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US legislators threaten ‘consequences’ if SA arrests citizens for serving in Israeli army

US legislators threaten ‘consequences’ if SA arrests citizens for serving in Israeli army
Illustrative image: A South African flag. (Photo: EPA / Nic Bothma) | An Israeli army tank moves along the border with Gaza in southern Israel. (EPA-EFE / Abir Sultan) | A US Flag. (Photo: Sean Gardner / Getty Images)

Six US legislators have written to President Cyril Ramaphosa warning SA not to carry out its threat to arrest South Africans who join the Israel Defense Forces.

Six US Congress legislators have warned President Cyril Ramaphosa that if his government arrests dual South African-Israeli citizens for serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) “it will have consequences for the US-South Africa relationship”.

The legislators, from both the Republican and Democratic parties, have also asked Ramaphosa to 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”.

The letter is dated 12 April and cites the announcement by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor on 10 March at a Palestinian solidarity event that her government would arrest South Africans who served with the IDF.

“This is a grave miscarriage of justice that continues to perpetuate dangerous sentiments against Israeli citizens and the State of Israel’s right to exist,” the legislators wrote.

“Israel, like every other nation, has a right to defend itself against terrorism,” they continued, referring to the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October, which provoked Israel’s attack on Gaza.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Middle East crisis news hub

The signatories are four Republicans — Joe Wilson, Maria Elvira Salazar, James Baird and Michael Waltz — and two Democrats, Jared Moskowitz and Josh Gottheimer.

Moskowitz recently co-sponsored a bill with Republican representative John James, calling on the US administration to conduct a comprehensive review of US relations with SA, including SA’s continued eligibility for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) which gives duty-free access to the US market for eligible sub-Saharan African countries.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Bill that calls for full review of US relations with SA crosses first hurdle in US Congress

In the 12 April letter, the six legislators warned Ramaphosa, “If you and your government arrest soldiers of our allies, it will have consequences for the US-SA relationship.”

They also asked Ramaphosa what steps his government had put in place to ensure dual South African-Israeli nationals who serve with the IDF “are not falsely charged with genocide and war crimes in the same manner as the false ICJ accusations levelled in January”.

This refers to the charge of genocide which SA brought against Israel at the International Court of Justice, which the six legislators called “unfounded”.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ICJ ruling in SA’s genocide case against Israel lauded as ‘historic’ and victory for human rights 

The legislators added that although Pandor’s warning of arrests applied to dual South African-Israeli citizens, they also raised the possibility of dual US-Israeli citizens who serve in the IDF being arrested while on vacation in South Africa.

They warned of “dire consequences” should this happen.

Lack of past prosecutions

Speaking at a Palestinian solidarity event in Laudium, Pretoria, in March, Pandor warned any South Africans who joined the IDF, “We are ready. When you come home, we are going to arrest you.”

She was probably threatening to invoke the Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act which makes it an offence for any South African to serve in a foreign military without first getting approval from the SA government.

However that act has hardly ever been used and the government has been threatening to prosecute South Africans who serve in the IDF for several years without ever carrying out such threats, as far as could be established.

The South African Jewish Report noted for instance that the government had gone even further in December 2023 by also warning that naturalised South Africans could have their citizenship revoked for joining foreign armed forces engaged in wars the country didn’t agree with.

The paper also reported that in 2009, the Palestine Solidarity Alliance handed the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) a list of 73 South Africans of Jewish descent who had fought for the Israeli military in 2008 and 2009. It said the NPA had declined to prosecute.

“This was followed by a case brought against another South African citizen serving in the Israeli military in 2014. A docket was opened in the Western Cape, but no information could be found as to whether he was, in fact, prosecuted.”

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, said: “The President is currently in South Sudan and has not seen this letter. However, for the record, South Africa, as a sovereign, constitutional democracy, passed a law known as Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act. Minister Pandor was referencing this law. She was not coming up with her own individual plan as it has been falsely asserted. The law remains in place, and indeed, it will be enforced against those found to have violated it.”

Agoa eligibility

Congressional sources told Daily Maverick that the new letter indicated that the US pressure on SA had not eased, despite US senators dropping legislation demanding an “out-of-cycle” review of SA’s Agoa eligibility.

On 11 April, Democrat Chris Coons and Republican Jim Risch, senior members of the Senate foreign relations committee, introduced the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) Renewal and Improvement Act of 2024.

The main thrust was to extend Agoa for 16 years when it expires next year. But the Bill also dropped the demand from a previous version that the US administration should immediately review SA’s Agoa eligibility, mainly because the senators believed Pretoria’s positions on contentious foreign policy issues such as Russia’s war against Ukraine and Israel’s war against Hamas were harmful to US security and foreign interests.

The removal of the South Africa clause from the Bill has prompted widespread interpretation in SA that SA’s participation in Agoa is now secure.

US sources have pointed out that this is not necessarily so. They said the Coons/Risch Bill did not confirm SA’s eligibility but rather indicated that the instrument to address SA’s eligibility was not the reauthorisation of a continent-wide programme. SA’s eligibility should rather be considered through separate measures so as to not conflate a continent-wide programme with just one country.

The Bill introduced earlier in the House of Representatives by James and Moskowitz is one such alternative measure, though it has not yet been matched by the necessary Senate legislation. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Skinyela Skinyela says:

    These legislators are smoking something very strong.

    They don’t understand sovereignty, so much for being legislators!

    Imagine a country telling another country how to apply her laws.

    • chris smit says:

      These legislators are smoking reason. They are in control of the actions and inactions of their country towards other nations. We have to understand our choices will have repurcussions that will not bode well for the mayority of South Africans. Notwithstanding our much vained independance

      • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

        They can keep USA and apartheid Israel we keep South Africa.

        • William Dryden says:

          Kenneth your comment are somewhat strange, South Africa has now become a failed state, and the corruption and violence are out of control and yet you defend it and want to keep it, despite the likes of Pandor who sucks up to Iran and Hamas and gets paid for it. I’m keeping my options open until after the elections.

