6 Mar 2010
The 6th annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), from 1-7 March 2010, is being marked in 40 cities around the world this week. The clip above features journalist John Elmer and South Africa's Naeem Jeenah, Director of the Afro-Middle East Center, talking about the BDS (boycott, divestments, sanctions) campaign at a Toronto event on 01 March 2010.
The IAW is largely being observed via university based activities and lectures throughout the world, however, the South African chapter also includes a march to the Israeli embassy in Pretoria, organized by the Coalition for a Free Palestine with participation from Cosatu, the SACP, Azapo and the ANC.
In the clip above, Elmer talks about a shift in attitude amongst the Israeli leadership who realize that they have reached a crucial turning point in the conflict and that creating a Palestinian State has become an absolute necessity.
Jeenah talks about the history and experience of boycotts and sanctions in South Africa and the impact these had on dismantling the South African apartheid state. He says, optimistically, that the Palestinian BDS campaign appears to be growing at a faster pace than the 30-year effort against South Africa's apartheid state.
In an Al Jazeera report on IAW, Hazem Jamjoum, a Ramallah based organiser of IAW, reports that the BDS campaign has been very successful since its inception and shows great promise.
Quoting examples, he says, the Norwegian Pension Fund divested (US$6 million) from Elbit Systems, an Isreali security firm involved in the construction of the apartheid wall. Moreover, European financial institutions withdrew their support from French transportation company Veolia involved in building the "settler train," which connects Israeli settlements to the city of Jerusalem.
Recently, Denmark's largest financial institution, Danske Bank, divested from Africa Israel, a settlement construction company, as well as Elbit Systems.
In general, over 500 organizations have already endorsed the BDS campaign.