South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, has condemned the country’s Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng over his expression of support for Israel during a webinar last week with Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein, moderated by The Jerusalem Post’s Editor-in-Chief Yaakov Katz.In the webinar, titled “Two Chiefs, One Mission: Confronting Apartheid of the Heart,” Mogoeng – a highly respected jurist and a devout Christian – articulated his views against hatred, discrimination and what he termed “fake superiority,” and in favor of “love, unity, peace and forgiveness.” He was refreshingly honest about his love for Israel and the Palestinians. “Hatred is toxic,” he said. “Some possibly expect of me to be very hateful of Israel and the Jews. I’m not. I love the Jews. I love Israel. I love Palestine. I love the Palestinians. I love everybody. One, because it’s a commandment from the God in whom I believe, but also because when you love, when you pursue peace with all human beings, you allow yourself the opportunity to be a pivotal role-player whenever there is a dispute.”Mogoeng regretted his country’s slanted stand on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying it would have a greater influence if it took a more balanced approach.“We are denying ourselves a wonderful opportunity of being a game-changer in the Israeli-Palestinian situation,” he said.Mogoeng argued that it is his right as a citizen to criticize South Africa’s policies and recommend changes.“The forgiveness that was demonstrated, the understanding and big heart displayed by president Nelson Mandela... is an asset we must use around the world to bring peace when there is no peace and to mediate effectively based on rich experience,” he said.In response, the ANC lashed out at the chief justice’s remarks, calling them “rather unfortunate.”“The ANC joins fellow South Africans in expressing concern over sentiments attributed to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng expressing his apparent support for apartheid Israel,” it said in a statement. “The esteemed chief justice entered the arena of political commentary which may make him vulnerable should he have to adjudicate a human rights matter in the future.”It went on to voice its “unequivocal support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination,” called Israel’s annexation plans “nothing more than a land grab,” and urged the parliamentary speaker “to have high-level talks with the chief justice regarding his political commentary.”The South African BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Coalition and #Africa4Palestine submitted a complaint with South Africa’s Judicial Service Commission against the chief justice, calling for his censure over “comments that are in contradiction with South African foreign policy and the spirit of our Constitution.”Regrettably, South Africa’s ANC government has in recent years become increasingly hostile to Israel, downgrading diplomatic relations following violence on the Israeli-Gaza border and recalling its ambassador from Tel Aviv in 2018.South African Friends of Israel (SAFI), which strongly backs the ties between South African Christians and Israel, issued a welcome statement, saying, “We are united in our support of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and applaud his convictions to speak out as a Christian believer. Hands off the Chief Justice. Hands off the Constitution. The ANC must leave Christian believers alone.”In a country in which some 80% of the 45 million population are estimated to be Christian, it would behoove the South African government to pay attention to the wise words of Chief Rabbi Goldstein during the webinar.“At the end of the day, if we are going to overcome racism, what we need to do is reach out to one another and see the similarities and to realize that we are all human beings created in God’s image,” Goldstein said. “What I really feel with the chief justice is a kindred of spirit and a kindred of values that we share. With shared values, there is so much that can be overcome because with shared values one can create a vision together.”We urge South Africa to back the moderate statements made by Justice Mogoeng, restore diplomatic relations with Israel and engage in a positive dialogue with both Israel and the Palestinians.Hatred will not work as the chief justice pointed out. Pretoria would do well to listen.