TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – South Africa’s top judge was ordered to apologize for and retract pro-Israel comments he made last year.

– World news –

The country’s Judicial Conduct Committee found Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng guilty of involving himself in political controversy by making the remarks during a webinar last June.

He has been given 10 days to offer an unconditional apology and retract the statements, following an inquiry launched on complaints by several rights groups, Anadolu Agency reported.

In the online seminar organized by Israeli publication The Jerusalem Post, the chief justice had criticized South Africa’s foreign policy and said he sides with Israel based on his religious beliefs.

“I cannot as a Christian do anything other than love and pray for Israel, because I know hatred for Israel by me and my nation can only attract unprecedented curses upon our nation,” he said.

Mogoeng asserted he would never apologize for his stance because he was “under obligation as a Christian to love Israel and to pray for peace in Jerusalem.”

“Even if 50 million people were to march every day for 10 years for me to do so, I would not apologize,” he said at the time, adding, “If I perish, I perish.”

South Africa, one of the few countries to host a Palestinian Embassy, has been an outspoken critic of Israel’s illegal occupation and atrocities against Palestinians.

In Thursday’s ruling, Judge Phineas Mojapelo of the Judicial Conduct Committee said Mogoeng must tender an apology within 10 days, retract his statements at a meeting of serving Justices of the Constitutional Court, and release a signed copy to the media.