As with the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, international solidarity is key in overcoming Israeli Apartheid. In Nelson Mandela’s words: “It behoves all South Africans, erstwhile beneficiaries of generous international support, to stand up and be counted among those contributing actively to the cause of freedom and justice … we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
We, students and youth of a post-Apartheid South Africa, who bear the scars of a racist history and who continue to fight for complete liberation, have a duty and responsibility to stand in solidarity with those facing oppression worldwide. Israeli apartheid is one such form of oppression.
Israeli media boast that a mission of 150 Israeli propagandists will be sent to universities in 5 countries to fix Israel’s “serious image problems.” The Israeli mission will begin on South African campuses on the 11th of August, with a delegation that includes at least two aides from the Israeli parliament. A delegation member was clear about the intention of their trip: “We have to create some doubt in their [South African students’] minds.”
Don’t patronize us! We lived apartheid, we suffered apartheid, we know what apartheid is, we recognise apartheid when we see it. And when we see Israel, we see a regime that practices apartheid. Israel’s image needs no changing; its policies do! We urge Israeli students to instead join the growing and inspiring internal resistance to their regime, particularly the boycott from within movement, rather than waste time and money on these propaganda trips to deceive us Black students, South Africans have no need for these Muldergate-like trips.
A “major focus” of the Israeli trip will be the University of Johannesburg (UJ). On 1st April 2011 UJ’s Senate, with the full backing of UJ’s Student Representative Council, terminated its institutional relationship with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University. Indeed, UJ set an academic boycott of Israel precedent that all other South African and international universities can follow.
Following UJ’s decision, and in response to a letter sent to us by Palestinian students, we urge all SRCs, student groups and other youth structures to strategize and implement a boycott of Israel and its campaigns. We declare that all SA campuses must be Apartheid-Israel free zones.
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Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and editor with The Electronic Intifada, and contributes to Al-Jazeera English, Inter Press Service, Truthout.org, Left Turn magazine, and various other international media outlets. From 2003-2010, she was the Senior Producer and co-host of Flashpoints, an award-winning investigative newsmagazine operating out of KPFA/Pacifica Radio in Berkeley, California. Nora has been regularly reporting from Palestine since 2004.