The Global BDS (Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions)
movement is one of the most important initiatives challenging Israeli
lawlessness, occupation harshness, apartheid, and viciousness.
In July 2005, a coalition of 171 Palestinian Civil Society organizations
created it to continue until Israel complies with international law and
universal human rights principles.
At issue is long denied justice for occupied Palestinians, Israeli
Arabs, and Palestinian diaspora refugees. Important victories came earlier.
On December 20, a historic one occurred. The ruling South African
National Congress (ANC) voted to support BDS. It's "unapologetic in its
view that the Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed in the conflict
Thursday's vote followed ANC's November International Solidarity
Conference. Delegates agreed to back BDS.
An October Tshwane declaration "Reiterated its support for Palestinian
aspirations for an independent state including the full membership of
It also "called on the UN Security Council to show leadership in
halting the expansion of Israeli settlement and the harassment of Palestinian
prisoners in Israeli jails."
It urged civil society BDS support.
ANC chairperson Baleka Mbete calls Israel "far worse than Apartheid
South Africa." He told attending delegates. They responded with resounding
BDS South Africa's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi praised ANC's decision. It supports
"the Palestinian BDS call." Doing so perhaps increases chances of other
countries following suit. It's long overdue.
Ndlozi called Thursday's announcement major. It represents "by far
the most authoritative (BDS) endorsement. ANC's National Conference is
its "highest decision making body."
Ndlozi added that "Israeli racism and xenophobia against Africans
is shared and even encouraged by Israeli politicians including the Israeli
prime minster, Benjamin Netanyahu."
He said if "we don't stop their entry, the problem that currently
stands at 60,000 could grow to 600,000 and threaten our national identity."
Netanyahu is a white supremacist. He's a notorious racist. He demeans
non-Jews. He viciously targets Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.
A separate ANC resolution condemned harsh African immigrant crackdowns.
"The ANC abhors the recent Israeli state-sponsored xenophobic attacks
and deportation of Africans and requests that this matter should be escalated
to the African Union," it said.
Challenging Israel economically, politically, and culturally over
time gets results. Major ones enough to matter. Doing so brings Palestinian
South Africa may, in fact, expel Israel's envoy. No decision so
far was taken. Privately, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and BRIC country
members are being lobbied.
ANC leaders expressed concern about Security Council inaction. At
issue is Washington's obstructionism. Longstanding US support assures
measures harming Israel don't pass.
Passage makes them legally binding. Cutting that gordian knot remain
key. One day perhaps success awaits. Every BDS victory brings it closer.
ANC delegates called on "all South Africans to support the programs
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."
South African BDS activists spent months trying to enlist ANC support.
They got Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies on board. He introduced
legislation to force importers to label Occupied Territory produced products.
ANC's cabinet approved labeling them "Made in Israel."
South African Zionist dark forces challenge doing so in court.
ANC members have good relations with Jews. At issue is Israeli government
lawlessness and longstanding Palestinian persecution.
South Africa's Jewish Board of Deputies national director, Wendy
Kahn, denounced Davies' legislation. She condemned efforts to target Israel.
Other deputies preferred to remain unnamed. They lobbied to prevent
BDS support. Failed efforts were conducted quietly.
Last Sunday, South Africa's chief rabbi, Warren Goldstein, ran a
front page Johannesburg Sunday Times ad.
It's South Africa's largest circulation broadsheet. Ad content was
disingenuous in tone. It called on ANC conference delegates not to blame
Israel for decades of Palestinian conflict. It urged "peaceful negotiations."
"There is talk of a motion being considered for the ANC conference
in Mangaung, condemning only Israel for the current conflict in the Holy
"Such a motion will pit people of different faiths in the ANC against
each other and further heighten tensions between South Africans of all
faiths during a time when we need to come together in the season of peace."
Ahead of Thursday's vote, an unnamed Jewish community leader said
"you can't fight this sort of thing in open letters in the newspapers."
"In the present climate, if there's (an ANC delegate) vote about
Israelis and Palestinians….we're going to get whacked six-love, six-love,
His tennis analogy turned out accurate. There never was any doubt.
A Final Comment
Following the ANC delegate vote, BDS South Africa's press release
said in part:
"South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC),
at its 53rd National Conference, reaffirmed a resolution supporting the
Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign."
"ANC's October International Solidarity Conference (ISC) (endorsed)
a resolution on BDS." A steering committee was established "to implement
ANC delegates "adopted resolution 35(g) that specifically called
for 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."
Resolution 35(j) was affirmed. It says "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."
ANC delegates added more. They adopted resolution 35c. It states
that "The ANC is unequivocal in its support for the Palestinian people
in their struggle for self-determination, and unapologetic in its view
that the Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed in the conflict
Progress comes largely in baby steps. Thursday's achievement was
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War
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