South Africa's ruling ANC officially endorses Palestine's boycott movement

A Palestinian flag flutters as Palestinian boys stand atop the rubble of a destroyed house in the northern Gaza Strip. (Photo: Reuters - Mohammed Salem)

Published Friday, December 21, 2012

South Africa's ruling party has officially endorsed Palestine's Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israel, making it the first major non-Muslim political faction to throw its weight behind the nonviolent resistance movement.

The African National Congress issued a party resolution Friday making the boycott of Israel a part of its official policy, and called on “all South Africans to support the programmes 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.”

A press release issued by activist group BDS South Africa called the move “the most authoritative endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign.”

Previous moves from state actors to support Palestine's nonviolent resistance movement have restricted their backing to the boycott of Israeli settlements, shying away from targeting all of the Jewish state. In September, the Irish parliament voted to ban Israeli settlement imports. Earlier this month, an Israeli newspaper reported that the EU was looking into boycotting settlement goods, after Israel defied calls to stem construction of illegal settlement units in the West Bank.

Another clause of the pro-BDS resolution lashed out at Israel's mistreatment of Africans, which culminated in the mass deportation of South Sudanese this year: “The ANC abhors the recent Israeli state-sponsored xenophobic attacks and deportation of Africans and request that this matter should be escalated to the African Union.”

The move is the latest in a series of actions by the ANC to pressure Israel into ending the Jewish state's racist policies. This August, South Africa's Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim advised South Africans not to travel to Israel “because of the treatment and policies of Israel towards the Palestinian people.”

Palestine activists have long worked to draw attention to parallels between South Africa's apartheid period and Palestinian repression under Israel's ethno-religious-exclusive government system. Palestine's BDS movement is said to be largely inspired by South Africa's own boycott movement, which is credited with playing a major role in dismantling apartheid in that country in 1994.

South African Apartheid was declared official policy in 1948, the same year the state of Israel was created and thousands of Palestinians were expelled or put under martial rule.

In 2005, Palestinian civil society issued a call for a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights. The launch followed a historic ruling at the International Court of Justice that Israel's apartheid wall, which greatly restricts movement in the West Bank and expropriates large swathes of Palestinian land, be demolished.

The BDS movement has garnered support from activists and labor unions worldwide, as well as from a growing list of artists, including Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, Santana, Cat Power and the late Gil Scott Heron.

The full press release from BDS Africa as well as additional background information about South Africa's boycott movement can be found at Electronic Intifada.

(Al-Akhbar)

Comments

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim.

It will take a lot to dislodge the Jews from Filastin.

Before 1948, Filastin was ruled by a series of empires. "Palestine" was the name given to southern Bilad al-Sham (Greater Syria) in the second century by the Romans, in an attempt to break the Jewish adherence to the land. This was a century after the Temple (Beit al-Maqdis) was destroyed and more than a million Jews massacred.

The Jews stopped fighting the Romans only after they had no more fighting men standing. Conservative Christian attitudes toward the Jews and Filastin can be epitomized by the words of Evangelist William Eugene Blackstone, who proclaimed in 1891 that “the Jews never gave up their title to Palestine… They never abandoned the land. They made no treaty, they did not even surrender. They simply succumbed, after the most desperate conflict, to the overwhelming power of the Romans.”

The Jews persisted through the centuries under the various empires, after the Arab invasion of 635AD (which the Jews fought alongside the Byzantines), and after the Crusade massacres of the 11th Century, which decimated much of their population.

Few in the Muslim Ummah know that Jewish customs, religion, prayers, poetry, holidays, and virtually every walk of life, documented for thousands of years—all revolve around Filastin and al-Quds. They pray for al-Quds in every prayer, after every meal, in every holiday, at every wedding, in every celebration. The whole Jewish religion is about Filastin and al-Quds. Western expressions such as “The Promised Land,” and “The Holy Land,” did not pop out of void. They have been part of Western knowledge and tradition dating back to the beginning of Christianity and earlier.

After the Crusades, the Jews lived peacefully with Arabs, often in the very same villages, as in Pki'in, in the Jalil, until the Zionist immigration of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Article 6 of the PLO Charter calls for the acceptance of all Jews present in Filastin prior to the Zionist immigration. These Jews were simply another ethnic group in a region composed of Sunnis, Shiites, Jews, Druz, Greek Orthodox, Catholics, Circassians, Samarians, and more. Some of these groups, like the Druz, Circassians, Samarians, and an increasing number of Christians, are actually loyal to the Zionist Entity.

Incidentally, genetic studies show that the Zionist immigrants are closely related to groups like the Samarians who have lived in Filastin for thousands of year—a fact that Zionists view as a moral stamp of approval on their presence in Filastin.

Few in the Muslim Ummah realize it, but it will take a lot to dislodge the Jews from Filastin, and, as described in Jonathan Bloomfield’s award-winning book, “Palestine,” learning the enemy is an integral part of planning the struggle.

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