BDS groups the world over took to the streets this past weekend in a wave of solidarity protests, amid an upsurge in violence in the occupied Palestinian territories. Under the banner #SolidarityWaveBDS, activists heeded the call of the Ramallah-based Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), which leads the coordinates global boycott campaign, to partake in a weekend of solidarity and support for the Palestinian population. Palestinians are currently engaged in a systematic resistance, increasingly being termed as the ‘Third Intifada’.
The South African wing of the BDS campaign, along with the National Coalition for Palestine (NC4P) and other pro-Palestinian activists took part in several solidarity actions across the weekend, including a “Vigil for Palestine” outside St Georges Cathedral, Cape Town on Friday. Similar support was seen in the Vereeniging community of Roshnee.
BDS SA spokesperson, Kwara Kekana said that whilst the Palestine solidarity movement was gaining momentum across the globe, so was that of the pro-Israeli lobby.
“They are dedicating a lot of money in trying to combat BDS boycotts on the ground, on campuses and in communities as well. So we need to up our game and intensify actions across the world,” she stated.
On a South African front, the local pro-Palestinian sector has benefited greatly from the stance of the ruling ANC party, a well-known and long-standing ally of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). In the party’s recent national general council (NGC), resolutions were made to try and strengthen the country’s support for a boycott campaign against Israeli-linked companies, as well as in support of the Palestinian cause.
“Members of the ANC who are pro-Palestine supporters must make sure those policies are translated into government. To a great extent I think we can agree that South Africa has a special responsibility because of the history that it comes from,’ Kekana stressed, referencing the ‘shared experiences’ between the two states in their respective ‘liberation’ struggles.
Kekana also levelled criticism as the mainstream media, not just in South Africa but on a global front, for reporting a narrative that has at times been far from favourable towards the Palestinians. In that regard, she said it was imperative the media start reporting based on what was actually happening on the ground and without any perceived agendas.
“A systematic attack on defenceless individuals such as children, that is absolutely inhumane and there is no way one could say they are being mistaken for (having) bombs, or this or that. It is completely unacceptable to be targeting children,” she stated, adding that the media need report stories such stories honestly. VOC