International Apartheid Week (IAW) 2016 is picking up momentum at campuses around the country this week, as student activists place Israel’s oppressive policies against Palestinians firmly on the national agenda. IAW is an annual international series of events that raises awareness of Israel’s apartheid policies, violations of international law and human rights abuses toward the indigenous Palestinian people. It is endorsed in South Africa by over 85 organizations and takes place in over 250 cities across the world.
In Cape Town, much of the activity will be centred at the University of Cape Town and the University of Stellenbosch.
UCT’s Palestine Solidarity Forum started off their IAW campaign with an evening celebrating Palestinian culture and heritage, together with a screening of the award-winning movie, OMAR.
“The Zionist narrative erases Palestine as a heritage, culture, tradition, and a people. To counter this erasure and dehumanisation, we will be celebrating the rich cultural history of Palestine with traditional Palestinian cuisine and music,” said UCT’s PSF.
This week’s events are not exclusively for students as IAW is a broad based campaign to get the public educated on the political and social impact of Israeli segregation policies.
Israel’s occupation and oppression of Palestine is generally understood as a process of physical violence and erecting barriers. However, what is often forgotten are the economic underpinings of the State of Israel and the capitalist agenda behind the regime.
As part of the international Israeli Apartheid Week, UCT Palestine Solidarity Forum will be hosting the South African Jews for a Free Palestine (SAJFP) and Micha Kurtz, an Israeli activist connecting through video.
They will be looking at the economics behind the expanding occupation by presenting a historical analysis of Israel’s political economy, showing the central role that the economy has played in the continued oppression of Palestine, and critically questioning the significance and implication of what a ‘peace settlement’ could mean.
This event takes place on Wednesday 9thMarch from 13:00 – 14:00 at AC Jordan Building (formerly the Arts Block).
UCT PSCF will also be hosting the esteemed Israeli academic and activist, Dr. Uri Davis on Thursday evening at 6pm in the lecture hall Leslie Social 2B.
Dr Davis grew up in the Israeli town of Kfar Shmariyahu and is today an Associate Professor at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, Palestine. He is an anthropologist who, in addition to a PhD in Philosophical Anthropology, also holds a BA in Arabic and Philosophy and an MA in Philosophy. Dr. Davis is an honorary research fellow at the University of Durham and at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.
Davis has been at the forefront of the defence of human rights in Israel-Palestine. He has published extensively and is best known for his book titled “Apartheid Israel: Possibilities for the Struggle Within” (Zed Books, London, 2003).
Maties students are hosting public lectures on Wednesday, 9 March 2016 at Tygerberg Medical Campus at 17:30 -19:00, as well as a flyer distribution and poetry session during lunchtime at the Stellenbosch campus.
The main event will be a public discussion between Prof. Uri Davis and Parliament speaker Baleka Mbete on Friday from 15:00 – 17:00. This takes place at SASOL Art Museum, Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch.
VOC (Umarah Hartley)