With Genocide Case Against Israel, South Africa Challenges Western-led Order

After arguing its genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice, South Africa won praise among pro-Palestinian activists globally for standing up against Israel’s war in Gaza and what many saw as the interests of Western countries.

At home, where satisfaction with the government is low, many South Africans applauded their leaders for taking a stand. Gatherings were organized to watch the court hearing, Demonstrators waved Palestinian flags in the streets.

Some South Africans saw the case as an example of hypocrisy by the governing African National Congress party, which they said had failed to call out atrocities by other nations. But leaders of the A.N.C. — which led South Africa’s struggle against apartheid rule — have compared life under blockade in Gaza to apartheid, and say they are uniquely positioned to understand the Palestinian experience.

“I must say that I have never felt as proud as I felt today when our legal team was arguing our case in The Hague,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said at a political event after the hearing on Thursday. Israel on Friday strongly denied the genocide accusation at the court, and it has long rejected the comparison of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to apartheid.

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