Israeli Lawmaker Signs Petition Supporting South Africa’s Genocide Case Against Israel

JERUSALEM, Israel – Ofer Cassif, an Israeli parliamentarian from the left-wing Hadash-Ta’al party, has sparked controversy by publicly supporting South Africa’s case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. Cassif, known for his outspoken and anti-Zionist stance, took to social media to declare his backing for South Africa’s legal bid. In his statement, Cassif criticized the Israeli government, accusing its members and coalition of advocating for ethnic cleansing and genocide. The ICJ is set to hear South Africa’s case on Thursday and Friday this week.

Cassif’s unorthodox views have drawn attention in the past. He has a doctorate in political philosophy and was an academic at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem before entering parliament. Cassif’s opposition to the Israeli state and his refusal to serve as a soldier in the occupied territories in the late 1980s led to accusations of treason and attempts to bar him from running in the 2019 elections. However, the Supreme Court overturned the decision, and Cassif was elected to the Knesset that year.

Cassif’s vision for Palestine involves a two-state solution, with an independent Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank. He strongly opposes Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories and has actively protested against them. Cassif’s stance has not been well received by the majority of Israelis, with only around 400 people signing the petition in support of South Africa’s lawsuit against Israel.

Despite facing criticism and suspension from the Knesset for his views, Cassif remains steadfast in his beliefs and has described himself as more of an activist than a parliamentarian. While he has lost friends in the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, Cassif maintains that he can show sympathy for innocent people on both sides without contradiction.

While Cassif has received praise from global supporters of Palestinian rights, opinions among pro-Palestinian Israelis are more nuanced. Some respect and support him for his stance against genocide, although there may be political differences. Others criticize him for being too “soft” on Russian President Vladimir Putin and for his reluctance to consider alternative solutions beyond the two-state paradigm.

Overall, Cassif’s support for South Africa’s case against Israel has polarized opinions in Israel and abroad. His unapologetic and controversial views continue to make him a subject of debate and dissent within Israeli society.