The ANC has responded in the affirmative to calls for support for boycott against apartheid Israel.
“ANC International Solidarity Conference in Tshwane City Hall, Pretoria, takes a decision to support the 2005 call by Palestinians’ largest political gathering in Ramallah to impose Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions on Israel. ANC chair Baleka Mbete goes on to mention that Israel is worse than Apartheid. This was in response to German comrades opposing the motion to include BDS in conference declaration. This is the strongest statement yet, in support of BDS coming from an ANC related Conference. Inshallah, the rest of the world gathered here will follow. Viva BDS, Viva!”
This ANC affirmation is inspiring and significant particularly combined with the strength of past achievements by conscientious people all over the world in solidarity maintaining commitment to justice and rights – in the past against apartheid in South Africa, and now for Palestinian people and dismantlement of Israel’s apartheid tyranny.
The call to the ANC from international anti-apartheidists
CALL BY FORMER INTERNATIONAL ANTI-APARTHEID ACTIVISTS TO THE ANC
Dear South African Comrades,
We — former international anti-apartheid activists — supported the African National Congress (ANC) and the people of South Africa in their fight for liberation and against apartheid by mobilizing support for boycott, divestment and sanctions against the South African apartheid regime.
We succeeded to put the crime of apartheid on the agenda of political parties, trade unions, churches, non-governmental organizations, artists, sports bodies, universities and concerned citizens. We called on people not to buy apartheid products and we discouraged tourism to the country. We campaigned for a weapons embargo, an oil embargo, a Krugerrand boycott, a sports, academic and cultural boycott. We pressurized companies and banks to withdraw from apartheid South Africa. We mobilized thousands of people to participate in demonstrations against apartheid.
On the occasion of the 3rd ANC International Solidarity Conference, we call on the ANC to support the Palestinian people in their fight for freedom, justice and equality. We are deeply concerned about Israel’s ongoing violations of the rights of the Palestinian people with total impunity.
In 2005, Palestinian civil society released a call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel to pressurize the Israeli government to change. The call – anchored in universal human rights – de?ned three basic Palestinian rights that constitute the minimal requirements of a just peace, namely, that Israel should:
– End its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantle its Apartheid Wall;
– Recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and,
– Respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
We call on the ANC to support the Palestinian call for BDS as expression of the party’s solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people to enjoy their rights, including the right to self-determination.
At the University of Witwatersrand last Wednesday, the call to boycott apartheid Israel was made again, with a statement from the ANC in support presented.
International boycotts and disinvestment, which were used as effective tools to fight apartheid should also be used to further the cause of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.
This call was made at a tribute to the longest serving president of the ANC, Oliver Tambo, at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) on Wednesday night.
The event organised by the Wits SRC also saw the screening of a special tribute “Have You Heard from Johannesburg”, highlighting OR’s campaign to isolate apartheid South Africa at a time when the ANC was viewed by the west as an agent of communist Russia or at worst a terrorist organisation.
Speakers said there were strong parallels between the two struggles against injustice and oppression.
They also pointed to the tactics used by Tambo to mobilise the international community against South Africa, and argued that the same strategies were needed to help the people of Palestine.
The Wits SRC reiterated its call for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel despite Wits management distancing itself from the move.
This comes at a time when there is a strong movement in favour of boycotting Israeli products in South Africa.
SRC representative Tokelo Nhlapo said that the similarities between apartheid South Africa and Israel’s occupation of Palestine were too great to ignore. The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Ebrahim Ebrahim’s statement for the event read: “Today, there is a similar international civil society solidarity campaign in support of the Palestinians against Israeli policies and practices of occupation and aggression.
“The ANC fully supports this international movement to pressure Israel to engage with the Palestinian people to reach a just solution.”
University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Prof Farid Essack, one of the guest speakers, said that Israel was an apartheid state and should be stopped.
“This is what is expected from the family of humankind. Not because we owe it to the Palestinian people but we owe it to ourselves,” he said.
International anti-apartheid movement organiser from the Netherlands Adri Neiwhof said that Tambo was “humble and a motivator”.
A boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigner against Israel, Neiwhof spoke of the success of a Dutch boycott campaign in helping to end apartheid.
Over 150 former international anti-Apartheid activists tell South Africa’s ANC to boycott Israel
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