PRESS REMINDER: Mandela Day Palestine protest for Gaza at Israeli Embassy Trade Office (Sandton, Today 18 July)
The South African Palestine solidarity and human rights organisation BDS South Africa together with the Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA), Media Review Network (MRN) and others will be holding a Nelson Mandela Day protest for Gaza today (Friday 18 July) with a 67 second moment of silence for the over 240 Palestinians killed in recent Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip (more than 40 of them children, including two disabled girls). Over the weekend Israel also bombed a Palestinian NGO for disabled people that killed two disabled women (click here).
The Nelson Mandela Day protest for the Palestinian people of Gaza will take place at the Israeli Embassy's Trade Office in Sandton (Corner Fredman and West) starting from 13h30 and with speeches at 14h30. The protest will be attended by close friend of Nelson Mandela and fellow Robben Island prisoner, Ahmed Kathrada; Shaka Sisulu, Grandson of anti-apartheid icon, Walter Sisulu; COSATU President, Sidumo Dlamini; President of the South African Students Congress (SASCO), Ntuthuko Makhombothi; Chairperson of the Swaziland Solidarity Network, Lucky Lukhele; South African Council of Churches Youth Forum, Vuyani Pule; amongst others.
The main message will be calling for the termination of all trade relations with Israel (in line with the non-violent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign) until Israel ends its strikes on Gaza, complies with international law, dismantles its discriminatory Apartheid laws and respects human rights. The Israeli Embassy Trade Office in Sandton is currently promoting, in violation of the Palestinian boycott, relations between South African companies and Israeli companies - including Israeli companies that have operations in the illegal Israeli Settlements and who are operating in violation of international law. For example, in a recent Cape Times article, the Israeli Ambassador to South Africa, Arthur Lenk, boasted of two Israeli companies doing business in South Africa called Hishtil and another called Mor Group, both companies operate in the illegal Israeli Jewish-only settlements, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in violation of international law (what are Israeli settlements? Click here). Our main message at Friday's protest will be that no normal trade can take place with the abnormal Israeli regime. Click here for more information about the Mandela Day protest for Gaza in Sandton on Friday.
Nelson Mandela was well known for his internationalism and long standing support for the Palestinian people. Mandela visited close ally, Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, on several occasions including once in the Gaza Strip (currently being bombed by Israel) where he said: "The histories of our two peoples, Palestinian and South African, correspond in such painful and poignant ways" (click here). In 1990, in the USA and amidst pressure from the Israeli lobby, Mandela fiercely defended the ANC's and the larger South African liberation movement's support for the Palestinian people (click here). Mandela is famously known for saying: "we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians" (click here).
Mandela's support for the Palestinian people often drew criticism from members of the South African Jewish community and Israeli lobby. Mandela responded to this criticism saying: "[I]f the truth alienates the Jewish community in South Africa, that’s too bad…we expect everybody who is exploring the possibility of lasting solutions to be able to face the truth squarely (click here). Mandela did not mince his words when it came to Israel, saying: " “If one has to refer to any of the parties as a terrorist state, one might refer to the Israeli government, because they are the people who are slaughtering defenseless and innocent Arabs in the occupied [Palestinian] territories, and we don’t regard that as acceptable” (click here).
The Palestinian Gaza Strip is the world’s largest open air prison with over 1,5 million Palestinians caged in and cut off by Israel from the rest of the world. The Palestinian Gaza Strip is the world’s most densely populated piece of land on this earth making the Israeli bombing of the Palestinian Gaza Strip all the more horrendous. The collective punishment and illegal siege by Israel of the Palestinian people of Gaza must immediately end. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has described the Israeli siege and blockade on the Gaza Strip as an: "abomination".
NELSON MANDELA DAY PROTEST FOR GAZA
TIME: Starting from 13h30 but with speeches only at 14h30
DAY: Today (Friday 18 July)
ADDRESS: Israeli Embassy Trade Office, Corner Fredman and West, Sandton, Johannesburg
SPEAKERS: The protest will be attended by close friend of Nelson Mandela and fellow Robben Island prisoner, Ahmed Kathrada; Shaka Sisulu, Grandson of anti-apartheid icon, Walter Sisulu; COSATU President, Sidumo Dlamini; President of the South African Students Congress (SASCO), Ntuthuko Makhombothi; Chairperson of the Swaziland Solidarity Network, Lucky Lukhele; South African Council of Churches Youth Forum, Vuyani Pule; amongst others.
ISSUED BY MUHAMMED DESAI ON BEHALF OF BDS SOUTH AFRICA. FOR COMMENT OR INFO CONTACT:
KWARA KEKANA, 0724491774
MUHAMMED DESAI, 0842119988
BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL in SOUTH AFRICA (BDS SOUTH AFRICA)
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