Tuesday, March 12, 2013

IAW (BDS) 0 v IPW 5

With thanks to the contributors of TBT (Truth Be Told), members of the South African community

This year in Cape Town, opponents of BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) decided to show another side to the coin. Although totally outmatched by the well-financed and professionally organized BDS movement, these Capetonians adopted a proactive, imaginative approach with an “Israel Peace Week.” (IPW). This can be role model for the many campuses around the world facing IAW activities.

The South African leg of the 9th international Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) campaign (11-17 March 2013) has officially kicked off! The complete IAW programme (with over 95 events taking place nationwide) was announced at a joint press conference held on Sunday at the symbolic "Apartheid Museum" in Johannesburg.

Zingiswa Losi, 2nd Deputy President of COSATU, said at the launch of the IAW 2013 campaign: "Our own experience under apartheid and how it enforced its rule through measures such as the pass laws, banishment, passport denials is currently being replicated by the Apartheid State of Israel on the Palestinian people at an amplified rate…we call for the intensification of the [Palestinian solidarity] struggle, particularly the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign...As our own anti-apartheid struggle has demonstrated, this is an effective, non-violent form of resistance that can bring an end to injustice and contribute immensely to liberation."

In order to counter these activities, a pro Israel group erected enormous “Abraham’s Tent” on the main plaza of the University of Cape Town campus. There, visitors enjoy the patriarch’s hospitality – falafel, pita, Israeli salad, coffee and juices.

To support the Capetonians a new voluntary organization in Israel known as TRUTH BE TOLD (TBT) in cooperation with the IDC Herzliya and the SA Zionist Federation in SA organized to send five Ethiopian students to South Africa to appear on campuses and  among non Jewish and Jewish groups. 

It was really heartwarming to meet these students at a briefing with TBT before they left. They are charming, sincere and intelligent. They are proud of their African Jewish heritage and proud to be Israelis.  All have either served in the IDF or completed meaningful national service.

And this is the reaction from one of the Capetonians who hosted the students

"Your five superb Israeli/Jewish/Ethiopian IDC students arrived in CT last week. We could not have had any better emissaries to dispel the Israel 
Apartheid analogy and present a very different Israel to the one depicted in South Africa. 

As an Israeli and as a member of the Jewish/Zionist community I was so proud of them. They spent 2 days with our Jewish youth in our Jewish day schools interacting with the kids and enabling them to see beyond what they read or hear in the media.

They have gone onto campus interacted with the students, addressed church service and spoke to 'man in the street', the bouncer at the club etc etc and dispelled many preconceived ideas about Jews and Israel"

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