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South African groups launch ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ at Jo’burg memorial to apartheid

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Apartheid Museum  Johannesburg, South Africa

The 9th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week 2013 campaign launched in South Africa today with a press conference at the symbolic Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. Many South African leaders are participating (including leaders of the African National Congress, the South African Trade Unions, and the South African Council of Churches). The Coalition for a Free Palestine and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, National Spokesperson for Israeli Apartheid Week South Africa Team (IAW South Africa Team) sent out this invitation:

Israel Apartheid Week 2013 poster

At Sunday’s “Israeli Apartheid Week” (IAW) launch press conference, messages of support will be delivered by organizational representatives (who all form members of the “IAW South Africa Team”, the national body coordinating “Israeli Apartheid Week” in South Africa). Furthermore, the national programme of IAW events, actions and activities for next week’s “Israeli Apartheid Week” (IAW) campaign will officially be released and made public. Finally, the press conference will also announce five key South African “Israeli Apartheid Week” (IAW) events which include the hosting of Dr Blade Nzimande (General Secretary, South African Communist Party) in Orange Farm, Baleka Mbete (National Chairperson, ANC) in Johannesburg, Ronald Lamola (President, ANC Youth League) in Tshwane, Ahmed Kathrada (Former Rivonia Trialist) in Port Elizabeth and the visiting Palestinian writer, Susan Abulhawa (author of the acclaimed novel “Mornings in Jenin”) at the University of Johannesburg and the University of Pretoria.

Launch of “Israeli Apartheid Week” Press Conference
Day: Sunday, 10 March 2013
Time: 11:00
Venue: Apartheid Museum (Corner Northern Parkway and Gold Reef Road, Ormonde, Johannesburg)

Press Conference Speakers Include
– Ronald Lamola
(President of the African National Congress Youth League)
– Buti Manamela
(National Secretary of the Young Communist League)
– Ngoako Selamolela
(President of the South African Students Congress)
– Themba Masondo
(Secretary General of South African Students Congress)
– Tebogo Thothela
(Deputy President of the South African Union of Students)
– Tasneem Essop
(Wits University Student Representative Council)
– Solly Afrika Mapaila
(Deputy General Secretary of the South African Communist Party)
– Steve Faulkner
(International Secretary of the South African Municipal Workers Union)
– Alan Horwitz
(National Chairperson of StoptheJNF)
– Reverend Mautji Pataki
(General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches)
– Reverend Mxolisi Sonti
(General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches Youth Forum)
– Braam Haanekom
(Director of People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty)
– Dr Stiaan Van Der Merwe
(Spokesperson for Kairos Southern Africa)
– Zwelinzima Vavi (TBC)
(General Secretary of COSATU)
– S’dumo Dlamini (TBC)
(President of COSATU)

Next week between the 11th and 17 of March, South Africa will host the 9th international Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) campaign that takes places annually during February and March around the globe in over 250 cities. Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an annual international series of events (including rallies, lectures, cultural performances, music shows, films and workshops) that seek to raise awareness of Israel’s apartheid policies toward the indigenous Palestinians and garner support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign which is aimed to bring an end to Israel’s apartheid policies and violations of international law.

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Graphic: Coalition For a Free Palestine (South Africa)


African National Congress Youth League (ANC YL), Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel in South Africa (BDS South Africa), Caring Women’s Forum (CWF), Centre for Civil Society (CCS), Chemical Energy Paper Printing Wood and Allied Workers Union (CEPPWAWU), Coalition for a Free Palestine (CFP), Communication Workers Union (CWU), Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), Friends of Cuba (Western Cape), Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA), Kairos Southern Africa, Media Review Network (MRN), Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), Muslim Womens Forum (MWF), National Education, Health and Allied Worker Union (NEgayHAWU), National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (NUMSA), Open Shuhada Street (OSS), Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA), Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), PalS, People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP), South African Artists Against Apartheid (SA AAA), South African Communist Party (SACP), South African Council of Churches (SACC), South African Council of Churches Youth Forum, South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU), South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU), South African Students Congress (SASCO), South African Union of Students (SAUS), StopTheJnf, Union of Muslim Students Association (MSA), University of Pretoria Student Representative Council (UP SRC), Wits University Student Representative Council (Wits SRC), Wits University Writing Centre, Young Communist League of South Africa (YCL), Zaytoun South Africa

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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15 Responses

  1. just
    March 10, 2013, 11:24 am


    (I teared right up, and have goosebumps).

