By Al Qalam Reporter
The SA BDS Coalition said it was appalled at news that the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) had lodged a “spurious and ridiculous” complaint with the Judicial Conduct Committee (JCC) against Judge Siraj Desai.
“It is yet another reflection of the hatred that Israeli apologists continue to display for anti-apartheid activists”, the SA BDS Coalition said in a statement.
The Federation accused Judge Desai – who has since been appointed the Legal Services Ombud – of actions and conduct “entirely unbecoming of a judicial officer”, saying that he had over many years “plainly breached” the Code of Judicial Conduct.
It charges that Judge Desai had been involved in political controversy, misused the “prestige of his Judicial Office to advance his personal political interests”.
But Judge Desai hit back. In an interview with News-24, Judge Desai said he was unapologetic in his stance in “condemnation of apartheid Israel and in defence of Palestinians that are persecuted by the unjust laws and war crimes conducted against them, crimes against humanity that apartheid Israel is prosecuting, for which they deserve a place in the dock in the ICC”.
He accused the federation of “employing hasbara tactics in its retaliatory and vindictive attacks on Judge Desai in an attempt to gain ground in the growing media war to curtail the growing media losses they are suffering in a narrative unfolding in relation to the persecution and liquidation of Palestinians”.
According to the SAZF’s official complaint, Judge Desai made “inappropriate comments” in an interview on an Iranian YouTube channel in which he likened Iranian political and religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini to President Nelson Mandela, describing both as “towering figures”.
In a counter argument, The SA BDS Coalition said: “We note that some of the documents provided to the media are stamped and notarised in apartheid Israel. This is another indication of what we already know: that the SAZF is simply a proxy of Israeli apartheid in South Africa, and cares more about defending Israel and propagating its falsehoods, its occupation and colonialism than it does about South Africa, its history and its struggles. “It is no surprise that the SAZF, notorious for its collaboration with apartheid South Africa in the past, would embark on a vengeful attack against Judge Desai, whose conduct as a judge is impeccable and praised by progressives and human rights activists. His distinguished life-long record in the dispensing of justice nationally, and in defence of human rights globally, but also as a long-standing activist that has for decades stood on the side of the poor, deserves to be honoured. This is diametrically