The leader of South Africa’s parliament, the Honourable Baleka Mbete (Speaker of the National Assembly) has sent a message of support to the 6th Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) conference, organized by the BNC, that took place in Palestine last week.
Issued by Tisetso Magama on behalf of BDS South Africa
In her message, Honourable Mbete said:
“The Palestinian struggle is our struggle, we come from the same trenches and we share the same values. We recall with fondness the generosity of spirit displayed by the Palestinians during the 1980s when we shared whatever we had – resources, military training and other forms of solidarity.
South Africans stand shoulder to shoulder with you, the Cubans and all oppressed peoples of the world. We do it out of our shared commitment to internationalism and our belief in a just world.
South Africans under the ANC government are consistent and unequivocal in our support to the Palestinians since our democratic dispensation. Our President recently confirmed our position of a downgraded embassy in Tel Aviv. We know that more needs to be done and we will continue to stick to our anti-imperialist stance until a truly free Palestine is realised
We are thrilled to hear news of the growth of the non-violent BDS movement and how an increasing number of churches, student bodies, pension funds and others are adopting positions in line with the BDS movement. As South Africans we are fully aware of the strength, power, muscle and ability of the sanctions movement.
We wish you well in your upcoming deliberations and look forward to its outcomes together with direction to us on how you would like us to continuously champion your struggle.”
The call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) was issued in 2005 by the Palestinians as a non-violent method to hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law and human rights abuses. It was inspired by the successful isolation campaign of Apartheid South Africa. The BDS movement is backed internationally by prominent figures, including our own Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu and has gained support the world over of trade unions, academic associations, political parties, churches, grassroots movements, the LGBTQI community, student formations, artists and celebrities. It is also increasingly supported by progressive Jewish groups, including in Israel itself.
The BNC, which is based in Ramallah, is the head office of the international BDS movement. It is the largest coalition of Palestinian organisations and includes representatives from Palestinain political parties, civil society, trade unions, women’s groups, youth movements, student bodies etc.
We salute our National Speaker, our governing party and our parliament for consistently supporting international struggles including the championing of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli Apartheid.