        • Ben Harper says:

          Hahahaha – typical response

      • Penny Philip says:

        The legislators are playing to the Jewish electorate during an election year. Pure posturing.

      • Skinyela Skinyela says:

        That is not the position of the legislative army of the nation(their parliament, known as the Congress), it is not the position of the white house(the executive army) and is not even the position of their parties(Democrats and Republicans).

        Virtually every country has such law, you don’t allow your citizens to join foreign armies and becoming mercenaries.

        • Ryan hermanson says:

          The US does not prevent a dual citizen from fighting for another army. It is against the law to fight against a nation that is at peace with the US. This law is rarely enforced. An example of this is US Citizens who fight in Ukraine against Russia.

    • PJ T says:

      We need preferential trade with the US – the ANC has messed up our economy enough. The US has the right to decide who gets to be part of AGOA. So yes, we are a sovereign state, and the US is not telling us how to apply our laws, merely stating what they will do if we apply the laws in a certain way.

      • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

        To need and to beg is different thing, one day stand in a corner and beg I doubt you will like the experience, I don’t normally swear but USA must really push their AGOA to a not so nice place, we have natural resources and people eat all over the world even in China and they don’t make us beg.

        • Michael Thomlinson says:

          No Kenneth you are wrong. We cannot just tell the USA to go shove AGOA, as much as we would like to. Unbeknown to a lot of South Africans we have millions/billions of USD exports that are flowing out the country keeping businesses going here, particularly in the automotive and agricultural industries. These businesses are reliant on the preferrential trade agreements that keep our products competitive overseas and so keep people employed, in SA and keep foreign currencies flowing into SA. If we lose these agreements there will be catastrophic job losses and inflation as the value of our currency goes through the floor. Probably OK if you are in a sheltered government job but not good if you are in the private sector.

          • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

            I am not comfortable with begging genocide peddlars

          • sapientem victor says:

            @kenneth start practicing your begging, going to need it soon bro

          • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

            No matter how nice we try to be the USA thinks they have a right to run this country but we cannot run USA, it’s a hostile bromamce.

      • enock Ndhlovu says:

        I concur with you.

    • Greeff Kotzé says:

      Perhaps they are not even aware that this is our law — and it is not merely some arbitrary law, either, but one that was enacted to give effect to Section 198(b) of our internationally-acclaimed Constitution. Slipping in the bit of speculation about dual US-Israeli citizens potentially being arrested (while no legal basis exists for doing so) just shows how out of touch they are.

      But really, why is this even considered news? A letter? From 6 House Reps out of a total of 435? They don’t even represent the US State Department, or the US Presidency.

    • Lenka Mojau says:

      I agree 👍

    • Lenka Mojau says:

      I agree 👍

    • Charl Van Til says:

      Laws should be applied without fear or favor. Has the minister threatened every dual citizen who serves in their other country’s army? No, only those of one country. Clear bias. Any of SA’s trading partners is entitled to respond how they see fit to actions that SA takes. Pandor was dancing around telling people to boycott Israel, now don’t complain when the shoe is on the other foot.

    • Garth Mason says:

      There is a long history of this type of legislation. John Vorster was arrested for being pro Nazi in WW2. White South African men refusing conscription to the SADF were arrested. There is no such thing as a Just State. All Governments are partisan. That is the reality. Citizens will fall foul of the State at according to their beliefs. I certainly did in 80s.

  • Malcolm McManus says:

    I wonder if they will arrest SA citizens who fight with Hamas. I am just not seeing the South African neutral stance here, in particular from Naledi.

    • Mo Naroth says:

      Why must there be a neutral stance? When Israel is clearly committing genocide and disobeying all UN resolutions and killing thousands of innocent people everyday!

      • Malcolm McManus says:

        Alleged genocide. No judgement in the matter yet as far as I am aware. The neutral stance is what the ANC policy is supposed to be. Thats what they promote. I don’t argue that its wrong or right. Just what ANC government foreign policy is.

        • Deirdré Lubbe says:

          Waiting for judges to reach a conclusion and then follow their lead whatever they proclaim is a rather unusual stance. There is enough information in the news for anyone to reach a conclusion either way. Neutral is not what anyone is supposed to be. In my view, brave in the face of adversity is about the only thing the ANC has done right in 30 years, and with so many countries and institutions now openly calling it genocide the ANC and by implication South Africa have been vindicated.

      • Ben Harper says:

        Hahahahaha

    • dexter m says:

      Have not heard of any SA citizen serving with Hamas ,but if they will also be liable for prosecution under the same laws.

      • Malcolm McManus says:

        Ja, But you don’t hear Naledi opening her mouth about citizens serving with Hamas. She has a biased agenda. Its very clear. You never hear her talking about or trying to promote peaceful resolutions or dialogue between these two warring parties. Just anti Israel sentiment. Not helpful.

      • Rod H MacLeod says:

        You are wrong – remember the days of ISIS?

        • Skinyela Skinyela says:

          Twins who plotted to join the ISIS and to bomb the US embassy in RSA, were arrested.

          A teenage girl who was on her way to join ISIS was stopped at Cape Town airport and detained.

    • David Forbes says:

      SA is not neutral. It is non-aligned. Big difference. Go read some history of the Non-Aligned Movement to understand where South Africa’s position comes from.

    • Lu Nqg says:

      They must’ve not pleased AIPAC enough, they’re now trying to put in overtime to earn their dime.

      Shame tog.

    • Bob Dubery says:

      Well, the law says that Citizens of SA may not serve in another nation’s armed forces with out first getting permission. Somebody who goes off to fight in the Ukraine (on either side) is just as guilty as somebody who volunteers for the IDF.

      There was no necessity for the Minister to make that statement. The law already had this situation covered.

      If she was really worried about the number of young SAns going to go fight for another country, she should have just made a general point about that piece of legislation and warned the would-be soldiers to get clearance first.

