Trade union Cosatu, along with some of its health sector affiliates, have heaped pressured on the World Medical Association (WMA), urging it to expel its Israeli based counterpart, the Israeli Medical Association (IMA). Cosatu held a protest outside the WMA’s Annual General Assembly held in Durban on Friday morning. They were joined by the Islamic Medical Association and Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) South Africa, amongst others.
Cosatu national spokesperson, Patrick Craven, said the call was nothing new on the part of Cosatu, and was consistent with their long standing policy in solidarity with the people of Palestine. He said the protest served as part of their ongoing support for the BDS campaign.
According to Craven, the protest called for the IMA to be ostracized and excluded from WMA structure. This was in relation to its complicity in the “overall policies that the Israeli regime were abusing and exploiting.”
“We feel that we cannot make exceptions and decide to disassociate ourselves from some Israeli structures, and not others,” he said.
The Palestine solidarity movement has accused the IMA of contributing either “directly to maintaining, defending, or justifying oppression or wars”. The organisations claimed the IMA stood silently in the face of civilian deaths in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and saw the killing, harassment and wounding of Palestinian health professionals on duty; and the destruction of the Palestinian health systems.
Cosatu’s affiliates include the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) and the SA Medical Association (Sama).
Craven said the trade union felt it entirely necessary for action to be taken against any organization originating from within the state of Israel, with the exception of those in support of the Palestinian cause.
“Anyone that is in anyway associated with what we regard as the Apartheid policies by the Israeli government towards the Palestinian people (will be targeted). This is until the people of Palestine achieve their full right to national sovereignty and independence,” he explained.
Cosatu are not the only trade union movement in support of the Palestinian cause however. Craven said the campaign had garnered huge support amongst unions across the world, with many resolutions being taken at different union conferences.
“There is a growing realization that, just like Apartheid South Africa, Apartheid Israel is not going to be persuaded to change by argument and debate, but rather through economic sanctions,” he said.
He insisted that Cosatu would continue their pressure on Israeli companies, until the state chose to withdraw from the occupied territories, and stop abandon their military interventions. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)