South African youth and students have slammed what they call “Israel propaganda holiday trips”. This was the call at a press conference on Thursday, called by BDS South Africa and the Progressive Youth Alliance. National and provincial leaders of the ANC Youth League, SASCO, and COSAS were also in attendance at the meeting convened in Johannesburg. The groups claim the Israeli lobby is throwing free holidays and other gifts at young South Africans trying to undermine solidarity with the Palestinian people.
“Participation in these trips to Israel is a violation of our policies as an organisation,” Kwara Kekana spokesperson for BDS South Africa explained.
The groups have said that these trips are in fact a ploy by the Israeli government to undermine solidarity shown to the Palestinian people by South African organisations.
The holidays apparently shows Israel is a favourable light by taking groups around Israel and avoiding the areas that are suffering most as a result of the occupation, namely Gaza and the West Bank.
“They are shown an unfair and uneven picture of the Israeli conflict,” Ntuthuko Makhombothi president of SASCO noted.
Makhombothi also noted that people in leadership within these organisations have been invited on these so called propaganda holidays.
Participation in these trips have been condemned by the various student and youth organisation that have stated that they stand in solidarity with Palestine and have outspokenly disapproved of the ongoing occupation of Palestine.
“It will be viewed as a crossing of the picket line and it will be met by disciplinary action by the various organisations,” Kenkane went further.
“We do not want the student body as a whole to be misled and to propagate upon return from these trips the incorrect idea that Israel is a democratic state,” Makhombothi added.
Those who participate in these trips under the auspices of the organisation, to which they belong, will face disciplinary action by the organisations and various organisations have varied disciplinary codes.
“Under SASCO, the member will have to appear before a disciplinary hearing to explain their actions, Makhombothi explained, adding that further action will be taken from there.
The organisations further explained that the companies involved in funding these trips have been complicit in the occupation by aiding the Israeli government in the building of the Apartheid wall that separates the West Bank from the rest of the occupied zone.
All the organisations present at the meeting namely, African National Congress Youth League (ANC Youth League) the South African Students Congress (SASCO), the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) and the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA) the youth wing of the SACP as well as Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions South Africa (BDS) have shared the same the same view on this issue, according to Makhombothi.
“If you want to understand the Palestinian question then you should not be privy to this kind of propaganda,” Makhombothi concluded. VOC (Umarah Hartley)