South Africans recall their own history during Israeli Apartheid Week

Geneva,26 March 2012

In Johannesburg, a graffiti artist helped promote this year’s Israeli Apartheid Week. (Minhaj Jeenah / BDS South Africa)

This year’s Israeli Apartheid Week in South Africa created a buzz nationwide. BDS South Africa and other Palestine solidarity groups teamed up with trade unionists, political parties, student bodies, churches, youth organizations and activists in Gaza to reach out to a wide audience. Organizers used various means to inspire broad-based support for boycott, divestment and sanctions activism.

Huge billboards were put up to announce Israeli Apartheid Week. Durban-based GangsOfGraffiti inspired fellow street artists and graffiti writers to participate by creating works with “Free Palestine” as the theme. On walls in several cities, artwork appeared in support of IAW and boycott activism. In thirteen towns around the country, the film Roadmap to Apartheid was screened, including all major cities and in Soweto (“National film tour, 5-11 March 2012,” BDS South Africa ).

According to an article in The Jerusalem Post, the Israeli “Public Diplomacy Ministry” had sent a delegation to South Africa to “battle the apartheid label,” but Israel’s messengers did not succeed in changing the perception held by many South Africans that Israeli apartheid is similar to apartheid in South Africa (“Envoys to fight Israel Apartheid Week on campus,” 19 February 2012).

Fatima Gabru of the Palestine Solidarity Forum qualified the public relations exercise as “a stalling technique so that they [Israel] can continue with what they are doing: throwing Palestinians off their land, building walls, continuing human rights abuses” (“South Africa highlights Israeli apartheid,” Press TV, 9 March 2012). Continue reading