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Press release

BDS South Africa welcomes the position adopted by the African National Congress (ANC) International Solidarity Conference to support the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign.

28 October 2012

There was widespread support from international delegates for the adoption and support of the Palestinian BDS call. However, there was one objection from a delegate from Germany who argued that Israel cannot be compared to Apartheid South Africa and thus an all-out boycott of Israel is ‘ill-informed’. The ANC Chairperson, Baleka Mbete, strongly responded saying that she has been to Palestine herself and that the Israeli regime is not only comparable but ‘far worse than Apartheid South Africa’. Ms Mbete received a resounding round of applause from delegates for articulating this position.

The support given for the BDS call by the ANC International Solidarity Conference follows a statement that former Dutch anti-apartheid activist, Adri Nieuwhof, presented on behalf of over 150 former international anti-apartheid activists to the conference (find full statement here: calling on South Africa's ruling party, the ANC, to support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign. The international statement, presented by Nieuwhof, had the support of signatories from more than 19 countries, belonging to over 35 organizations. It also had the backing of long-time South African supporters such as E.S. Reddy, Alice Walker, Victoria Britain and Prexy Nesbitt. The statement read:

‘We - former international anti-apartheid activists - supported the ANC and the people of South Africa in their fight for liberation and against apartheid by mobilizing support for boycott, divestment and sanctions against the South African apartheid regime. We succeeded to put the crime of apartheid on the agenda of political parties, trade unions, churches…and concerned citizens. We called on people not to buy apartheid products and we discouraged tourism to the country. We campaigned for a weapons embargo, an oil embargo, a Krugerrand boycott, a sports, academic and cultural boycott.’

‘On the occasion of the 3rd ANC International Solidarity Conference, we call on the ANC to support the Palestinian people in their fight for freedom, justice and equality....We call on the ANC to support the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) as expression of the party's solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people to enjoy their rights.’

The Palestine Liberation Organization representative who was present at the ANC International Solidarity Conference welcomed the statement by the former international anti-apartheid activists calling on the ANC to support the Palestinian BDS call and further stressed the conditions of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails, thus the ANC International Solidarity conference decided to also include a demand for the release of all Palestinian political prisoners into the conference's declaration.

The Palestinian BDS call, issued in 2005, has come from the largest civil and political gathering of Palestinians. It is a non-violent method, modeled on the successful boycott of Apartheid South Africa, that has been adopted by Palestinians to pressurize the Israeli regime to respect international law and create the conditions to negotiate for a just peace.

Muhammed Desai: +27 (0) 84 211 9988 / [email][email protected]
Adri Nieuwhof: +27 (0) 71 182 4642 / [email][email protected]

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