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    When will the SA government realise this is NOT their war! They have nothing to gain from intervening in any way. Rather look at the genocide and troubles at home caused by their own policies and inaction ….children dying of starvation, gang wars,xenophobia, overpopulation and racist economic policies, to name a few. Wake up!

    • Frans Flippo says:

      Exactly! I think the issue is a convenient lightning rod for an ANC that has obviously failed to govern for the past 30 years yet is still hoping to rake in millions of votes in May.

    • Luke S says:

      When a government kills 14000 children, and almost as many women, with all the latest precise military technology and intelligence at it’s disposal, in just 6 months, flattens 2/3rds of the homes, and starves those left alive and wounded, it is every human’s war. Quite simply because if you read my first sentence again, and try to reconcile that with what they are saying their objectives are, something is very, very seriously wrong. Some very, very big lies are being told, and if nothing is said or done, an entire population of people will be lost to the world. Please don’t trivialise the word “genocide”.

      • The Stoic, Cynic and Epicurean says:

        Well summarised.

      • L T. says:

        You are the one who trivialises the word “genocide” . For it to be genocide intent has to be proved. The population of Gaza has increased exponentially. The Israeli intent is to eradicate the same Hamas who use Palestinians as human shields and steal the food that Israel continues to allow into Gaza. The numbers of Palestinians killed supplied by the Gaza Health Ministry actually killed by Israeli fire in the conflict has been grossly inflated and even the Gazans have admitted to this. YOU trivialise the word by not accepting that whatever is happening in Gaza is the fault of Hamas and those complicit in their war crimes.

        • JP K says:

          In assessing whether genocide is occurring maybe is better to rely on what experts say rather than repeating tired Israeli tropes.

          The ICJ found that there is a plausible case that Israel is committing genocide.

          30 Special Rapporteurs welcomed the case.

          The Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories found there was reasonable evidence Israel is contravening the Genocide Convention.

        • The Stoic, Cynic and Epicurean says:

          You need to catch up on your historical facts. Population increase is largely due to forced migration from the West Bank over the decades. You espouse the same disinformation of other supporters of Israel and Israel’s own spokespeople. Read more deeply and question it. And, why has the population of Jews increased ‘exponentially’ in the West Bank? Some balance is needed in your answer, less myopic.

          • Deirdré Lubbe says:

            JP K & The Stoic
            Between the two of you there’s not much left to be said. Meanwhile killing of innocent Palestinians by Illegal Israeli Settlers in the Palestinian West Bank continue unpunished as it has been for years. It has escalated since October 7th. What is your view on that L.T. ? Historical facts are support Palestinians. Plenty free information on the web, from trusted publications such as Wikipedia and the BBC

        • Hennie Booysen says:

          LT – if nothing else, please get your use of language right. The population of Gaza, indeed any human population, simply cannot increase exponentially for any period of time. Just get your maths right.

      • Skinyela Skinyela says:

        Just as big lies were told in order to justify the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, and when no WMD were found they changed the narrative and said that their intention was to reform the governance system in those countries, introduce democracy and culture of human rights.

        When Julian Assange exposed the atrocities of their armies there, actions that the powers be knew and did nothing about, they became so furious and vowed to punish him… Hence the persecution currently going on.

        They stayed for 2 decades in Afghanistan and handed it over to the Talibans in the end, after propping up a very corrupt and weak government there.

      • Deirdré Lubbe says:

        I totally agree with you, well said. And the enablers are complicit.

      • Ben Harper says:

        Source of those numbers? And don’t say Hamas themselves

    • Luke S says:

      When will the US government realise that (numerous conflicts over many decades that it has either started, or supported), is NOT their war! By your own logic, are you petitioning the US to stop supporting others’ wars with weapons and money and vetoes?

      • The Stoic, Cynic and Epicurean says:

        Agreed. But they make it their war, as they started most of it anyway. It’s their military, economic and political influence in countries that sustains the mighty US economy. They falsified the WMDs in Iraq, got rid of Saddam Hussein and stayed – a few more military bases added to the Middle East and a ‘democratic’ President espousing the US version of democracy. Just one example…And for those who don’t know – about 60% to 70% of the US budget is for military purposes.

        • John Smythe says:

          Slight exaggeration. 10% to 12%. And so what if their military budget is high. I’m just grateful that there is a USA. Without a Western superpower, we may all be living in dictatorial and communist countries (look at the love relationship of our ruling party with dubious characters) where your freedom of thought, movement, speech, press, nationalisation, even more corruption and nepotism, and where any “misbehaviour” is harshly dealt with. I think I prefer the US and my freedom.

          • Skinyela Skinyela says:

            Funny how some of the repressive regimes are actually propped up and shielded by the very US of A!

          • The Stoic, Cynic and Epicurean says:

            10% to 12% is for the actual military operations around the world, excludes the actual defence contracts which runs for decades to contractors for supplying the hardware and services. And, your comment “where your freedom of thought, movement, speech, press, nationalisation, even more corruption and nepotism, and where any “misbehaviour” is harshly dealt with” – you just described the USA. US privatising of healthcare, education, prisons and deregulation of the banking and other sectors, and the promulgation of policies for the benefit of corporations and billionaires is where US corruption is rife. I can go on…

      • L T. says:

        Not SA’s war either.

        • Luke S says:

          It isn’t exactly fair either is it. If the US and NATO countries are accepted to take part in the stronger side, and it’s not their war either, what is wrong with other taking part, at least non-violently, in the weaker, oppressed side?

    • PJ T says:

      It isn’t SA’s war, but it is the ANC’s. They are getting well paid by their Iranian puppet masters.

      • John P says:

        That is pure speculation and rumour, please stop spreading unsubstantiated nonsense.

        • Malcolm McManus says:

          In South Africa, as pertains to the ANC, the difference between rumor, speculation and fact is just a matter of time. Todays speculation more often than not becomes tomorrows fact when it comes to the ANC and its dodgy behavior and dealings. We’ve seen it all too often. PJ T has a reasonable case.

