Daily Israel Report

South Africa Endorses Israel Apartheid Week

"Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed," claims South Africa's ruling African National Congress.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 3/3/2014, 5:44 AM

Anti-Israel boycott campaigners
Anti-Israel boycott campaigners
Reuters

South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) has officially endorsed the annual Israel Apartheid Week, which is held annually on campuses and is used to delegitimize Israel.

According to the Turkish Anadolu news agency, the decision was made on Sunday. In a statement to the agency, ANC said it was “unequivocal in its support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination, and unapologetic in its view that the Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed in the conflict with Israel.”

The ANC, which championed the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, said participating in this year's Apartheid Week was part of its commitment to the international anti-apartheid movement.

"Today we humbly continue the internationalism of our movement in lending our solidarity to the people of Cuba, Western Sahara, Swaziland, Palestine and other struggling people," said the statement, according to Anadolu.

Mthunzi Mbuli, deputy convener of the IAW in South Africa, welcomed the ruling party's endorsement.

"The oldest liberation movement on the African continent has endorsed this campaign. [This] is an indication of IAW's importance," he said in a statement.

Kwara Kekana, the national spokesperson of Israel Apartheid Week in South Africa, said more than 75 South African organizations have backed the campaign, which will take place in South Africa on March 10-16.

Since launching in Canada ten years ago, the phenomenon of Israel Apartheid Week has taken hold in campuses across several different countries, including the United States and Britain. Based on the spurious, yet maliciously effective, accusation that Israel is in some way akin to apartheid South Africa, anti-Zionist groups have found the perfect way to monopolize the discourse and shut out any debate on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Anti-Israel sentiments have been prevalent in South Africa long after the presidency of Nelson Mandela, who once said that “if the Palestinians are not free, no one is free”, a statement which anti-Israel groups have taken advantage of to accuse Israel of applying a policy of “apartheid” towards Arabs.

Last year, the former South African ambassador to Israel rejected a symbolic gift from the Israeli government, planting trees in his honor in a national park named after South Africa.

He explained that Israeli policies which, he claims, discriminate against PA Arabs appeared to be reminiscent of his experiences under South Africa's apartheid system.

South Africa has also imposed new rules requiring that goods imported from Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem display special labels.

The new rules stipulate that goods will no longer carry "Made in Israel" labels but instead will have to be specific about the exact origin of the goods.

South Africa's Foreign Minister several months ago slammed Israel's plans to build new homes in Jerusalem, saying she was “losing sleep” over the size of “Palestine”.

ANC’s decision to endorse Israel Apartheid Week should come as no surprise, considering that in 2012 it resolved to support the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.