South African Journal on Human Rights
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism is routinely invoked to silence legitimate criticism of the State of Israel. According to the definition, comparisons of Israel to apartheid South Africa are antisemitic. Authoritative and compelling research and reports, which conclude that Israel is an apartheid state, are thus regularly disregarded as antisemitic hate speech. This has severely restricted principled pro-Palestine activism and a just resolution of the conflict. But, in South Africa, for no longer. In the 2022 case of SAHRC v Masuku, the South African Constitutional Court, the country’s apex court, considered whether comments accusing Israel of discriminatory apartheid practices constitute antisemitic hate speech. The Constitutional Court held that it does not. This essay discusses the judgment and its implications on the constitutional validity and political relevance of the Alliance definition.