    A Change is Gonna Come

    I was born by the river in a little tent
    Oh and just like the river I’ve been running ever since
    It’s been a long, a long time coming
    But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

    It’s been too hard living but I’m afraid to die
    Cause I don’t know what’s out there beyond the sky
    It’s been a long, a long time coming
    But I know a change gonna come

    Well, I go to the movies and I go downtown
    Well, some people don’t want me to hang around
    It’s been a long, a long time coming
    But I know a change gonna come

    And then I go to see my brother
    And I ask him to help me please
    And he winds up knockin’ me
    Back down on my knees

    There been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long
    But now I think I’m able to carry on
    It’s been a long, a long time coming
    But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

    It’s been a long, a long time coming
    But I know a change gonna come, change gon’ come, change gon’ come

    RIP Sam.

  2. Citizen
    March 10, 2013, 12:12 pm

    Gee, will I hear about this in the mainstream American press? Of course not. Neither will I hear about the USA’s continued fall down the list of countries wrt those with the highest scores on upward mobility. It’s always fun to watch one’s country fall apart, or rather get manipulated to downfall, for the benefit of the 1%, and, hey wouldn’t a war on Iran to benefit Israel perk up the America’s economy?

  3. hophmi
    March 10, 2013, 3:11 pm

    Has Nelson Mandela endorsed BDS? If he hasn’t, it’s wrong to use his image.

    • just
      March 10, 2013, 5:04 pm

      It’s never wrong to use Nelson Mandela’s image wrt to apartheid.

      Sorry hophmi– as one of the victims of SA apartheid, and as one of the founders of the ANC and past President of same as well as President of SA, I am quite sure that he can speak for himself.

      He has spoken out loud and long and vociferously against Israeli apartheid.

      Your judgement of this “use” of Nelson Mandela’s image is misplaced and rather strange, imho. It’s time for folks who deny Israeli apartheid to look long and hard into each others eyes, in the mirror, and into the eyes of the oppressed and occupied.

    • March 10, 2013, 5:09 pm

      Hoppme is applying for the job of resident clown. Not good enough, though.

    • joecatron
      March 10, 2013, 5:45 pm

      On an image that includes a quote from him, but no mention of BDS? I’m afraid to ask for your logic.

      In any event, I’m pretty sure Mandela supports the position of the party his legacy still largely defines.

    • justicewillprevail
      March 10, 2013, 6:39 pm

      Haha, hophmi is now the self-appointed arbitrator of Mandela’s rights. Sooo caring of you. No doubt he will be so relieved. Why did you bring up BDS as it is not mentioned anywhere on the poster, and what are you claiming Mandela would not like? I can’t see anything he would have cause to complain on. Just maybe you can’t stand the symbolism of one renowned freedom fighter stating the truth.

    • Hostage
      March 11, 2013, 8:02 am

      Has Nelson Mandela endorsed BDS? If he hasn’t, it’s wrong to use his image.

