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Israeli Apartheid Week – South Africa Shows Solidarity with Palestine

Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News – 2013-03-05

Between the 11th and 17th of March 2013, South Africa will host the 9th international Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) campaign. IAW is an annual international series of events that takes places annually during February and March in over 250 cities across the world.

As before, Radio Islam will also be part of IAW by interviewing many renowned guests and after each news bulletin commencing on the 11th of March, the presenter will render a hadith or fact on Palestine and Masjid-ul-Aqsa amongst other features.

IAW raises awareness of Israel’s apartheid policies toward the indigenous Palestinians and serves to garner support for the non-violent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign (which seeks to bring an end to Israel’s apartheid policies and violations of international law).

In 1963, Hendrik Verwoerd, the architect of Apartheid, said: “Israel, like South Africa, is an Apartheid State”. Since then there have been several South Africans who have compared Apartheid South Africa to current-day Israel, including: Ahmed Kathrada, Denis Goldberg, Kader Asmal, Blade Nzimande, Zwelinzima Vavi and Winnie Mandela.

Deputy President, Kgalema Mothlante, has gone even further in stating that, “the current situation for Palestinians… [Under the Israel regime] is worse than conditions were for Blacks under the Apartheid regime”. The South African Government itself has on two separate occasions’ condemned Israeli practices toward the indigenous Palestinians as “reminiscent of Apartheid”.

On the 27th March 2001, Thomas L. Friedman a New York Times columnist penned “Bush’s First Memo” in the New York Times. In response, former South African president Nelson Mandela wrote:

“I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

“The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not just an issue of military occupation and Israel is not a country that was established “normally” and happened to occupy another country in 1967. Palestinians are not struggling for a “state” but for freedom, liberation and equality, just like we were struggling for freedom in South Africa.”

As South African’s let us support IAW and reflect on the memorable words of Nelson Mandela himself: “We South Africans cannot feel free until the Palestinians are free.”

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