Dear Friends and Comrades,
South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), at its 53rd National Elective Conference, reaffirmed and welcomed, amongst others, a previous resolution supporting the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign. See the Israeli Ha'aretz newspaper article below this email or here: http://tinyurl.com/cfvo728
In October 2012, the ANC's International Solidarity Conference (ISC) declared its full support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign (ISC Declaration, page 2, point 10: www.anc.org.za/docs/dcl/2012/isc_declarationu.pdf
At yesterday's ANC 53rd National Elective Conference plenary session, Lindiwe Zulu (member of the ANC's International Relations Sub-Committee and special advisor to South Africa's President Jacob Zuma) announced the ANC's official endorsement, as captured in Resolution 39 (b), of the ANC's October International Solidarity Conference (ISC) and all the ISC resolutions, which includes a resolution on BDS. Giving muscle to resolution 39 (b), the ANC has committed to set up a steering committee to implement these ISC resolutions.
Click here for the ANC ISC October 2012 Declaration
In addition, the ANC adopted resolution 35 (g) that specifically called for "all South Africans to support the programmes and campaigns of Palestinian civil society which seek to put pressure on Israel to engage with the Palestinian people to reach a just solution."
In 2005 Palestinian civil society issued a call to the international community for a program and campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) to be applied against Israel as a way to pressure Israel to end its violations of international law, respect Palestinian human rights and engage in fair negotiations for a just peace (see: http://tinyurl.com/9ul497
Another hard-hitting decision that was adopted by the ANC was resolution 35 (j): "The ANC abhors the recent Israeli state-sponsored xenophobic attacks and deportation of people of African origin and request that this matter should be escalated to the African Union."
ANC National Executive Member, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is presently the African Union chairperson.
In June this year Israeli anti-African protests turned into full-fledged race riots against Africans. Israeli racism and xenophobia against Africans are shared and even encouraged by leading Israeli politicians including the Israeli Prime Minster, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has said: "If we don't stop their [African immigrants'] entry, the problem that currently stands at 60000 could grow to 600000, and that threatens our existence…and threatens the social fabric of society." Israel's Minister of Interior, Eli Yishai, has said that African immigrants "think the country doesn't belong to us, the white man." And the Israeli parliamentarian, Miri Regev, has publicly compared Sudanese people to "a cancer”. (For more info on Israel's anti-African racism see: http://tinyurl.com/cx7xx5b
Finally, in a blow to the Israeli lobby, the ANC also adopted resolution 35 (c) stating: "The ANC is unequivocal in its support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination, and unapologetic in its view that the Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed in the conflict with Israel." In the build up to the ANC's National Elective Conference the Israeli lobby, led by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, demanded a "balanced" and "nonpartisan" rather than a decisive and pro-solidarity role by the ANC in the Palestinian-Israeli issue. The ANC clearly chose to stick by its long-standing principle of international solidarity with the oppressed and those fighting for the right of self determination.
We end this BDS SA alert with an extract from a 22 June 1990 Los Angeles Times article:
"[Nelson] Mandela ... said friends of the African National Congress ... in the United States and elsewhere, had frequently made the mistake of assuming that 'their enemies should be our enemies'. Mandela, deputy president of the ANC [at that time], said ... 'we identify with the Palestinian Liberation Organization because, just like us, they are fighting for the right of self-determination'."
BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA (BDS SOUTH AFRICA)
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South Africa's ruling party endorses BDS campaign against Israel
- 21 December 2012
- Jeremy Gordin
Johannesburg - The ruling African National Congress voted at its annual conference Thursday night to support the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. The ANC declared it was "unapologetic in its view that the Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed in the conflict with Israel."
In another resolution referring to Israeli anti-African protests in June that turned violent in south Tel Aviv, the conference declared: "The ANC abhors the recent Israeli state-sponsored xenophobic attacks and deportation of Africans and requests that this matter should be escalated to the African Union."
Mbuyiseni Ndlozi of BDS South Africa said in a statement trumpeting the ANC's decision: "The Israeli racism and xenophobia against Africans is shared and even encouraged by Israeli politicians including the Israeli prime minster, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has said: 'If we don't stop their [African immigrants'] entry, the problem that currently stands at 60,000 could grow to - 600,000 and threatens - our national identity.'"
The conference called on "all South Africans to support the programs and campaigns of the Palestinian civil society which seek to put pressure on Israel to engage with the Palestinian people to reach a just solution."
The country's BDS activists have been trying for most of this year to tug the ANC and the government into the international BDS campaign. It has succeeded in getting Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies to introduce legislation that would force importers to note on goods brought in from Israel whether they have been manufactured in "the occupied territories."
This planned legislation is the subject of a high court tussle, brought by the South African Zionist Federation against the trade ministry and the minister.
Until now the ANC government has had good relations with the local Jewish community, if not always with Israel. But the specter of the government or the ANC (the two are largely interchangeable) embracing BDS has caused a great deal of tension. In October, Wendy Kahn, national director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, angrily denounced the behavior in parliament of Davies.
Haaretz has learned that certain senior members of the Jewish board have been lobbying leading ANC officials, including some in the presidency, and working with highly-placed ANC members who are opposed to the BDS movement.
But none of them wants to be named and what they have been doing has mostly been carried out behind closed doors.
On Sunday, however, the chief rabbi of South Africa, Warren Goldstein, and seven Christian leaders took out an advertisement on the front page of Johannesburg's Sunday Times, the largest-circulation weekly in the country, calling on the ANC conference not to blame Israel alone for the conflict with the Palestinians.
The open letter called on the ANC not to do anything rash with regard to Israel at the conference, which was held in Mangaung, but rather to "promote peaceful negotiations in the Holy Land so that this bitter conflict can end in peace." The ad read: "There is talk of a motion being considered for the ANC conference in Mangaung, condemning only Israel for the current conflict in the Holy Land. ... Such a motion will pit people of different faiths in the ANC against each other and further heighten tensions between South Africans of all faiths during a time when we need to come together in the season of peace."
Thursday night a senior community leader, who did not want to be named, said: "Well, they got their motion, didn't they? Thing is, you can't fight this sort of thing in open letters in the newspapers. In the present climate, if there's a vote about Israelis and Palestinians at an ANC conference, we're going to get whacked six-love, six-love, and six-love. And that's what happened last night in Mangaung."