South African Zionists often question pro-Palestinian activists on why they single out Israel amongst all the international causes in the world. We are asked, why Israel? Why not Iran or Syria? Of course, valid responses are simply dismissed. In the Zionist mind, individuals and groups have the unquestionable right to choose any cause, as long as it is not Israel. But what is it that makes Israel so important to the consciousness of individuals, student organisations, academics, religious organisations, political parties and the labour movement in South Africa? The answer to this question lies in the deep ties in South African and Palestinian history.
Mandela’s words have stood the test of time. In a 2007 report, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Palestine, John Dugard, stated, elements of the Israeli occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law. In 2009 South Africa’s Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) published a legal study finding that, the State of Israel exercises control in the Occupied Palestinian Territories with the purpose of maintaining a system of domination by Jews over Palestinians and that this system constitutes a breach of the prohibition of apartheid.
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