Activists in Johannesburg are concluding a week of programs highlighting the similarities between the Apartheid regime in South Africa and that of Israel.
During the event, stating March 5, a number of universities and cities across the country held documentary screenings, cultural exhibits and discussions on pertinent issues surrounding the Israeli oppression of Palestinians.
Analysts also highlighted the importance of the International Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel in changing the balance of power in occupied Palestine. They recalled how Apartheid in South Africa was overcome through widespread popular activism across the globe, noting the same could be achieved regarding Israel, despite the support of many governments for Tel Aviv.
“Western governments of the world quite frankly would dread kicking and screaming very late into Apartheid struggle and the Apartheid struggle by its citizens,” political analyst Steven Friedman said.
Friedman reminded how former US President Ronald Reagan was forced to sign a Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act “because the citizens’ movements in the United States had so effectively turned around United States politics that the Republican senators were telling him that it was in the interest of the Republican Party to sign.”
Friedman believes as the BDS campaign gathers momentum, governments today will also be forced to listen to the masses.
Marking the Israeli Apartheid Week in South Africa, universities across the country held special programs to raise awareness about Palestine.
This prompted Israel to dispatch delegations of students to South Africa to conduct public relations exercises for Tel Aviv. While the delegations claim they are in South Africa for dialogue butthey targeted the programs and defaced the graffiti of the pro-Palestinian activists.
“It is just the stealing techniques to continue with what they are doing; robbing Palestinians of their land, building walls, continuing with human rights abuses; their basic criminality and that’s what all the dialogue means,” said Fatima Gabru, a member of the Palestinian Solidarity Forum.
Meanwhile, analysts argue that irrespective of which side one looks at Israel from, it represents Apartheid from all angles.
The left-wing position in Israel is called 'the two-state solution', which means giving the Palestinians the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, while the right-wing position, called 'transfer', involves expelling Palestinians to Jordan and leaving it them to solve their problem, Freidman pointed out.
As the Israeli Apartheid week draws to a close on March 11, organizers express optimism that their message is being heard. They say Israel’s move to send larger delegations to South Africa to mend its image is further proof of the success of the anti-Israeli campaign in highlighting the plight of the Palestinian people.