Dear Friends and Comrades,
On Friday, South Africa's ruling-party, the African National Congress (ANC) concluded its 2012 Policy Conference. The conference reaffirmed the ANC's policy of progressive internationalism and delegates undertook 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 peace. The ANC's 2012 Policy Conference documents will now be ratified at the upcoming ANC Mangaung conference in December, they will then provide direction to the ANC for the next 3 years and ultimately shape South Africa's position as a government. We look forward to the ANC strengthening its resolution on Palestine even further during its conference in December.
In taking this position, together with the recent announcement by South Africa's Department of Trade & Industry to prevent the false-labeling of Israeli goods, the ANC is not acting alone, with support coming from surprising quarters:
- 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. Barghouti 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 South African cartoonist, Zapiro
; HIV activist, Zackie Achmat;
and 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), the conservative African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and the notorious Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) have come out 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, SA's largest trade union confederation, has exposed how the Israeli lobby is luring people
by promising "free tshirts and refreshments" to anyone that would attend their pro-Israel protests (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 author, Alice Walker, has refused the Israeli company, Yediot Books, from publishing her award-winning novel, 'The Color Purple'
. In the 1980s during Apartheid, 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! It is my hope that the non-violent BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement [against Israel]... will have enough of an impact on Israeli civilian society to change the situation…a just future can be fashioned from small acts."
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)
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