Dear Friends,
This week, after being approached by the Wits Palestine Solidarity Committee, the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) Student Representative Council (SRC) unanimously adopted a full academic and cultural boycott of Israel (see attached page from yesterday's Mail&Guardian newspaper). The SRC resolution states:
"Throughout the world students joined people of conscience in opposing the [Apartheid] regime which systematically perpetrated racial injustice in South Africa. Because of our history...we must unite and stand in solidarity with those who face similar oppression... The Wits Student Representative Council stands firm in its support of Palestinians and the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [against Israel] movement...[the SRC] will not participate in any form of cultural or academic collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions and will not provide any support to Israeli cultural or academic institutions” (click here for more info)
The Wits SRC resolution also calls for an immediate investigation into any relationships that Wits University may have with any Israeli institutions including academic, financial and cultural relations. Click here to watch an interview with Wits University's SRC President, Tebogo Thotela.
In 2005 Palestinians issued a call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it abides by international law and basic human rights ( Others to have heeded the BDS call include student councils and similar formations at Carleton University (Canada), Dundee University (Scotland), University of Massachusetts (USA), the National Union of Students (UK), University of Regina (Canada) and The Ever Green State College (USA). Furthermore, our own University of Johannesburg became the world's first university to impose an academic boycott on Israel when it terminated its institutional relationship in 2011 with Israel's Ben-Gurion University.

In the 1980s, during Apartheid, there was a strong and vibrant international student movement in solidarity with the people of South Africa; today, over 20 years later, there is a growing and vibrant international student movement in solidarity with Palestinians (and progressive Israelis) who are resisting Israeli Apartheid.
Then, here is some other major boycott of Israel news:
United Church of Canada [boycott victory]: The General Council of Canada's largest Protestant denomination consisting of over 3 million members, the United Church of Canada, voted earlier this month (21 August) for a boycott of all Israeli settlement products. Presbyterian and Methodist churches in the United States have also taken similar positions (
SA government approves "Israeli settlement products" notice: On Wednesday, the 22nd of August 2012, South Africa's Cabinet approved legislation preventing the false-labeling of Israeli goods. The Business Day newspaper reports that South Africa's "move could hamper Israeli companies [such as Ahava and Sodastream] wanting to do business in South Africa and affect large local retailers that stock merchandise from Israel." South Africans can now insist that falsely-labeled Israeli products are immediately removed from our shelves. One such product that communities are beginning to mobilise around is SodaStream:

Veolia [Divestment Victory]: Last week Thursday (23 August), the french multinational corporation, Veolia, lost an £800 million contract in the UK (that's over 10 billion Rands!). Due to the company's involvement with the Israeli government, in violation of human rights and international law, activists from across the globe have been campaigning for Veolia's exclusion from tenders and other municipal contracts. This is the tenth contract that Veolia has lost in the UK alone. The total value of these lost contracts is some £2.5 billion - that's over 32 billion Rands! (
Israel's Batsheva Dance Company [Cultural Boycott]: In violation of the Palestinian boycott-of-Israel-picket-line, the Edinburgh International Festival invited the Israeli dance company, Batsheva, to partake in this years arts festival. BBC News reports that Thursday night's scheduled performance (30 August) by Israel's Batsheva was interrupted by activists and pro-Palestinian protesters at least three times. Last night, Friday 31 August, the show was disrupted over five times.  Several people have subsequently cancelled their tickets, seating has been significantly reduced and the remaining Batsheva show is now in question. The protests against Batsheva remind us of the sports boycott protests of the 1980s against Apartheid South Africa's rugby and cricket teams that attempted world tours in violation of the ANC's boycott (
Finally, Wits University students are going to come under immense pressure from the Israeli lobby (consisting of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, SA Zionist Federation and others) for their principled boycott of Israel resolution. You can assist by writing a short note of support to the Wits SRC. Messages can be sent to us, and we will in turn forward them to the relevant members:

Office 915 | 9th Floor | Khotso House | 62 Marshall Street | Johannesburg
PO Box 2318 | Houghton | 2041 | Johannesburg
T: +27 (0) 11 241 7813 | F: +27 (0) 86 650 4836
W: | E: |

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