As US Backs Gaza Genocide, ‘Grassroots Diplomats’ Rally Support for South Africa Case

Conor here: This seems to be the best possible strategy: US activists aren’t wasting their time with US officials because, as this piece describes, “officially appointed U.S. diplomats continue to insist on supporting Israel’s ongoing genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.” There’s still time to remind Secretary of State Antony Blinken, for example, of his role:

But the main focus looks to be and effort to drum up support from nations more likely to back South Africa’s case against Israel in the International Court of Justice.

For those interested, here is a link to Code Pink petition that they will deliver in person to UN ambassadors. You can also contact countries directly, using this great resource via Sam Husseini.

By Melissa Garriga is the communications and media analysis manager for CODEPINK. She writes about the intersection of militarism and the human cost of war. Cross posted from Common Dreams.

Peace activists across the country have embarked on a campaign to mobilize global support for South Africa’s charge of genocide against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The campaign, spearheaded by CODEPINK, World Beyond War, and RootsAction, aims to rally nations to submit a “Declaration of Intervention” supporting South Africa’s case at the ICJ. The focus is on holding Israel accountable for alleged genocide in Gaza and putting an end to the tragic suffering of an imprisoned population. Delegations from major cities engaged with U.N. missions, embassies, and consulates worldwide, urging countries to invoke the Genocide Convention at the United Nations’ judicial arm.

The campaign started two weeks ago with an open call for people to join in a petition and letter-writing campaign urging countries to invoke the genocide convention and charge Israel with genocide in the International Court of Justice. Since then, over 30,000 people signed the petition, accompanied by an impressive 118,290 letters sent to various countries urging support of the cause.

The nationwide delegations of “grassroots diplomats” took on this campaign because officially appointed U.S. diplomats continue to insist on supporting Israel’s ongoing genocide of Palestinians in Gaza, rejecting the sentiments of a majority of people in the U.S. and around the world who want a ceasefire and an end to the slaughter.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby calls South Africa’s 84-page suit accusing Israel of genocide “meritless, counterproductive, and completely without any basis in fact whatsoever.” Notably, the United States supported Ukraine invoking the Genocide Convention last year in the International Court of Justice with far less evidence.

In the first week of January, delegations of grassroots diplomats embarked on a petition and letter delivery campaign across the United States, urging missions, consulates, and embassies to support South Africa’s legal action against Israel in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) under the U.N. Convention on Genocide. While the visits and deliveries varied from city to city, the overall reception by staff and representatives in each U.N. Mission, Embassy, and Consulate was encouraging and supportive, with some delegations able to meet directly with country representatives.

The NYC delegation visited around 30 U.N. missions, engaging in significant diplomatic efforts. They had a positive meeting with Colombia’s U.N. Ambassador, Arlene Tickner, exploring the potential for a Declaration of Intervention to support South Africa’s legal action. Another meeting took place with the Deputy Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the U.N. At the Bolivia Mission, the delegation received a warm reception, providing a letter and petition. A productive meeting occurred with the Bangladesh U.N. Consul, who expressed interest in connecting with legal experts. The NYC team met African Union diplomats who offered support and suggested additional efforts for South Africa. A meeting at the South Africa Mission involved discussions with the counselor and Deputy Permanent Representative. The delegation expressed their gratitude and support to the South African government. The South African representative acknowledged and appreciated the delegation’s work in their peace work.

The D.C. team engaged in diplomatic efforts, meeting with the Deputy Minister at the Colombian Embassy to encourage the Colombian government’s continued stance against Israeli actions and to join South Africa’s case. They visited and submitted their petition to the Ghanaian, Chilean, and Ethiopian Embassies, urging support for South Africa’s case against Israel. The team also had discussions with the Bolivian Embassy. Currently, they are arranging a meeting with the Turkish ambassador to further their diplomatic initiatives.

Three delegations from Miami divided their efforts to visit ten consulates, including those of Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Denmark, France, Honduras, Ireland, Spain, and Turkey. The delegations had the opportunity to meet with consular generals from Bolivia, Honduras, and Turkey, all notably welcoming and receptive. In addition, the Miami team reached out to the Turkish ambassador in Washington, D.C., further extending their diplomatic efforts. The Türkiye Consulate in Miami emphasized the visit on their social media platform, underscoring the significance of the engagement.

The Tampa team focused on a single visit to the Greek Consulate, accompanied by a representative from CAIR Florida, based in Tampa. CAIR is a nationwide federation of legally independent chapters dedicated to safeguarding the civil liberties of Americans. The Greek Consulate warmly received the delegation, expressing appreciation for a gift of olive oil. Furthermore, they assured the team they would forward the petition and letter to the Embassy of Greece in Washington, D.C., indicating a positive reception and willingness to address the delegation’s concerns.

