More than 200 lawmakers condemn South Africa’s genocide case against Israel

The lawmakers rejected the International Court of Justice case as ‘grossly unfounded and defamatory… abusing the judicial process’

Selman Aksunger/Anadolu via Getty Images

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - JANUARY 11: Public hearings in South Africa's genocide case against Israel began on Thursday at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands on January 11, 2024.

A bipartisan group of 210 House lawmakers sent a letter on Tuesday condemning South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice as “grossly unfounded and defamatory.”

The letter, led by Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Kathy Manning (D-NC) and addressed to Secretary of State Tony Blinken, expresses the lawmakers’ “disgust at this filing, which perpetrates false and dangerous allegations against the Jewish state.”

The lawmakers accused South Africa of attempting to “demonize” and “delegitimize” Israel, and called on the State Department to continue to push back against the case, “offer Israel all appropriate support” and urge U.S. allies to join such efforts.

“While barely acknowledging the Hamas terrorists who gleefully massacred, mutilated, raped, and kidnapped innocent civilians on October 7, South Africa makes grossly unfounded and defamatory charges against Israel on the world stage, abusing the judicial process in order to delegitimize the democratic State of Israel,” the letter reads.

The signatories also called it “particularly cynical” to accuse Israel of genocide “for defending itself against Hamas terror… given that the term ‘genocide’ was coined following the murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust.”

Notable GOP signatories include several high-ranking Republicans, including Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN), Republican Caucus Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and the chairs of the House Foreign Relations, Appropriations, Armed Services, Intelligence, Financial Services and Education committees.

Democratic signatories mostly include moderate pro-Israel Democrats, although a handful of lawmakers supporting a cease-fire, including Reps. Josh Harder (D-CA), David Trone (D-MD), Ami Bera (D-CA), Dean Phillips (D-MN) and Robert Garcia (D-CA) signed on. Reps. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) and Adam Schiff (D-CA), who are both facing competitive Senate races, also joined the letter.

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