          • John P says:

            Until it can be proven it is nothing but libel. There is not even any plausible evidence produced by those who make this statement so all we have is malicious speculation presented as fact.

        • L T. says:

          Wake Up! SA has deliberately made itself part of the Axis of Evil.

          • Deirdré Lubbe says:

            Ah, the term first used by George Bush to justify the US invasion of Iraq under false pretences & based on fabricated intelligence. That was quite rich, coming from the perpetrator of a heinous crime in pursuit of oil, against a devastated nation that may never recover.

          • Luke S says:

            “ah, the “axis of evil”. Remember “die swart gevaar”? Please think at least one level deeper than the propaganda that suits your bias. It’s not easy to confront one’s prejudices with facts and honesty, but we need to look at the bigger picture as humans, for peace, surely?

        • Ben Harper says:

          Hahahaha

      • Vic Mash says:

        So what?

    • Luke S says:

      “racist economic policies” … seriously? Shall we compare these policies between SA and Israel?

    • Freda Brodie says:

      I believe Iran rewarded the Anc handsomely for their efforts.
      The Anc now has money to pay salaries and campaign money.
      I am sure DM reported on this a few months ago, correct me if I am wrong.
      It will be disastrous for SA if we are excluded from Agoa.

      • John P says:

        You are wrong, DM never issued a report showing that Iran rewarded the ANC because there is no proof that they did. This is a malicious rumour being presented as fact.

        • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

          Try John I am giving up on people who associate a none European colour with ill gotten gains and European colour with intergrity, if Palestinians killed 33000 Israelis it will be a different tune.
          The generation of colour of today is well informed, if you pull wool over their eyes they look through the holes they don’t close them.

        • L T. says:

          You are wrong to deny it as there is no proof whatsoever that they did not receive funds from Iran.

          • Skinyela Skinyela says:

            The burden of proof lies on the accuser.

            They are not the ones who must prove that they didn’t receive any funds, you are the one who has the obligation to prove that they did receive the funds.

          • Deirdré Lubbe says:

            Correct. Always fact check rumours, and if you can’t wipe it from your memory.

    • Luke S says:

      Hi Jane. You mention overpopulation as a problem. I presume you have then done what I have, and had yourself surgically sterilised before having any children?

  • Hidden Name says:

    Once again, the ANC’s blind support of Hamas is going to cause unwarranted diplomatic issues with our major trade partners. Do they really not understand the harm these reckless actions can have on their own citizens? Exactly how stupid are they?

    • Frans Flippo says:

      The ANC’s insistence on consistently backing the aggressors in foreign conflicts should worry us all.

      • Malcolm McManus says:

        The ANC still thinks they are in a liberation struggle. The same as Zanu PF. They live in the past and cant actively plan for a future. They have shown this since 1994.

        • John Smythe says:

          Agree. And they’ll never change. That’s why the party’s time must end. They did a good job at ending apartheid. Now give the reigns to people who know how to run a country.

    • Luke S says:

      1. To decry killing 34000 people in revenge for 1200 dead six months ago, is not self defence, nor is it even revenge, it’s bigger than that, and it most certainly is not a simple support for Hamas, but a support for human beings in the process of being eradicated. 2. You imply that money is more important? And you call them stupid?

      • Rama Chandra says:

        Great comment

      • The Stoic, Cynic and Epicurean says:

        Go for it Luke S. Agreed. Some commentators seem to brush every ANC act or utterance with the same brush, whether the stance is moral or not, humanitarian or not. And, to these critics: What do you have to say about the illegal setters on the West Bank? Imagine your neighbourhood being invaded and being told to vacate your house without recourse – what do you do? This is what you condone too, and blindly so.

      • L T. says:

        The day anyone -and I mean anyone – in the ANC show any humanitarian support for the millions of people in this country or anywhere in Africa I will be amazed. Their support for the people victimized In Gaza by their own is not humanitarian – it a pure polucal play that will end very badly for SA.

        • Luke S says:

          And how exactly does attacking the people who stand up for the side that your indoctrination and bias that calls “enemies”, have any relevance to the point at hand?
          Answer me this – Do you honestly think killing 14000 children after 1200 Israeli people were killed, with all the latest technology available, and starving the survivors and 70 000 wounded, is the only way to achieve the (childish) revenge (or elimination of armed Hamas) that they supposedly seek? All you IDF apologists do it criticise the voices that criticise the inhumane actions. What are you views on the ACTUAL TOPIC at hand?

          • Ben Harper says:

            Peddling fake numbers does you no favours, just shows you to be the gullible fool

      • Ben Harper says:

        Your understanding of warfare is greatly lacking

    • Mo Naroth says:

      It’s not affecting our trade with Russia or China? So why do we need to rely on the USA. We will survive without the USAs investments. Especially if it means we are on the right side of history fighting for justice its a small price to pay. No doubt the ANC has lost the plot with our domestic affairs but we know the reason for that is corruption and greed and we can challenge and change that.

    • MT Wessels says:

      Not stupid at all. First they get to posture and act like they’re still embodying the moral high-ground glory days of Mandela while collecting much-needed party dosh for the desperate ANC party-machinery at the back – from dubious actors in exchange for being the useful idiot to lead the noise. In this they are particularly useful to others who are clever enough not to front such actions themselves.
      Secondly the majority of their voters could not care less about international politics or human rights – whether it be Ukraine or Israel or Russia or China or Iran. However, by pinching this nerve the ANC very successfully chisels off a portion of the coloured vote for the DA in the western Cape and elsewhere.

      So ignorant and hypocritical yes, but politically astute in the interests of short term goals: winning the election. After the elections fences with the West will be mended, pretences will return.

      • Malcolm McManus says:

        Exactly. None of this charade has genuine intentions. Its a marketing strategy, which suits the current ANC agenda. Its wicked to manipulate such a terrible situation for self interests. I am not sure if their strategy will impact elections much. I don’t think so.