      The image doesn’t mention BDS, it mentions Mandela’s condemnation of Israeli Apartheid and the Occupation. That’s certainly been well documented by some of your own brethren in the Hasbara Fellowship. For example:

      Mandela embellished his embraces of Arafat with the bitterest taunts he could muster for Zionism and the State of Israel. On 27 February 1990, in Lusaka, Zambia, he said that Arafat is fighting against a unique form of colonialism, and we wish him success in his struggle” (New York Times, 28 February 1990). Asked on the following day whether such remarks might perhaps alienate South African Jews, Mandela replied with a contemptuous sneer: “ If the truth hurts it is too bad” (New lork Times, 1 March 1990). (This is a variant of Archbishop Tutu’s charming reply to Jews who expressed dismay over his antisemitic remarks: “ Tough luck.” ) He did allow one emendation of his original vilification of Zionism as a unique form of colonialism by saying that the Palestinian “struggle” against Israel was just like that of black South Africans against Pretoria. “We are,” Mandela said of the PLO, “in the same trench struggling against the same enemy: the twin Tel Aviv and Pretoria regimes, apartheid, racism, colonialism, and neo-colonialism” (New lork Post, 20 June 1990).
      Barring the resurrection of Hitler, it is difficult to think of a figure more likely than Arafat to arouse the loathing of ordinary Jews. If the Jews were a normal, a self-respecting people, Mandela’s defiant embrace of this Jew-killer would therefore seem to have been an unlikely way to ingratiate himself with them.

      See Edward Alexander, The Jewish Wars: Reflections by One of the Belligerents, SIU Press, 1996, page 76

      • hophmi
        March 11, 2013, 10:31 am

        LOL. Yes. Mandela and the PLO were third world allies way back when. Amazingly enough, Mandela has not taken the maximalist view.

        But it is simply not accurate to claim that Mandela supports the goals of the “Free Palestine” movement, which mostly favors BDS and a one-state solution.

        Mandela visited Israel in 1999 and called on Arab states to recognize Israel within secure borders and for an Israeli withdrawal to the Green Line (ie, a two-state solution).

  4. mcohen
    March 10, 2013, 9:08 pm


    here is a few facts on south africa that you might have missed-seriously -south africa is not a good choice to use for the bds campaign

    Main article: Sexual violence in South Africa

    South Africa no longer has the highest rapes per capita, but rape and sexual violence is still a problem.[15] The incidence of rape has led to the country being referred to as the “rape capital of the world”.[16] One in three of the 4,000 women questioned by the Community of Information, Empowerment and Transparency said they had been raped in the past year.[17] More than 25 per cent of South African men questioned in a survey published by the Medical Research Council (MRC) in June 2009 admitted to rape; of those, nearly half said they had raped more than one person.[18][19] Three out of four of those who had admitted rape indicated that they had attacked for the first time during their teens.[18] South Africa has amongst the highest incidences of child and baby rape in the world.[20] [21]

    In March 2010, at a rally on a university campus, the former president of the African National Congress Youth League Julius Malema sang the lyrics “shoot the boer” (Dubul’ ibhunu[20] – “Boer” is the Afrikaans word for “farmer”, but is also used as a derogatory term for Afrikaners).[21][22] His singing was compared to similar chants by deceased Youth League leader Peter Mokaba in the early 1990s, “kill the boer”,.[23] which had previously been defined as hate speech by the South African Human Rights Commission.[24] Recently, Julius Malema was summoned for the criminal offence of hate speech by Solidarity and Afriforum in the Southern Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to explain his actions.[23] On 16 May 2011 the judge in the case ruled that the use of the phrase was incitement to genocide.[25] In 2011 Afriforum youth and the Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU SA) brought an application forward against ANC youth league leader Julius Malema at the equality court over his singing of the song. Afriforum argued that “Boer” referred either to Afrikaners or farmers and that Malema was a public and influential leader, openly singing lyrics that incited violence towards an ethnic group, which constituted hate speech. TAU said, that it was not about the intent but how the message was perceived by the targeted group or the group that felt targeted. ANC lawyers argued that the contentious lyrics were taken completely out of context and that the word “ibhunu” or even “boer” did not refer to Afrikaners, but to the system of apartheid. Expert witnesses stated that the chant, the words, could spur to violence, especially marginalised people.[26] On 12 September 2011, Judge Lamont ruled that the singing of the words shoot the boer amounted to hate speech. He also declared the singing of the song in any capacity to be illegal stating that he finds no possible justifications for singing the song. The ANC has announced that they will appeal the ruling.[27]

    On 8 January 2012, after giving a speech at the ANC Centennial 2012 celebrations in Bloemfontein, South Africa, president Jacob Zuma sang the same “shoot the Boer” that had been the subject of Julius Malema’s hate speech conviction

    • Sumud
      March 11, 2013, 8:46 am

      Utterly disgusting to suggest there is a correlation between the abolition of apartheid and the fact that rapes occur in South Africa.

