TEASA statement on the CJ “bless Israel”utterance.

TEASA response to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s stance on Israel

30 June 2020

On Tuesday 23 June 2020, in a webinar with the Jerusalem Post, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng endorsed the State of Israel without any consideration of the Palestinian people, although he stated that he loves everyone, including them.

The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa (TEASA) hereby distances itself from the Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s (CJ) stance on Israel on the following grounds:

First and foremostly, as evangelical Christians we adhere and abide by a correct interpretation of the Bible in all matters, including the present State of Israel. We believe that the CJ has a flawed interpretation of scripture taking selected verses out of context that uphold the State of Israel, yet ignore those that uphold justice and oppose oppression of others.

Secondly, the CJ has chosen to ignore the ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people based on his flawed interpretation of the Bible. He has used a common misinterpretation of the verse “they will be blessed who bless you, and will be cursed who curse you” to withhold any criticism of Israel. As much as we agree with him that we should not hate the Jewish people or the nation of Israel, we cannot agree to uncritically accept Israeli policy, especially as it pertains to the Palestinian people. Whilst personal forgiveness is always the right thing to do as taught and practiced by Jesus, it does not mean the overlooking of the atrocities of the nation of Israel perpetrated against the Palestinian people. At this very moment the Israeli government is making plans to annex more Palestinian land for themselves, robbing hundreds of thousands of more Palestinians of the land that they’ve owned for generations.

Thirdly, to say that we should love Israel because Israel had never colonised and stolen African land, yet ignore the Israeli colonisation and annexation of Palestinian land is a gross travesty of justice towards the Palestinian people. It is a serious matter for any judge to be subjectively selective in the administering of justice, Biblically, nationally and internationally.  TEASA stands for the Biblical traits of justice and mercy. Although, the supreme act of justice and mercy is found in Jesus Christ, there has to be a practical outworking of justice and mercy in our daily lives, attitudes toward other people, and nations. Where justice has been conveniently discarded to suit a person’s own beliefs, then that wrong needs to be spoken against. The Bible commands us to speak out for those who can’t speak for themselves.

TEASA, therefore, is speaking on behalf of the Palestinian people to oppose all forms of injustices against them committed by the Israeli government, and to call those who impetuously uphold Israel to rethink their position considering the harm that is being done to the Palestinian people.