Orlando engaged with five consulates representing Mexico, Italy, Brazil, Haiti, and Colombia. The meeting at the Haitian Consulate was mainly positive, with a productive discussion with an Assistant Consul urging support for South Africa’s case against Israel. Similarly, the delegation met with the Vice Consular of Colombia, delivered a petition, and urged their support for South Africa’s case against Israel, indicating a proactive approach in advancing their diplomatic efforts.

In Houston, the delegation reported successful engagements during their visits. They met with the Consulate of Belize staff and spoke with Consulate General Francisco Leal of Chile. The Honduran consulate staff extended kindness during their visit. The delegations also visited the Pakistan consulate as part of their diplomatic efforts.

The San Francisco delegation visited three consulates – Chile, Brazil, and Colombia. They engaged with the staff at the Chilean and Brazilian consulates, delivering the petition and letter at the Colombian Consulate, situated in the same building as the Israeli Consulate. Security at the building instructed the delegation to wait outside for a representative. However, the doors were subsequently locked, preventing entry. In response, the delegation affixed the petition and letter to the building’s door to convey their message.

The delegation in Los Angeles visited nine foreign consulates in the city, including Belize, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Turkey, Chile, Colombia, and Kuwait. The delegation expressed gratitude to the staff at the South African Consulate for South Africa’s filing in the ICJ that charges Israel with genocide. As a goodwill gesture, the activists brought flowers, a simple yet well-received token of peace and unity. They also had an encouraging meeting with Bolivian Consulate Gabriella Silva, who supported the delegation’s effort.

Delegations from Detroit, Chicago, Boston, and San Antonio also made visits to their local Consulates. Prior to deliveries, Turkey, Malaysia, and Slovakia publicly came out in support of South Africa’s filing. Since then, Jordan announced that they will file a “Declaration of Intervention” supporting South Africa’s case.

This grassroots diplomatic effort represents a unified plea for justice, demanding global solidarity against Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza. The tireless advocacy seeks to bridge nations in support of South Africa’s pursuit of justice in the International Court of Justice.

Deliveries will continue into the first of next week with the hopes of engaging with as many missions, consulates, and embassies as possible before the start of the ICJ hearing on Jan. 11.

The oral argument of South Africa will take place on Thursday 11th January 2024 and Israel’s oral argument on Friday 12th January 2024. The hearings will be streamed live and on demand on the ICJ’s Website and on the UN Web TV.

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  1. Victor Sciamarelli

    This raises a question: As Joe Biden is complicit in genocide, making him equally responsible, how can anyone morally justify voting for a war criminal, or any of his DP supporters, in 2024?
    Furthermore, the war in Gaza is far from over, the worst is still to come. Yet, Biden continues to facilitate Israel’s genocide, all the while being unable to explain how this benefits the US, which raises another question: should he be impeached and removed from office?
    The Republicans are not innocent but Biden and the Dems are making crucial decisions such that one could claim the DP is a criminal enterprise and should not exist.
    I don’t know of a better reason to consider third party presidential candidates and alternatives to both political parties.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      “Don’t Buy Books By Crooks” was a popular t-shirt when former President Nixon wrote “Real War.”

      “Don’t Vote For War Criminals” would also fit on a t-shirt.

    2. Acacia

      Agree, though for many the calculus will be:

      > genocide Joe

      > moar mean tweets from the orange man

    3. JonnyJames

      It won’t matter who the next Puppet Emperor is, the US is an oligarchy. You can “vote” all you want, there is no way to vote against the interests of AIPAC or the oligarchy.

  2. Rain

    I so admire the effort and energy and passion of these activists, it is inspirational .. I even read the entire document, so well-presented and such a clear-cut solid case..but the realist in me is not hopeful with such powerful political players.

    The 15 judges of the ICJ represent the 15 members of the UN Security Council, and the court has been abused in the past, by dodgy or false claims of genocide cases with little or flimsy evidence. (eg Russia, China). In Russia’s case I read all the submissions, the 33 countries which supported Ukraine were carbon-copies of each other’s statements with political rhubarb and crickets rhetoric double-speak and no factual evidence. A short statement that basically said it must be true coz Ukraine told us it was. Only one of the 15 judges gave a dissenting opinion based on “the lack of evidence” and the obvious “collusion” between the parties. The Russian submission in contrast, was a tome of hundreds of pages of impressive history argument.

    In the case of China with the muslim minority Uyghers, there is no evidence of wide-scale genocide, the south-western provinces bordering on Uzbekistan(? I get the Stans mixed up)
    have some nasty racist cops. The uyghers have free movement across the border with the neighbouring Stan countries, live and work in both countries through a mostly “open border”. Unlike India which borders that region too.

    Are there not areas, cities, regions in the US where the cops are regular criminal a$$holes towards blacks, hispanics etc? Does the President of the US get publicly harrassed on every international trip about his country’s’ “human rights” record because of the existence of these regions?

