There’s a move in the US House of Representatives to potentially downgrade the United States’ formal relations with South Africa over its case before the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ, or World Court) accusing Israel of “genocide” against Palestinians.
Representatives John James (R) and Jared Moskowitz (D) introduced the US-South Africa Bilateral Relations Review Act early last week. It calls for a “full review” of relations, charging South Africa with “anti-Semitic and anti-Israel-related statements and actions.”
Moskowitz sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the bill is likely to garner bipartisan support, and has already unleashed plenty of controversy.
The bill requires an assessment of whether “South Africa has engaged in activities that undermine United States national security or foreign policy interests” and orders a presidential review of the relationship.
Interestingly the bill calls out South Africa’s questionable ties and dealings with Russia, China, and Iran as well – saying “It is in the national security interest of the US to deter strategic political and security cooperation and information sharing with [China] and Russia.”
It adds in reference to the ruling African National Congress: “The ANC’s foreign policy actions have long ceased to reflect its stated stance of nonalignment, and now directly favor [China], Russia, and Hamas, a known proxy of Iran, and thereby undermine United States national security and foreign policy interests.”
The bill additionally highlights members of the South African government “siding with malign actors, including Hamas.”
The Cyril Ramaphosa government has dismissed the efforts of the US lawmakers, calling it “most unfortunate”.
“It would be most unfortunate for South Africa-US relations if this bill ever sees the light of day,” an official with President Ramaphosa told Bloomberg on Monday. “A lot of the issues raised by the members of Congress are issues that have either been dealt with through our own judicial processes or clarified in public communication.”
So far the ICJ has given the genocide case merit, ruling that Israel must take steps to prevent attacks on Palestinian civilians.
Currently and amid the war and Gaza and ongoing attempts to rescue remaining hostages held by Hamas, Israel is waging a PR campaign to push back against international efforts to boycott, sanction and isolate the Jewish state, which are intensifying.
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