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Posts tagged ‘Boycott’

Palestine is not South Africa

We can all agree that Palestine is indeed, not South Africa. You often hear people say that Palestine is different from apartheid South Africa, the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is pointless. However, both countries are more similar than not.

Ronnie Kasrils, a South African politician, said in 2007 that the architecture of segregation that he saw in the West Bank and Gaza was “infinitely worse than apartheid.” This statement was made before Israel began its full-scale war against Gaza, which can now be compared to an open air prison.

Ronnie Kasrils was Minister for Intelligence Services from 27 April 2004 to 25 September 2008. He was a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1987 to 2007 as well as a member of the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party (SACP) from December 1986 to 2007.

But it’s not just Mr Kasrils that thinks this.

The respected Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), a leading human rights group in Israel, in 2008 described Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank as being “reminiscent of apartheid” in South Africa.

“Israel has built a modern arterial road system in the West Bank intended in fact only for use by Israeli traffic, whereas the Palestinians are forced to travel for the most part on twisting and dangerous roads,” the report said. While Israel facilitates the expansion of Jewish settlements, it restricts the growth of Palestinian towns, the report added. “This state of affairs in which all the services, budgets and the access to natural resources are granted along discriminatory and separatist lines according to ethnic-national criteria is a blatant violation of the principle of equality and is in many ways reminiscent of the Apartheid regime in South Africa.” The report said.

Boycott was an effective tool in helping to end South African apartheid, and it is hoped it will be as effective against Israeli apartheid.  The boycott was called for and is supported by Palestinian civil society organisations.

So, Israel’s separation wall is still being built, Israel still breaches international law by continuing to build settlements, Israel continues to export produce grown on stolen Palestinian land, in summary, Israel operates an apartheid, racist system.

The full article from Ronnie Kasrils is worth reading if you haven’t done so already. For your convenience, it is shown below. If you scroll all the way to the bottom, some useful resources for boycotting are provided.

It is chilling to pass through the myriad checkpoints — more than 500 in the West Bank. They are controlled by heavily armed soldiers, youthful but grim, tensely watching every movement, fingers on the trigger. Fortunately for me, travelling in a South African embassy vehicle with official documents and escort, the delays were brief.

Sweeping past the lines of Palestinians on foot or in taxis was like a view of the silent, depressed pass- office queues of South Africa’s past. A journey from one West Bank town to another that could take 20 minutes by car now takes seven hours for Palestinians, with manifold indignities at the hands of teenage soldiers.

My friend, peace activist Terry Boullata, has virtually given up her teaching job. The monstrous apartheid wall cuts off her East Jerusalem house from her school, which was once across the road, and now takes an hour’s journey. Yet she is better off than the farmers of Qalqilya, whose once prosperous agricultural town is totally surrounded by the wall and economically wasted. There is only one gated entry point. The key is with the occupation soldiers. Often they are not even there to let anyone in or out.

Bethlehem too is totally enclosed by the wall, with two gated entry points. The Israelis have added insult to injury by plastering the entrances with giant scenic posters welcoming tourists to Christ’s birthplace.

The “security barrier”, as the ­Israeli’s term it, is designed to crush the human spirit as much as to enclose the Palestinians in ghettoes. Like a reptile, it transforms its shape and cuts across agricultural lands as a steel-and-wire barrier, with watchtowers, ditches, patrol roads and alarm systems. It will be 700km long and, at a height of 8m to 9m in places, dwarfs the Berlin Wall.

The purpose of the barrier becomes clearest in open country. Its route cuts huge swathes into the West Bank to incorporate into Israel the illegal Jewish settlements — some of which are huge towns — and annexes more and more Palestinian territory.

The Israelis claim the purpose of the wall is purely to keep out terrorists. If that were the case, the Palestinians argue, why has it not been built along the 1967 Green Line border? One can only agree with the observation of Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad, who has stated: “It has become abundantly clear that the wall and checkpoints are principally aimed at advancing the safety, convenience and comfort of settlers.”

The West Bank, once 22% of historic Palestine, has shrunk to perhaps 10% to 12% of living space for its inhabitants, and is split into several fragments, including the fertile Jordan Valley, which is a security preserve for Jewish settlers and the Israeli Defence Force. Like the Gaza Strip, the West Bank is effectively a hermetically sealed prison. It is shocking to discover that certain roads are barred to Palestinians and reserved for Jewish settlers. I try in vain to recall anything quite as obscene in apartheid South Africa.

Gaza provides a desolate landscape of poverty, grime and bombed-out structures. Incon- gruously, we are able to host South Africa’s Freedom Day reception in a restaurant overlooking the splendid harbour and beach. Gunfire ­rattles up and down the street, briefly interrupting our proceedings, as some militia or other celebrates news of the recovery from hospital of a wounded comrade. Idle fishing boats bob in long lines in the harbour, for times are bad. They are confined by Israel to 3km of the coast and fishing is consequently unproductive. Yet, somehow, the guests are provided with a good feast in best Palestinian tradition.

