jewish population of more than 70 000 individuals and for Pandor to state South Africans and those who fought in the IDF would be arrested, “demonstrated a significant appearance of anti-Semitism”.

“We request your government explain what steps are being taken to ensure that Jewish South Africans are protected against growing anti-Semitism, specifically as senior government officials are increasing their hostile anti-Semitic statements,” he said.

“What steps are in place to ensure dual citizens are not falsely charged with genocide and war crimes in the same manner as the false International Court of Justice accusations levelled in January? If you and your government arrest soldiers of our allies, it will have consequences for the USSouth Africa relationship.

“While this plan was only introduced by Foreign Minister Pandor speaking of dual nationals, that may not be the case tomorrow as her personal opinions obfuscate the truth and justice.

“In the future, what will happen to US dual nationals that served in the IDF who are on vacation to SA? Is your government prepared to perpetrate false arrests on US citizens and the dire consequences that will follow?”

SA Jewish Board of Deputies president Zev Krengel recognised the concern raised by the US Congress.

“We appreciate the concern the senators have expressed regarding Pandor’s relentless attempts to intimidate South African Jewry.

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“Once again, she has shown she has one set of rules for Jews and another for everyone else. Dirco oversaw the repatriation of 80 South Africans who had gone to fight for Isis in Syria, without any questions being posed about their being in breach of SA law.

“Likewise, we know that South Africans are fighting in the Royal Marines, in Russia and in the Ukraine, yet no issues are made about contravening laws regulating the participation of SA citizens in foreign military ventures.

“The double standards go even further, since by engaging private local military contractors in helping fight Isis in Mozambique, the SA government itself is in apparent breach of its own legislation.

“Despite this, it is only SA Jews whom the minister has an issue with. Her crass behaviour, which she pursues with zeal (notably calling for protests outside local foreign embassies) is being noted in the diplomatic world.”

However, Nelson Mandela University’s Director of the Centre for Security, Peace and Conflict Resolution Prof Ntsikelelo Breakfast said the US applied a double standard.

On the one hand, the US passed the resolution for a ceasefire but also supported Israel financially in its military operations.