      • John P says:

        Or possibly they are just honoring the promises made by Nelson Mandela regarding the Palestinian people?

        • Hilary Morris says:

          Oh please! You cannot use honouring and ANC in the same sentence. Ever. Mandela is long forgotten and even denigrated.

          • John P says:

            You should look up big words like “denigrate” before you try to use them.
            Your statement that Mandela is long forgotten tells us everything about you. Love him or hate him or even just don’t care he is certainly not forgotten.

  • JP K says:

    I wonder to what extent this is about making many complicit in genocide? If the ICJ finds that Israel is committing genocide (there are reasonable grounds that it is), then certainly countries like the US, Germany etc. will have been found to have been contravention of the convention. But if South Africa allowed its citizens to fight on behalf of Israel then it too could be found to have contravened the convention. If everyone is guilty, no one can be held to account…

    But the second issue is why is the US attempting to intervene in our sovereign affairs on behalf of a state clearly perpetrating war crimes? The US itself may charge its nationals serving in a foreign military and certain conduct may be considered a war crime (e.g. violations of obligations during war to protect citizens).

  • Israel is an occupier and thus under international Law has no right to defend itself against the occupied. That’s fact and that’s law. Also according to international law Palestinian people as a nation occupied by Israel since 1948 has a right to tend resistance, a right which us exercised via Hamas.

    As signatories to the relevant international agreements enacted post WWll, South Africa has a duty to hold other signatories – Israel – accountable.

    Choosing ignorance is not an option.

    • JP K says:

      Anticipating some responses from apologists, I’d like to add to your comment.

      Since so many people would rather have SA not get involved in the Israel-Palestine conflict, I’d like to remind people of our duties as a signatory to the genocide convention which require states to both not commit genocide and to prevent prevent it form happening. The only way then to ignore genocide then is to withdraw from the convention. But how bad would it look if a country can’t even agree to such basic human rights? What global precedent could that potentially set in motion?

      That Israel is an occupier is disputed (notably by Israel itself) since it unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005. However mostly it is seen as an occupier (notably by the UN General Assembly).

      Your point regarding the right to self-defense as an occupier is naturally controversial (for apologists but not for those that use common sense). But there are two points here. First, Israel’s operations in Gaza go beyond reasonable self-defense (unless genocide constitutes self-defense). But second, if there is occupation and it’s illegal, then no legal right (the right to self-defense) can flow from that. Thus, the framing of Israels actions as self-defense ignores Palestinian rights which have and are being violated – the right to self determination and their own rights to self-defense.

    • Luke S says:

      Straight up facts, right at the top of the most important list of facts regarding the current war in Gaza. Thank you Shameema.

  • District Six says:

    So according to the USA, SA has to disregard its own laws … because… it doesn’t suit the USA. Let me guess: “AGOA” will be trotted out again, right…? They should change the name AGOA to “The Boy Who cried Wolf ACT”.

  • David Engle says:

    Would the SA government arrest South African-Hamas fighters if Hamas’s attack on Israel on 7 Oct decimated Israel? Definitely not because they are not principled enough. The ANC gains no votes by supporting Israel but will gain some SA Muslim votes by supporting Hamas.

    • Luke S says:

      Firstly, you are wrong about the support among the SA public for those being oppressed and murdered, with support for Hamas. I am a middle aged non-Moslem who has experienced and seen the effects of Apartheid, and I support the outcry against what is being done to the Palestinian people. There are many more of us rational thinkers without religious and cultural indoctrination than you may think. Who runs our country after these elections will hardly make a big difference to any of our lives. What is happening in the middle east at the moment affects many, many lives, in a very short period of time. Votes schmotes.

      • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

        Luke you have proven, buy your logic here, that you are anything other than a rational thinker. To claim to have be affected by apartheid and yet be so glib about the South African condition (“hardly makes any difference to our lives”), while being so vocal about the Israel/Palestinian issue on literally every single article on DM, and silent on every other issue (Sudan, Syria, etc. – never a comment from you on any of those articles – where the human tragedy in terms of death tolls that you seem to measure things by, is quantitively far more excessive), speaks about someone who has a very shallow understanding that is full of (in your own lexicon) “cultural indoctrination”.

        Before you swing the mirror back to me – I don’t claim to be a non-anything. I know this area, the politics and the people well. I visit there often, something I challenge you to do (you once said that you were going to sell up and go volunteer in Gaza – bah, humbug, you just keep chirping).

    • Rama Chandra says:

      The ANC is not supporting Hamas, but trying to provide protection for an oppressed people, but I am sure you knew that. And yes, they would arrest South African Al Aqsa members if there were any, but there aren’t. Again, I am sure you knew that.

  • Abdullah Cary Fanourakis says:

    These Americans ‘legislators’ are simply bullies serving a bigger bully. William Blake said it simply in The Everlasting Gospel:
    Ye understand not what I say,
    And, angry, force Me to obey.
    Obedience is a duty then,
    And favour gains with God and men.’

  • Thomas Risi says:

    Dont for a minute think is US is taking the higher ground they are wanting to do the exactly same thing. Hipercrits.

    • Ayanda Nonkwelo says:

      South Africa cannot be told what to do by those killers of USA Congressmen. Palestine supported black liberation movements during our oppression at the hands of Israel and the Nationalist Party. Therefore, those SA mercenaries in Israel are known, and unless they have met their maker in Gaza, they ought to be apprehended if they return to the country.

      • Malcolm McManus says:

        I wouldn’t get too excited. I doubt there’s a very long list of South African mercenaries running off to Israel.

      • Malcolm McManus says:

        Also less chance of meeting their make in Palestine as an Israeli soldier than getting murdered in South Africa.

      • John P says:

        The discussion is not about mercenaries but about SA citizens who are Jews that want to fight as part of the IDF. This is against South African law as it is if an SA Citizen was to fight for Ukraine or for Russia.

