Game of Thrones star Lena Headey and leading actors back SA genocide charges on Israel with ICJ reading

Game of Thrones star Lena Headey and leading actors back SA genocide charges on Israel with ICJ reading
From Charles Dance to Susan Sarandon, several leading stars lent their voices to read the charges of genocide against Israel.
3 min read
15 January, 2024
Lena Headey was among stars backing South Africa in its case against Israel [Getty]

Game of Thrones star Lena Headey was among dozens of actors to back South Africa's charges of genocide against Israel, by reading out the charge submitted to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) last week.

Twenty-nine leading actors could be seen reading excerpts of the South African government’s formal complaint against Israel in several videos posted on Saturday.

South Africa took Israel to court in The Hague last over its brutal assault on Gaza - which has killed over 24,100 people - saying the campaign is tantamount to genocide.

The assault on Gaza has seen huge protests across the world, including Europe and the US, with celebrities also getting involved in pro-Palestine activism.

British actors Khalid Abdalla, Steve Coogan, Stephen Dillane, Paapa Essiedu, Tobias Menzies, Maxine Peake, Maisie Richardson Sellers and Harriet Walter all took part in the ICJ reading campaign.

Other British Game of Thrones starts, including Liam Cunningham and Charles Dance, also read key sections of the 84-page filing, which cited The New Arab and other pan-Arab media outlets.

Ten actors and artists from the US also took part in the recording, using their voices to back South Africa in its case against Israel. These include Kathleen Chalfant, Cynthia Nixon, Indya Moore, Tunde Adebimpe, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Susan Sarandon, Alia Shawkat, Wallace Shawn and Morgan Spector.

The other readers included Palestinian actor Adam Bakri, Scottish actor and filmmaker Peter Mullan, Nigerian-born British poet, playwright and performer Inua Ellams.

In support of South Africa’s historic ICJ case against Israel major actors have come together to read the case file.

Over the coming days we will present over 50 clauses of the comprehensive case South Africa lays out, charging Israel with genocide.

— Palestine Festival of Literature (@PalFest) January 12, 2024

Egyptian filmmaker and actress Aida El-Kashef, Ethiopian-American writer Maaza Mengiste, Iranian-American actress and singer Sepideh Moafi, Dutch actress and singer Carice van Houten and South African journalist, novelist and editor Zukiswa Wanner also took part.

In the first video, the artists read out the introduction and part one of the filing entitled 'Genocidal Acts Committed Against the Palestinian People'.

The second video features the evidence chapter "Causing Serious Bodily and Mental Harm to Palestinians in Gaza" and the third hears the "Mass Expulsions from Homes and Displacement".

The videos, which were viewed by some 13 million, were published by the Palestine Festival of Literature - a cultural initiative created in 2008 in cultural solidarity with Palestine.

The group previously published a video of Scottish actor Brian Cox who paid tribute to Palestinian poet and teacher Refaat Alareer after he was killed by an Israeli strike on Gaza.

Cox read out Alareer's final poem entitled "If I must die" in a video that was shared widely online.

South Africa laid out a list of genocidal acts by Israel on the first day of the hearing at The Hague on Thursday, while Israel defended itself on Friday.

Israel's relentless and indiscriminate war on Gaza has killed over 24,000 people - 70 percent of which were women and children.

At least 60,000 people have been injured amid reports of serious medical shortages such as anesthesia.