A host of prominent celebrities from the world of film and television have voiced their support for South Africa’s charge of genocide against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.
More than two dozen actors – including Susan Sarandon, ‘Sex & The City’ star Cynthia Nixon, Charles Dance, Carice van Houten and Lena Headey from the popular series ‘Game of Thrones’ – contributed to a series of videos in support of South Africa’s case against Israel at the ICJ.
The series, the first of which was published online on Friday, was created by the UK-based Palestine Festival of Literature. It supports “the creation of language and ideas for combating colonialism in the 21st century.”
The initial video shows the actors reading from South Africa’s 84-page allegation against Israel, which accuses the Jewish state of breaching the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in its aerial and ground bombardment of Gaza in response to Hamas’ cross-border attack on October 7.
At least 23,700 people have died as a result of Israeli military operation in the besieged enclave, Palestinian health officials have said. Israel says about 1,200 people were killed in the Hamas attack, while another 240 were seized as hostages.
“South Africa is highly cognisant that acts of genocide are distinct from other violations of international law sanctioned or perpetrated by the Israeli government and military in Gaza,” Irish actor Liam Cunningham, who also starred in ‘Game of Thrones,’ says in the video, quoting the South African text.
This includes “intentionally directing attacks at the civilian population, civilian objects and buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected,” Cunningham continues.
In its charge, South Africa argues that Israeli leaders “declared their genocidal intent” in several public statements since October 7 – including one from West Jerusalem’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, who said in October that Israel’s military offensive was necessary because it was facing threats from “human animals” in Gaza.
Israel has sternly denied claims of genocide in its defense at the ICJ on Friday. The state’s UN ambassador, Gilad Erdan, said in New York that the United Nations itself should be on trial in The Hague and that it has descended to a “new moral low” by considering South Africa’s claim. Israel’s defense came a day after South Africa presented its case to the ICJ on Thursday.
The legal proceedings could take years for a conclusion, but the ICJ could rule in the coming weeks on the possibility of imposing temporary measures, including a ceasefire. The ICJ’s decisions are legally binding. However, the court has few means to enforce its judgments.