        • Ben Harper says:

          No it’s not, its about DUAL CITIZENS which is perfectly legal in SA, in fact many British South Africans went to the British Army and served in conflicts in the Middle East without repercussion

      • Ben Harper says:

        Hahahahaha

  • Mbulelo Journey says:

    Does the US have dissimilar laws when it comes to this type of action by their citizens? I would think the author would have covered this so we could judge if this action by the US lawmakers is fair or hypocritical.

  • Tima B says:

    🙄 Bullying much?? We did the right thing. This is David (Pale) vs Goliath (Isr) – we were banned from the world stage for our actions decades ago. Isr needs to be heavily sanctioned for theirs.

    • PJ T says:

      Note that
      a) Palestine has never been a country – it is a region, named by the Romans, that has had multiple conquerors.
      b) The last conqueror was Britain after WW1, and the Mandate for Palestine included Jordan.
      c) Israel is actually a tiny part of the Palestinian mandate, so not the situation described above.

      • Luke S says:

        I would love to hear what your point here is. That colonial occupation and oppression and murder is justified because… it’s been happening for ages?
        The legal definition of country is irrelevant. 750 000 Palestinian people, living there for much, much longer than 76 years, were forcibly displaced or killed in order to create Israel, within living memory… because ancient texts… The inevitable responses of those displaced people, their children and grandchildren is just that – inevitable. These are the current facts and the problems faced. Whatever your cherry-picked history soundbites are trying to imply has little or nothing to do with it.

        • Ben Harper says:

          Which colonials, the British, Romans, Ottomans, Canaanites, Egyptians, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians? Which occupation exactly do you refer to?

      • John P says:

        The logical extension of your argument is that Israel is just a province within the state of Palestine?

  • dexter m says:

    In an election year in the US , this will not be taken up by the house this year. Based on the funding received by all the signatories can understand why this is proposed. The majority of countries have the same Laws as SA , but they have always had an informal policy to make an exception to their citizens serving in the IDF . If SA does prosecute it will put pressure on western nations that have the same law as SA to either amend their legislation to make an exception for Israel or require all their citizens that serve or want to serve in the IDF to obtain and receive prior approval to enlist in the IDF.

  • Annette Jahnel says:

    The US has stated that they will not send their own troops, are virtually begging Israel to cease and desist, and yet these random USA politicians feel that they have the God(literally) given right to tell South Africa or any other country how to run their countries. Reality check for those who stand by the USA in this matter…not even card-carrying Americans stand by their government in this matter. Israel is the entitled brat in the room, it needs to be reined in, not supported. I am starting to wonder at the neutrality of the Daily Maverick in reporting global affairs. I agree the ANC is a total failure and needs to be voted out, but to constantly bow to the American take on reality is to blindly believe the madness that the Americans have created. Just look at the candidates the Americans have to choose from in this presidential election, and you truly think the Americans have got it all together? As for the idea that it is not our war, quite right, but the entire broader conflict is setting a dangerous precedent that some random ideology can set back the clock to a random point in time that best suits that ideology and use that to strip an entire nation of their right to life, let alone broader human rights. I would recommend caution; we have a similar situation in South Africa.

    • D Dog says:

      Well said!

    • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

      The “entitled brat” had 1200 of its citizens attacked and murdered on Oct 7, and is the “random ideology can set back the clock to a random point in time that best suits that ideology”? I am glad I don’t get to live inside the logic-centre of your mind.

      • Luke S says:

        So at which point do we go back to, to find the cause, and therefore the solution to this conflict? The horrendous attack on Oct 7 was horrible, but didn’t come out of a vacuum, we can’t just start there, and say that justifies killing 30 times as many people. So how far back do we go? How about we go back to whatever justification there is for the state of Israel to exist. 3000 years? Imagine everyone on earth went back to where their ancestors lived 3000 years ago, and claimed it as their right?

      • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

        The time is due to merge october7 with past and present actions of Israel, let’s talk Hamas, Israel and Palestine from an honest view and make a factual conclusion as to whether Israel earned a grain of a right to kill even 1 Palestinian.

        • Ben Harper says:

          Hahahaha – you want to be honest? Are you capable of that? If so lets go back and look at the 8,000 plus years of history in that region and not just the 70 odd since 1948 – oh and while considering that period please also consider the 30 odd years of military rule by Egypt and Jordan

  • Wayne Stepanik says:

    The ANC is morally bankrupt and done very little to transform itself from a terrorist organisation, at least ideologically. So of course it will side with fellow terrorists like HAMAS and those who inflict terror such as Putin.

    • District Six says:

      Actually, try this: from a US friend, speaking of Putin:
      “Media and lawmakers, including those in the Republican Party, have increasingly called out the degree to which Russian propaganda has infiltrated American politics through Republican lawmakers and media figures… Representative Michael R. Turner (R-OH), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, warned about Russian disinformation in their party. Turner told CNN’s [of] Republican members of Congress are parroting Russian propaganda. When asked which Republicans had fallen to Russian propaganda, McCaul answered that it is ‘obvious.’”

      “[Speaker:]Johnson has been coordinating closely with former president Trump, who has made his admiration for Russia and his disregard for Ukraine very clear since his people weakened their support for Ukraine in the 2016 Republican Party platform. Johnson is also under pressure from MAGA Republicans in the House, like Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who oppose funding Ukraine, some of them by making statements that echo Russian propaganda….”
      “… discussions of … Ukraine aid brought not only Greene but also Thomas Massie (R-KY) to threaten yesterday to challenge Johnson’s speakership, and there are too few Republicans in the House to defend him.”

      A house divided.

    • Freda Brodie says:

      I agree

    • JP K says:

      I leave it as an open challenge to define terrorism in a way that includes Hamas but excludes Israel.

