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Herzog: South African case a ‘blood libel’ against the Jews

"This abandonment of moral clarity, the desertion of the vision of international justice and its replacement by cynical politics and outright falsehoods, will have repercussions far beyond Israel," said Israel's president.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog speaks from the Western Wall in Jerusalem to the crowd gathered at the “March for Israel” rally in Washington, Nov. 14, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog speaks from the Western Wall in Jerusalem to the crowd gathered at the “March for Israel” rally in Washington, Nov. 14, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.

One of Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s chief concerns for Israel and the civilized world is the corruption of the international legal system, which “has begun to ignore reality and truth.”

“Justice is unrecognizable, and noble ideals are perverted by terrorists and cynics,” he wrote in a Feb. 11 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal.

He referred to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, which convened in January to consider South Africa’s genocide accusation against Israel.

“This absurd claim and the abuse of an august international forum convened to weigh its merits remind us how far we’ve come from the moral clarity of the fight against Nazism (after which the ICJ was established),” Herzog wrote.

On Jan. 26, the court rejected South Africa’s request to issue a temporary injunction ordering a halt to Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. A final ruling could take years. 

Herzog referred to the many “misrepresentations” in the accusation, including one in particular referring to a quote attributed to himself.

The quote was of a comment Herzog made at an Oct. 12 news conference, only five days after Hamas terrorists killed 1,200 Israelis, wounded thousands more and kidnapped hundreds. In the quote, Herzog referred to “an entire nation out there that is responsible.”

“These words were purposely distorted when presented to the court. The claim that Israel is committing genocide can’t rest on accurate information, because it is a lie,” said Herzog.

He had stated in that same conference, “in no uncertain terms, that there are many innocent Palestinians, and that the state of Israel and our security forces don’t view innocent civilians as targets in any way,” he said.

“Israel is acting to protect its citizens from an explicitly genocidal enemy, as we are required to do under international law. Israel is doing so with utmost concern for civilian life, as experts from other Western militaries know well,” he added.

Herzog noted that during that Oct. 12 news conference with foreign journalists, not one asked about what Israel was going through, and focused all their concern on the effect the massacre would have on the Palestinians in Gaza, “the territory that had produced and then celebrated the perpetrators of the attack.”

The fact is that many Palestinian civilians followed on the heels of the terrorists into Israel on Oct. 7 and joined in the “murder, rape and looting,” he said. “Palestinians were filmed cheering the massacre and jeering and attacking the hostages as they were led into captivity.”

“The world can’t disregard what we saw on Oct. 7. The International Court of Justice has ignored most of these crimes, but we in Israel can’t,” he added.

“The South African case, brought in support of Hamas, is a blood libel against the nation-state of the Jewish people—a shameful low for an international system that emerged from the ashes of the Holocaust.

“This abandonment of moral clarity, the desertion of the vision of international justice and its replacement by cynical politics and outright falsehoods, will have repercussions far beyond Israel,” he concluded.

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