June 09, 2006

COSATU president: Israel is an apartheid state

This report is from Ronen Odoni in Ynet (Yediot Ahranot). COSATU have published a letter expressing support for the CUPE boycott.
In his letter, COSATU president Willie Madisha hailed the Canadian group’s initiative: “With great pride, I congratulate CUPE Ontario for their historic resolution on May 27th in support of the Palestinian people - those living under occupation and those millions of Palestinian refugees living in the Diaspora. We fully support your resolution.

“As someone who lived in apartheid South Africa and who has visited Palestine I say with confidence that Israel is an apartheid state. In fact, I believe that some of the atrocities committed against the Palestinians pale in comparison to those committed by the erstwhile apartheid regime in South Africa,”* Madisha wrote.
He went on to condemn the wall and Israel's playing of the antisemitism card:
According to the letter, “The latest outrage by the apartheid Israeli regime-the construction of the hideous Apartheid Wall-condemned by the International Court of Justice- extends the occupation of Palestinian lands, disrupts the already precarious economic, social, health and education well being of an entire people.”

Medisha further accuses world powers are turning a blind eye from such injustices because they “are seduced by apartheid Israel's justification
of brutality through the pretext of 'security'.” He claims that the West silences any criticism of Israel citing anti-Semitism. “It is time for the global workers movement to stand firm and principled against hypocrisy and double standards. We cannot remain silent any longer. There will be no peace in this region and in the world, without justice,” the letter proclaims.
He noted the importance of international solidarity and the other side of the solidarity coin which was Israel's support for apartheid in South Africa:
He recalls how workers around the world support the struggle against South African apartheid through boycotts, divestments and sanctions which “hastened our march to democracy.”

“In the face of an intransigent, arrogant, racist and brutal Israeli state, this strategy of isolation should be applied to Israel as well. It is a peaceful option,” the letter asserts.

In the letter, Madisha recalls Israel’s support for the South African apartheid regime, noting that his organization calls on Israel to respect international law, the right of return for refugees, and the elected Palestinian government.

He lauds the “courage and vision” of CUPE Ontario. “Your unwavering resolve inspires us, we who lived through decades of apartheid oppression, as it will undoubtedly inspire and endear you to millions of Palestinian and other freedom loving people throughout the world,” he says.
This won't last for long but if you google the word "boycott," two out of the top three articles are on the Israel boycott. The single word "boycott" will now come to be associated with Israel's apartheid policies and the international opposition to them.

*UPDATE: Roland Rance has pointed out that the COSATU president, Willie Madisha, actually said the following:
In fact, I believe that some of the atrocities committed by the erstwhile apartheid regime in South Africa pale in comparison to those committed against the Palestinians.
So South Africans and Palestians got transposed. Now how could that happen? Roland has suggested going to the original source, ie the COSATU website, rather than rely on a zionist source. Who can argue with that? So try this.


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