    • Ben Harper says:

      That’s because it still is one, hence it’s unwavering support for other terrorists

  • Rae Earl says:

    Cyril Ramaphosa and Naledi Pandor bow and scrape to Vladimir Putin at every available opportunity. They do the same with Hamas and Iran. Russia does not feature in South Africa’s top 20 (TOP TWENTY!) trading partners. Even the tiny kingdom of Lesotho gives us more business than Russia. This slavish sucking up to Putin and Russia by the ANC is costing us dearly in terms of loss of friendship with our trading partners in the West. Voting the ANC out is imperative if SA is to undo the major damage Ramaphosa and Pandor are causing to our country.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    Pandor is a wicked individual, hates Israel and the Jew and biased in favour of Iran, Hamas, Russia etc……
    I may be wrong but the British armed forces are open to any Commonwealth Citizen, South Africans included….does she apply the same stance?

  • Ndabenhle Ngubane says:

    Most people think Israel/Palestine conflict started on October 7.

    • Deirdré Lubbe says:

      That’s the Netanyahu spin, most people believe this too. Most people don’t bother to inform themselves and reach their own conclusions based on fact. Sad.

  • Lesego Ntoahae says:

    Jared Moskowitz tweeted last year suggesting people in Gaza should be collectively punished for the actions of Hamas. The House of Rep’s once voted to reprimand Joe Wilson for should “You lie” during a speech by Obama. Jim Baird will likely lose reelection in Indiana. His campaign failed to raise significant money and support. María Elvira Salazar is a well known defender of Pinoche’s dictatorship.

    Over and above, the fact that you are selling us a story that a letter from 6 representatives, who are conservatives, out of a congress of 535 voting measures, indicates that the US pressure on SA had not eased demonstrates to me that you’re completely obtuse. Go eat rocks with your biased reporting and stop stoking panic by creating impressions that your relationship wit the US is deteriorating.

    How about you report about interest from US companies on the NY Stock Exchange that have indicated interest to invest billions in the SA economy.

    • Elethu Duna says:

      This story in not news worthy, but they know it will get clicks and solicit a response (reaction in the comment section) because it is written in a way that creates panic. In the same breadth they are asking us to save journalism. Is this the kind of journalism they are talking about? I’m exhausted of this tabloid style of news reporting.

  • Mason Free says:

    ANC South Africa will soon feel how it feels to be the skunk of the free world. More so, the untouchables in South African society who has become deaf in the South African cocoon where anyone that called them out, was ‘racist’. Entering the outside world, this tactic won’t be tolerated. The untouchables is going to have sleepless nights.

  • Gary De Sousa says:

    Its time for the USA to carry through with their words and to show their displeasure like many South africans of the road this anc is taking our country down.

  • Johan Buys says:

    The law against fighting in other countries applies to all military, not just Israel and btw it also applies to mercenary forces.

  • Rama Chandra says:

    Why are you reporting the views of far right US racist legislators? These people are pro-genocide, and do not have any morals at all. There has been a rise in anti-zionism and racism against Jews. The latter is inexcusable, but those who conflate the two, and especially those who use it as justification for genocide, are racist. We in South Africa should never support genocide or apartheid anywhere. All men and women are created equal, and noone gets to say they have special entitlements, whether or not this ultimately leads to mass killing. This includes Americans, Europeans, Jews, Hindus, Sunnis and logical-positivists.

  • Agf Agf says:

    Remember, we have joined the Axis of Evil. Our “friends” are Hamas, Iran, Russia, China, North Korea. What more do you expect from this ghastly mob

    • JP K says:

      The “axis of evil” term was coined by George W. Bush. The guy that invaded Afghanistan. That invaded Iraq with operation Enduring Freedom (the irony) on a pretext. I mean do you want a list of US wars and military operations?

      But here the point is that while Iraq is a problematic state, it’s not genocidal. How do you explain siding with a state and its chums that look to be committing genocide?

  • mcrubbin says:

    Pandor is a useless idiot. Her love affair with Iran and its disgusting proxies are going to cost SA dearly.
    Anyone who is under the misguided illusion that the Palestinians are blameless in this conflict is as stupid as she is.

    • Luke S says:

      Biden et al are useless idiots. Their love affair with Israel, and its other disgusting friends such as Saudi Arabia are going to cost the world dearly.
      Anyone who is under the misguided illusion that Israel is blameless in this conflict is as stupid as they are.

      • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

        Luke, be civil please. We know how much you hate it when people insult you, yet you have no compunction in calling people stupid and getting angry at them just because they hold different views. Behave yourself

        • Luke S says:

          I was making a point in reply to mcrubbin’s statement, by replacing some words. But you are right, although tongue-in-cheek, it shouldn’t be done.

      • Ben Harper says:

        Hahahaha, good laugh

    • Deirdré Lubbe says:

      This is not a nice thing to say about those who are better informed than you are. The informed are under no misguided illusion, they have just tried to read as much as possible and to understand the history of the conflict. Clever enough not to fall for propaganda and hurl insults to win arguments, but to instead rely on knowledge and coherent arguments.

  • Winston Bigsby says:

    Coons/Risch Bill? Someone having a laugh? -))

  • Rory Jones says:

    Are the US contributing or donating monies to the South African Government? Please confirm that the US is giving South Africa US$ 1 Billion per year. Thank you Regards

  • Penny Philip says:

    Six US legislators…..out of how many? You’d think the US had more pressing issues to deal with. Such a non-event…..I can’t imagine there are thousands of South Africans queuing up to fight in Israel.

  • Philip Machanick says:

    The US War Crimes Act (18 U.S.C. §2441) is applicable to US citizens serving in a foreign military.

    US law prohibits US citizens from signing up for a foreign military while in the US (Neutrality Act of 1794; 18 U.S.C. §959), not while out of the country – but another law (Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952; amended 1986 to restrict this to a country at war with the US, or attaining a commissioned or noncomissioned rank) permits stripping citizenship for doing so. Joining a foreign military that is at war with the US fits the definition of treason in that country.

    So South African law differs a bit from US law; should we attack the US for that?

