The 2012 ANC Policy Conference at Gallagher Estate has concluded. The conference reaffirmed the ANC's policy of progressive internationalism and has undertaken to "increase" the ANC's support for the Palestinian people and the boycott of Israel.
The ANC's long-standing position on Palestine is part of its broader progressive internationalism. It is increasingly clear that the ANC is not simply offering "generalized" support to the oppressed but has chosen to support specific things that will lend concrete solidarity and contribute toward a just peace. With Swaziland, the ANC has insisted that the Swazi government sign an MOU on "democratisation and unbanning of political parties". On Palestine, the ANC has taken measures that will ensure sufficient pressure is brought on Israel for a just and negotiated resolution - similar to the international pressure, negotiations and solution in South Africa. The complete and full ANC Policy Conference proposals will be released in due course by ANC's Luthuli House. We look forward to the ANC strengthening its resolution on Palestine even further during the Mangaung conference in December.
In taking this position, together with the recent announcement by the Department of Trade & Industry to prevent the false-labeling of Israeli goods, the ANC is not acting alone, with support coming from surprising quarters:
- The former Director-General of Israel's Foreign Ministry
, Alon Liel, has backed the boycott of Israeli products terming it a "wake-up call"
and saying that "such a non-violent wake-up call is needed"
in Israel. Also, subsequent to Israel accusing the ANC and South Africa of racism due to SA's position on Israel, Liel has bravely broken ranks and come out defending South Africa: "The ANC, which toppled apartheid, is still ruling the country [and] to use that term, racism, for the government that toppled apartheid is very counterproductive.”
- Avrum Burg, the former Speaker of Israel's parliament
, recently wrote in the UK's Independent Newspaper: "Even I – an Israeli – think Israeli settlement goods are not kosher...we need intervention from the outside...to tell Israel that it is impossible to be treated as 'the only democracy in the Middle East', while it is also the last colonial occupier in the Western world. It is not anti-Semitic.. to convey these messages."
- Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement wrote in South Africa's Mail&Guardian newspaper describing how other countries are closely following the ANC and South Africa. He explained how the Irish foreign minister, Eamon Gilmore
, told a media briefing after a recent European Union (EU) foreign ministers’ meeting that Dublin might very soon be proposing a Europe-wide ban on Israeli products during its EU presidency in early 2013.
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu
together with Zapiro
, Zackie Achmat
and several others have endorsed a public petition supporting the South African government. You too can lend your support by signing the petition, here
On the other spectrum, reactionary but marginal groups, like the SA Zionist Federation (SAZF) together with the ACDP and IFP have come out supporting relations with Israel and attacking the ANC and South African government. But this is back-firing with various South African bodies publicly challenging the right-wing groups' "blind support for Israel". For example, South African Christians have slammed the ACDP's
"misguided" support for Israel (click here
); the South African Communist Party has criticized the IFP's
support for Israel as "baseless" (click here
); and, COSATU has exposed how the SAZF is luring people
by promising "free t-shirts and refreshments" to anyone that would attend their pro-Israel protest (click here
Meanwhile, there have been some MAJOR international divestment from Israel victories:
DIVESTMENT FROM ISRAEL VICTORY:
After active boycott campaigning, the global retirement fund, TIAA-CREF, has dumped 72 million dollars of Caterpillar shares from its TISCX investment portfolio. Caterpillar is notorious for its supply of military bulldozers, amongst other equipment, to the Israeli regime.
[ANOTHER] DIVESTMENT FROM ISRAEL VICTORY:
Norway's government-run pension fund, the largest pension fund in Europe, has announced that it will divest all its shares from the Israeli real estate firm, Shikun Binui, that profits from Israel's illegal activities. The Norwegian fund is worth $587 billion dollars, and this divestment decision will affect over 1 million dollars worth of Israeli shares.
Finally, the world renown African-American author, Alice Walker, has refused the Israeli company, Yediot Books, from publishing her award-winning novel, 'The Color Purple'
. In the 1980s during Apartheid here, Walker also refused South Africa permission to screen the movie adaptation of her book, she writes: "How happy we all were when the apartheid regime [in South Africa] was dismantled…only then did we send our beautiful movie! And to this day, when I am in South Africa, I can hold my head high and nothing obstructs the love that flows between me and the people of that country."
We salute Alice Walker's moral consistency, for having opposed apartheid in South Africa, and now opposing apartheid in Israel!
BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS in SOUTH AFRICA (BDS SOUTH AFRICA)
Office 915 | 9th Floor | Khotso House | 62 Marshall Street | Johannesburg
PO Box 2318 | Houghton | 2041 | Johannesburg
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BDS South Africa is a registered Non-Profit Organization. NPO NUMBER: 084 306 NPO
BDS South Africa is a registered Public Benefit Organisation with Section 18A status. PBO NUMBER: 930 037 446