    Other judges on the ICJ may vote against on orders from their own governments, lest they find themselves next in line to be accused on the basis of their own recent histories (eg African countries) and with the USA Judge herding the “poodles”, it might be difficult to get a majority court decision.

    Then again, I may be just overly cynical – ‘bitter & twisted’ …and the obvious corruption of the ICC may not apply to the ICJ. And just having the document out there is still a major achievement no matter how it ultimately plays out after the US/Israel play their games.

  3. JonnyJames

    Israel policy, and US foreign policy in general, is one of the most clear examples of Bipartisan Consensus. Still, many still refuse to stop believing in the fairy-tale of US democracy. It looks like Medea Benjamin, Code Pink and many other organizations realize this, and are acting accordingly. We have called, written our “elected” officials and their response is “F-you!” If you are a D, you can vote R, or vice-versa, but the POLICIES are always unchanged.

    I would like to see nationwide protests on “election day”. Otherwise, the rest of the world will equate the US public as one of the most evil in history. How can “good Americans” sit by and watch the abuse of power, corruption, high crimes and genocide?

  4. Kouros

    My email to my Prime Minister:

    Honorable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,

    One of the monikers and calls shouted at US President Joseph Robinette Biden is that of “Genocide Joe” due his unwavering support of Israel not only political, but especially material: the bombs and missiles flattening Gaza and killing tens of thousands are US made.

    In the light of the proceedings initiated by South Africa against Israel, concerning the Genocide Convention – established, ironically after the Jewish Holocaust, Shoa during WWII – the US can be found in breach of the convention and a supporter of genocide, with personal implications for the political enablers.

    It is true that the White House has absolutely dismissed the South African initiative as having no merit, but less biased minds, including Jewish lawyers with expertise in Human Rights and International Law have declared the case watertight. An excellent summary of the position presented by South Africa has been provided by Professor John Mearsheimer from U of Chicago here:

    The international rules based order advocated by the US seems to dismiss the genocidal and ethnic cleansing statements and actions perpetrated by Israel in Gaza as anything of sorts, while declaring Russian president Putin as a war criminal for taking children to safety from war affected areas. Saving children is a war crime, while killing more than 8,000 children, and we all actually saw the dead babies in the incubators abandoned in the hospital due to Israel’s actions, it is not. This is well past an Orwellian Dystopia.

    All the while, Israel, frightened by this legal initiative of South Africa, is scrambling its diplomatic corps to pressure countries to dismiss this initiative. And Canada is keeping silent about its position:

    It is true that the statements of Geneviève Tremblay, spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada are not bad, implicitly condemning Israel’s actions:

    Canada strongly supports the role of the ICJ in the peaceful settlement of disputes,”


    We recognize Israel’s right to exist and right to defend itself. In defending itself, Israel must respect international humanitarian law. Civilians and civilian infrastructure must be protected. We are alarmed at the diminishing safe space for civilians in Gaza. The price of defeating Hamas cannot be the continuous suffering of all Palestinian civilians.

    Nevertheless, what Canada does in the closed rooms of ICJ might totally contradict the statements above and refuse to see the reality on the ground and refuse to acknowledge the statements of Israeli officials, from President and Prime Minister down to Israeli settlers interviewed on Israeli TV.

    The question, Prime Minister, is this, will you and Canada be joining president Biden’s stance or not? Will we hear cries of “Genocide Trudeau!” in the future, or not?

    With utmost respect,

    1. Synoia

      I lived in south Africa during the change to majority rule and end of apartheid. I belie the lack of Israeli style change was a combination of the Africans and Nelson Mandellls’s leasership of the ANC, and a lack of Hate.

      I believe the submission of the action current by South Atrica aboutI the Current Israli progam is a rebuke to Israel from a people who faced a similar lssues witout such bloodshed, hate and distruction.

      I have met Isralei supportes and I am discusted by their attitude wich mirrors the current attitude of the Israeli currebt Givernment, and the meny violent programs vesterd on peoples in Israel since 1948 and before.

  5. JonnyJames

    Well put Kouros. After saluting Nazis in Parliament, and supporting genocide, he seems to just dig himself a deeper hole. Does he really believe in these actions, or is he just a faithful pawn and boot-licker of the imperial overlords?

  6. Yann van Heurck

    Keep in mind that not voting for Biden means voting for Trump and he has been even more damaging by shifting the US embassy to Jerusalem, allowing full annexation of Syrian territory by Israel, and engineering the so-called Abraham Accords which are causing great damage to every country in the region, not just Palestinians but to Armenia, Yemen, Western Sahara etc. On the Palestine issue, there is no decent US policy that you can vote for, but you can vote for Dems and try to push them in the right direction to join members of The Squad, Bernie and others. — Yann

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