For the record, no money provided for Israeli holiday propaganda trips
27 July 2015

The human rights and Palestine solidarity organisation BDS South Africa categorically denies ever providing R40 000 to “buy-out” participants who were part of the recent controversial Israeli propaganda holiday trip.
In fact, it was the organisers of the Israeli propaganda trip (the SA Israel Forum) that forced the young South African students to sign a contract including a penalty clause that read, and we quote: "Accepting the invitation to come on this [Israeli holiday] trip, I understand that if I do not show up at the airport for departure [to Israel], I will be responsible to reimburse the South Africa-Israel Forum and South African Union of Jewish Students my full R40 000 (forty-thousand rands) participation cost with [sic] 30 days of 4 July 2015.” The young students also had to undertake in their contracts that they would “agree to keep the [Israeli propaganda] tour itinerary confidential and will not share it with third parties.” Click here or see attached for relevant extract from SA-Israel Forum contract.
The Israeli propaganda holiday trip was organised by the  pro-Israeli “SA-Israel Forum” which was exposed a few years ago as being funded by and linked to the steel manufacturing company CapeGate. This company -- in violation of international law -- provides and profits from supplying material to Israel for the construction of its “Apartheid Wall”. Cape Gate has also been listed by South Africa’s ruling ANC party - along with G4S Security and Caterpillar - as companies, amongst others, to be excluded from State contracts and tenders due to their complicity in Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine (click here).
Though BDS South Africa enjoys working relations with the ANC, ANC Youth League, SASCO, SACP, COSAS, YCL and other MDM structures as well as various other organizations we do not feel it is our place, as an organization, to be speaking on or interfering with the pending disciplinary charges against those who went on the recent Israeli propaganda holiday trip - unless called on by the various organizations. The decision to suspend, summon or hold disciplinary hearings by SASCO, ANC YL, YCL and other organisations for members from within their organizations who defied their organisational policies, positions, resolutions and decisions (to not travel to Israel and to support the boycott of Israel) is the prerogative of those organisations.

In November 2014, South Africa’s ruling party and leader of the ruling Alliance, the ANC, took a decision that in supporting the "the call for a cultural, academic and education boycott of Israel” it would include "travel bans for members and leaders of the ANC, the Alliance, Members of Cabinet, Members of Parliament and Government Officials.” Various other youth and student organisations have also adopted similar resolutions in support of the Palestinian people and the non-violent Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel campaign. Accepting an invite to Israel on a propaganda holiday trip organised by the SA Israel Forum, it would seem, is clearly a violation of these organisations’ policies, positions and resolutions. 

In addition to defying organisational policies, members who went on the recent Israeli propaganda holiday trips received letters and pleas, both privately and publicly, from Palestinian students, civil society and churches all urging the young South Africans not to partake in the Israeli holiday propaganda trips. A group of progressive Israelis (who are critical of Israeli policies) also wrote (click here) to the students and young people urging them not to go on the Israeli propaganda trip which, they explained, was biased toward the Israeli Government and Military's agenda and a whitewashing of Israeli crimes against the indigenous Palestinians. Click here for an in-depth article published in yesterday's Sunday Tribune.
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