We are leaving through Tel Aviv airport and the Israeli official catches my accent. “Are you South African?’ he asks in an unmistakable Gauteng accent. The young man left Benoni as a child in 1985. “How’s Israel?” I ask. “This is a f**ked-up place,” he laughs, “I’m leaving for Australia soon.”

“Down under?” I think. I’ve just been, like Alice, down under into a surreal world that is infinitely worse than apartheid. Within a few hours I am in Northern Ireland, a guest at the swearing in of the Stormont power-sharing government of Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness.

Not even PW Botha or Ariel ­Sharon were once as extreme as Ian Paisley in his most riotous and bigoted days. Ireland was under England’s boot for 800 years, South Africa’s colonial-apartheid order lasted 350 years. The Zionist colonial-settler project stems from the 1880s. The Israeli ruling class, corrupt and with no vision, can no longer rule in the old way. The ­Palestinians are not prepared to be suppressed any longer. What is needed is Palestinian unity behind their democratically elected national government, reinforced by popular struggles of Palestinians and progressive Israelis, supported by international solidarity.

South Africa’s stated position is clear. The immediate demands are recognition of the government of national unity, the lifting of economic sanctions and blockade of the Palestinian territories, an end to the 40-year-old military occupation and resumption of negotiations for a two-state solution.

On a final note, the invitation to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh as head of a national unity government was welcomed by President Mahmoud Abbas, and will be dealt with by our government.

As they say in Arabic: “Insha ‘Allah [God-willing].”

Ronnie Kasrils is Minister of Intelligence

Original Aricle posted on Mail & Guardian Online (South African Newspaper) May 21 2007.

Boycott Resources:

Ban Settlement Goods – Email your MP now! PSC and TUC Campaign

PSC Weekly Update 11th February 2010

Ban Settlement Goods – Email your MP now!

Ban settlement goods postcard

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) urge all it’s supporters to lobby MP’s to call for a ban to goods from Israeli settlements in our supermarkets.

You can email your MP using our easy to use lobbying tool. If your local PSC group, trade union branch or student group would like us to send you postcards, please contact us via email at: or ring the office on: 0207 700 6192.

I just used the lobbying tool, it literally takes a few minutes, and that’s including me personalising the letter a bit. I highly recommend you use this tool to get the message to your local MP.

Al Jazeera – Riz Khan – Holding Israel to account

In the year since the Gaza war, activists have stepped up their calls for sanctions on Israel. These include appeals to withdraw investments in Israel (divestment); to boycott Israeli goods and services, cultural institutions and universities; and to prosecute the top political and military leaders behind the war. But generally the diplomatic fallout of the war has been manageable for Israel, so what do the supporters of BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) hope to achieve?

The videos are below:


Part 2:

Boycott Israeli dates this Ramadan

It is very important that Israeli dates are avoided this Ramadan and every Ramadan that follows.

It is very important that Israeli dates are avoided this Ramadan and every Ramadan that follows.

Salaam. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on this site, time has unfortunately got the better of me.

So, Ramadan is just around the corner, and Ramadan means dates in our supermarkets and independent shops. Now, there’s an issue with these dates. This issue being a lot of the dates that are sold here in the UK come from illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine. That is land that rightfully belongs to the Palestininans are being used to grow dates, which are then sold to us Muslims, and the profits going directly back to those illegal settlements. Do you see the problem?

How can this be avoided then? Well, we must familiarise ourselves with the suppliers of Israeli dates and avoid buying them. A lot of independent Muslim shops are not aware that they are selling Israeli dates, we must let them know. Spread the word, and let’s not allow Israel to grain profit from us Muslims this Ramadan and then use this money to further oppress the people of Palestine.

The following URL has a lot more information, do watch the videos if you have the time:

InshaAllah (God willing) this message is spread far and wide amongst everyone that believes that Israel’s terrorism must not continue. Only together can we defeat the atrocities that is committed by Israel on a daily basis. Spread the word! Facebook, twitter, MSN, whatever you use!


Boycott Israeli Goods

Barcode on Israeli Products

Barcode on Israeli Products

It is amazing how quickly Israel’s recent massacre of innocent Palestinians has just disappeared from the media. The boycott of Israeli goods must continue however. This is our way of hitting apartheid Israel’s economy. Already The Guardian has reported that a fifth of Israeli exporters report a drop in demand.

The Palestinians have been losing land and resources to illegal settlers for over 60 years now, and this is not slowing down. More and more Palestinian territories are being occupied, land which the Palestinians rely on for their income. Instead illegal settlers take over, and then these products that are produced on illegally occupied lands are being sold in our supermarkets, yet, our government will not intervene. This is why it is up to us, the public, to make a difference. Continue your boycott. Just because there are no reports in the media does not mean the boycotts must end.

I invite you to look at 2 websites for further information on which companies are to be avoided, and some background information on the boycott campaign.