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Pro-Palestinian supporters welcome the decision of the South African Rugby Union (SARU)

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By Kouthar Sambo

Pro-Palestinian supporters welcome the decision of the South African Rugby Union (SARU) to withdraw its invitation to the Israeli rugby team, “Tel Aviv Heat.”

Furthermore, the withdrawal was announced on February 3 after the public was up in arms about the news.

“It is hard to believe that a rugby union could think that they could get away with inviting a team from apartheid Israel to participate in a local competition, or even globally speaking where people aren’t aware of the nature, settler colony, that pertains in the middle east. For years people have been calling for a boycott and sanctions in Israel to pressure them to accept the rights of the Palestinians,” says Noor Nieftagodien, South African Research Chair in Local Histories, who went on to say that SARU owes the public an explanation.

“Even though SARU has withdrawn the invitation, they are still required to explain why they extended this invitation in the first place. One could speculate many reasons why, but for a rugby union or any sporting coach in South Africa to invite a team from Apartheid Israel to compete in a local competition is absurd.”

On the flip side, some strongly feel that the escalating oppression and genocide imposed on Palestinians for more than 70 years are worse than the South African Apartheid regime.

“The Israeli armed forces harass and kill Palestinians in prison. We have seen the stitching together of the right-wing government in Israel where members of that government celebrated the deaths of Palestinians, openly calls for the expulsion of Palestinians and more land grabs in Palestine – this is a violent vicious right-wing regime that is worse than what happened under apartheid,” Nieftagodien reiterates.

He went on to elaborate on the importance of imposing sanctions on Israel as a collective and urge the public to be mindful in minute ways in a consumer-driven society, “These are small decisions, and while those individual acts don’t make a difference on their own, it multiplies across the world where millions of people pull their weight.”

Photo: Pixabay

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