    • Peter Oosthuizen says:

      It’s simple – cancel their SA Citizenship and let them live in Israel.

      • Skinyela Skinyela says:

        The sad part, if that were to happen, is that more families in the West Bank will be evicted from their properties to make way for those ‘ex-South African citizens’

        So, any country must deal with her citizens instead of unleashing(unwittingly) them to the unfortunate and vulnerable people elsewhere…

        We cannot adopt an attitude that says “well, let them be the problem of the West Bank Palestinians”

        • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

          Spoken like someone without a clue. If there were 20 people that this affected, maximum, it would be a lot. Have you got a clue about the population and demographics of the West Bank, much less – where it even is on a map?

          This whole issue is the reddest of all herrings

      • dexter m says:

        The problem is majority of foreign Jews that are recruited into the IDF return after service to their country of Origin .Additionally though actual numbers are hard to come by , a decades article in a Israeli newspaper had a comment by the the IDF that recruitment of foreign Jews to serve in the IDF should be made a priority with funding to bolster troop numbers.

      • Ben Harper says:

        Why?

  • Troy Marshall says:

    If a person can disregard or rationalise 57 years of Palestinian oppression, then that’s the sort of person who would have rationalised apartheid.
    It’s immoral to place “trade considerations” above human suffering.
    I’ll wager those US legislators threatening South Africa are those that value human rights, but only when it effects “their kind” – proud owners of MAGA caps.

    A bit of consistency from Naledi Pandor wouldn’t be remiss. Sudan and Ukraine?

  • Lenka Mojau says:

    Crazy hah, or they made statements after smoking that thing, let me explain myself. Here is a scenario; Assuming that I am Muslim (in fact I am a Judeo-Christian), I then join Hamas in support of Palestinian course. Now it happens during the course of the war that I succeed to infiltrate US Israel forces and I kill US diplomat or simply evade Israel US forces and I kill Benjamin Netanyahu and I am hailed as a hero. Now South Africa is supposed not to prosecute me because I have a right that overrides it’s laws of governing it’s citizens? Idiots, they must not call themselves politicians or law makers but Gang bosses. Even gangs works within prescribed rules even though being not legal.

  • Kanu Sukha says:

    Given tonight’s US (the only country to do so!) veto in the SC motion at the UN for Palestinian full membership, confirms firstly what Prof Chomsky called the USs ‘greatest terrorist state in the world’ standing … again. Secondly it also confirms Biden’s outright lies about a ‘two state’ solution as the only feasible one, in the early days … before the Israeli genocide commenced . Paying attention to these scoundrels who can’t even sort out their own affairs (like stolen elections and presidents being above the law!) would encourage American hubris … and give credibility to its fantasy of being the ‘leader’ of the world. Its psychopathic allies (the ‘west’ pretending to be the ‘international’ order) but which represents no more than 10% of the world population … despite its vast military capabilities, are mistaken about their dominion of the world. All ’empires’ come to an end sooner or later ! Just ask once ‘great’ Britain … now under the yoke of an unelected Indian prince … who aspires to be king !

  • Stanislav Zimela Nkosi kaMthembu says:

    Consistent self-entitled behaviour from any quarter of US lawmaking against nation they deem unworthy of existent is now certifiable as deranged. The world keeps changing, the awakening of nations is now even marked, and is time all for the better of the human race against an exploitative group of people, class, NATO countries that is hellbent on keeping us in the dark ages. The time for their outright defeat is now. We cannot be held to ransom anymore.

  • Lu Nqg says:

    They must’ve not pleased AIPAC enough, they’re now trying to put in overtime to earn their dime.

    Shame tog.

  • I said it! Nyaope drug is now international…………………..Nentanyahu van Nentanyahu kill them all Israel. Israel actions are simply giving us clues why Hitler snapped.

    • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

      It didn’t take long for someone like you to mention someone like him, did it? Before him there were others. We face them in every generation. On Monday night we Jews will celebrate Pesach (Passover) and at our seders we will again read the Haggadah in which we will once again, for the 3336th consecutive year, read out the “Vehi Sheamda” verse:
      “And it is this (the Torah) that has stood by our ancestors and for us. For not only one (enemy) has risen up against us to destroy us, but in every generation they rise up to destroy us. But the Holy One, Blessed be He, delivers us from their hands.”

      We have seen them (and you) before. We will survive (and thrive), despite your hatred of us.

  • Bob Dubery says:

    Carts are being put before horses here. This is 6 elected legislators taking a position. That is a long way from the US passing a law or Biden giving a warning to Ramaphosa.

  • enock Ndhlovu says:

    I believe SA will be better without America. tired.

  • South Africa, like many other countries has laws against their citizens serving in the militaries of other countries. If one does not want to be arrested, you do not break the law; simple.p What is the issue here? Special treatment for Israel?

    • Ben Harper says:

      Again it’s not about SA only citizens, it’s Dual Nationality citizens and it’s completely legal

      • Bob Dubery says:

        No it’s not legal, not in South Africa. The law is quite clear. If you have South African citizenship you may not fight in another national armed force without first obtaining clearance.

        If one has due Israeli/South African citizenship then fighting for the IDF may be legal in Israel but it is not in SA unless you obtained the necessary clearances first.

        The simplest solution in the case I describe above would be to revoke the South African citizenship of the combatants, which they may do provided the person whose citizenships is not left stateless.

        In a case where a combatant is a South African citizen but then gains Israeli nationality on application, the SA government is, under the law, entitled to revoke the South African citizenship. This is a more general and quite old law: If, after acquiring SA Citizenship by birth or any other route, you become a citizen of another country, without clearance from SA, you automatically forfeit your South African citizenship.

        • Ben Harper says:

          You err, this was fought right up to the Constitutional Court some years ago SA’s constitution allows for dual citizenship and the state cannot revoke your SA citizenship on that basis

  • virginia crawford says:

    I assume that these 6 US politicians also support South Africans, or anyone else, fighting for Russia, Hamas or Iran.

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