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IAW to intensify debate on Israeli policies

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Israel’s apartheid system will be placed firmly on the national agenda when the 13th Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) campaign kicks off from the 5th – 12 March. IAW is an annual international series of self-organized events held in over 250 cities, communities and campuses across the globe. The solidarity event raises awareness of Israel’s apartheid policies towards the indigenous Palestinians.

IAW is endorsed, in South Africa alone, by more than 105 organizations, trade unions, embassies, youth movements and other groups including South Africa’s governing party, the country’s largest student formation and SA’s largest trade union federation.

While most IAW activities have traditionally taken place at university campuses, the campaign has been diverse and seen the participation from various racial and religious groups. Last year, a group of Jewish Israelis wrote an open letter urging South Africans in general and members of the South African Jewish community in particular to participate in IAW. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem also wrote a letter to South African Muslims and clergy to participate in the initiative.

This year’s event has been endorsed by the Muslim Judicial Council in Cape Town. VOC will host a special IAW programme on Tuesday 7th March featuring various pro-Palestinian activists.

Some of the national events:
-Former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe will participate in a panel discussion titled “Reflections on Palestine” on Sunday 5 March at 10h30 at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg
– ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte will deliver a public lecture on Tuesday 7 March at 17h00 in Klerksdorp in the North West
-South African artist, Cassper Nyovest is to perform at an IAW concert on Friday 10 March at Wits University in Johannesburg

This year’s international guest for Israeli Apartheid Week is human rights activist Pedro Charbel from Brazil. Charbel, the BDS Coordinator for Latin America, will share successes and current campaigns coming out of Latin America as well as explore ways to strengthen relations between South America and between activists from BRICS countries on the issue of BDS and Palestinian solidarity.

He is deployed to South America by the BDS National Committee (BNC) based in Ramallah which is the head office of the international BDS movement. The BNC is the largest Palestinian civil society coalition that leads the BDS movement and has often been compared to the 1980s United Democratic Front. VOC

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