Game of Thrones stars among 29 in reading of South Africa's genocide case against Israel

Celebrities read out key sections from the 84-page dossier presented at the International Court of Justice

From left, Susan Sarandon, Cynthia Nixon, Liam Cunningham, Khalid Abdulla and Paapa Essiedu have featured in a video reading out South Africa's genocide case against Israel. Getty Images and AFP
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Clips of major stars reading out South Africa's historic case against Israel at the International Court of Justice have gone viral on social media.

In the series of videos published by the UK-headquartered Palestine Festival of Literature, prominent actors including Susan Sarandon, Cynthia Nixon and Game of Thrones stars Liam Cunningham, Charles Dance and Lena Headey, read out key sections of South Africa’s 84-page dossier.

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South Africa is accusing Israel of committing genocide with indiscriminate attacks that make life in Gaza impossible and is appealing for an emergency order telling Israel to cease fire.

Other stars featured in the series include The Crown actors Khalid Abdalla and Tobias Menzies, I May Destroy You star Paapa Essiedu, Arrested Development's Alia Shawkat, comedian Steve Coogan and Palestinian actor Adam Bakri, known for his role in Oscar-nominated film Omar.

Individually shared on social media, many of the clips have been viewed millions of times.

Academy Award-winner Sarandon is one of the most high-profile Hollywood stars who've consistently spoken out about the plight of Palestinians.

She was dropped by her agency UTA after comments she made at a pro-Palestine rally in New York in November.

In December, another video by the Palestinian Festival of Literature, featuring Succession star Brain Cox, was also widely shared.

In the video, Cox performed a reading of Palestinian poet Refaat Alareer's If I Must Die. Alareer died in an Israeli strike on Gaza on December 7.

At the ICJ on Thursday, South Africa pleaded with judges saying Israel's violent campaign against Palestinians has gone far beyond an anti-Hamas manhunt.

The court was told to step in urgently to prevent the humanitarian cost from escalating daily. South Africa alluded to its own history, calling it an extension of 75 years of apartheid against Palestinians.

"No armed attacks on a state's territory – no matter how serious, even an attack involving atrocity crimes – can provide a justification for or defence" for acts of genocide, said Justice Minister Ronald Lamola. "Israel's response to the October 7, 2023 attack has crossed this line."

Israel has rejected the allegations and has vowed to continue its offensive.

Taking the stand on Friday, their lawyers argued that a court order to stop the bombardment of Gaza would strip Israel of the right to defend itself.

Judges at the ICJ – the UN's highest court – are expected to decide within weeks whether to grant the emergency ruling sought by South Africa to protect Palestinians from harm.

While the 17 judges hearing the case have no power to enforce any ruling, their decision could pile international pressure on Israel to change course.

More than 23,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel's military campaign began in Gaza in October.

Updated: January 15, 2024, 9:39 AM