Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News, 2014-03-09
The 10th International Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) campaign was launched at the Workers Museum in Johannesburg on Sunday (9th March).
IAW is an annual international series of events (including rallies, lectures, cultural performances, films and workshops) that raises awareness of Israel’s apartheid policies against the Palestinians.
“So it’s a very wide range of activities aimed at highlighting, drawing attention and educating people about why Israel is an apartheid state and why it is that Israel needs to be treated like Apartheid South Africa,” Suraya Dadoo, one of the authors of the book Why Israel? told Radio Islam.
This year the IAW campaign will be held in over 250 cities across the world, including in more than 25 South African cities, towns and universities.
In South Africa IAW will be held between the 10th and 16th of March and organisers indicate that it will be the biggest IAW since it was first launched in 2004
Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau who represented the ANC at the launch said the ruling party is fully behind the campaign.
“We believe that in fact, the Israeli Apartheid Week is one of those platforms that enables us to create consciousness among the people of South Africa, then mobilize the people of South Africa as part of an international solidarity campaign that seeks to facilitate that the Palestinian question is addressed and a just solution is arrived at.”
The Palestinian Ambassador to South Africa, Hafiz Nofal said his people have been waging the struggle for freedom for 67 years. He thanked South Africa’s leadership for the support and the efforts.
To date over 75 South African organisations across the country have endorsed the IAW campaign.
“It’s everyone, from the South African Communist Party (SACP) to the Jamiatul Ulama, to the ANC, COSATU, (The South African Council of Churches)…” Dadoo said.
Although primarily aimed at university students, Dadoo said over the year’s different community organsations have also started to get involved.
“So for instance, residents in Lenasia will be interested to hear that there will be an event on Tuesday (11th March) with Qassam Barghouti who is the son of an imprisoned Palestinian parliamentarian Marwan Barghouti.”
“There are also really interesting International guests that are coming: Miko Peled who is the son of an IDF (Israeli Defence Force) general and who is now speaking out against Israel’s occupation and apartheid practices,” added Dadoo.
At the launch Peled said the fight against apartheid in South Africa gives hope to the people of Palestine.
“ If we were to summarize what we should expect from governments from around the world, is to send home the Israeli ambassadors, to bring back their own ambassadors from Tel Aviv. Until such time the three conditions are met; the lifting of the siege in Gaza, the release of all Palestinian prisoners, political prisoners and setting up a date for a free and fair one person, one vote elections, that would allow the creation of real democracy in Palestine.”
In a message of support, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said those who turn a blind eye to injustice, perpetuates injustice.
Tutu’s message and support beautifully encapsulates those of the late Nelson Mandela who said: “South Africa will never be free until Palestine is free.”