House Bill Would Downgrade US-South Africa Ties Over Pretoria’s Genocide Suit Against Israel

by | Feb 11, 2024

House Bill Would Downgrade US-South Africa Ties Over Pretoria’s Genocide Suit Against Israel

by | Feb 11, 2024

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Biden meets with President Cyril Ramaphosa

A new bill proposed by two members of the House would require the White House to review and potentially downgrade the US relationship with South Africa. The legislation was proposed in response to Pretoria bringing Israel up on genocide charges at the International Court of Justice. South Africa bases its case on the indiscriminate Israeli killing in Gaza and the multiple calls for genocide made by leaders in Tel Aviv. 

Representative John James (R-MI) and Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) announced the US-South Africa Bilateral Relations Review Act last week. “South Africa has been building ties to countries and actors that undermine America’s national security and threaten our way of life through its military and political cooperation with China and Russia and its support of US-designated terrorist organization Hamas,” James said. “To ensure America’s energy security and national security, we must examine our alliances and disentangle from those who remain willing to work with our adversaries.”

The legislation highlights the charges of genocide brought against Israel at the ICJ. The court sided with South Africa in a preliminary ruling, finding it was plausible that Israeli forces were committing genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza, and the killing was fueled by statements from leaders in Tel Aviv. 

James and Moskowitz also took issue with South Africa labeling Israel an apartheid state. The apartheid designation for the systems Tel Aviv uses to oppress the Palestinians was backed by several international rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International

The legislators took aim at South African officials for “expressing concern” about escalating violence and calling for “restraint.” The American lawmakers did not address the calls for genocide made by Israeli leaders including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

The US has shipped Israel at least 25,000 tonnes of weapons that have been used to indiscriminately kill people in Gaza. At least 28,000 people are dead, including 12,000 children. 

The bill additionally attacks South Africa over its ties to Russia, China, and Iran. The legislation says, “It is in the national security interest of the US to deter strategic political and security cooperation and information sharing with [China] and Russia.” 

“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,” it adds. 

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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