      Are you claiming that without apartheid there would be increased incidents of rape of jewish women by Palestinian men? Please – tell us what this is all based on.

      While you’re on a roll would you like to slag off on any other ethnic, racial or religious groups?

      And mcohen – if you’re going to copy and paste text then do us all the courtesy of citing your sources and adding a link. Otherwise you’re a plagiarist.

    • gamal
      March 11, 2013, 11:25 am

      “but is also used as a derogatory term for Afrikaner”

      well thats a straight out lie, I have a Sri Lankan friend, a rugby player who toured SA, back in the apartheid day and was granted the honour of being an honorary Boer, he has it on his business cards, by self-described Boers, who would be shocked to find that they are in fact the self-hating Dutch.

      but seriously, what are you complaining about the successor state to Israels close ally SA white minority government, seriously are they confining bombing and expropriatining white people, why might anyone sing shoot the Boer, do you think, nastiness? there is a little history there you know.

    • Hostage
      March 11, 2013, 11:59 am

      here is a few facts on south africa that you might have missed-seriously -south africa is not a good choice to use for the bds campaign

      Main article: Sexual violence in South Africa

      I can’t take your logic or you source very seriously. The authorities in the Rwanda and Bosnian genocides systematically employed rape and sexual torture as a matter of routine – so much so that rape was added to the acts that can constitute evidence of genocidal intent or genocide. Israel has also been accused of routinely using sexual threats and sexual torture. See:
      *Torture and Ill-Treatment

      The President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and the Prime Minister of Israel engaged in hate speech aimed at justifying a war of aggression against the Iraqi people. They falsely claimed Iraq either possessed or was developing weapons of a mass destruction. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were subsequently killed and millions were made refugees. The South African leaders mentioned in the article haven’t done anything remotely similar.

      In fact, cases where US corporations have been accused of complicity in human rights abuses, including rape, have either been stalled for years or dismissed by the US Courts over the objections of some of the very same South African leaders. See for example, “Desmond Tutu: Will U.S. rule for rights of S. Africans?”

      Your deflection seems to be an attempt to invoke a racial stereotype and claim that South African sources can be relied upon to report instances of crimes, like rape and hate speech, but not instances of apartheid.

  5. gamal
    March 13, 2013, 6:09 pm

    i was thinking how would you say Dirk Coetzee or Eugene De Kock in Hebrew, or say Vlakplaas, Inkatha i know the Arabic.

    of course none of this can have affected the South African black community or socio-political environment and in any way relate to current conditions, so Cohen how would you account for the events you recount, what is the cause of the high rate of rape and other crimes? are you offering some observations on the nature of black people? are you claiming that “crime” has risen since the state abandoned the crime of “Apartheid” ( an anachronism perhaps),

    on a happy note the Anglo-American is still making rakes of money, i wont be investing however, i even scum such as my self have standards.

    For an inspiring forward looking plan, we need go no further than their website, dont look back ( “Lot’s wife turn a pillar of salt” Prince Alla) for gods or is it gogs sake, one or other, i see a great future for Ahava and Sodastream and the communities in whom they operate. Wonder whats the share price, up or down from 30 pieces?

    and as some pointed out that Apartheid was a war free enterprise due to the beauty of blacks, prior to their lapse into crime and rape, sort of like black ghettos in the states dont you think, here is an article recounting the experiences of a border war ( conservative estimates 1.5 million casualities), or something, clearly in SA, Ahistory is in its infancy, surely everyone remembers the red/black threat.

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