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  • Protests against Isreal.

    Protests against Isreal. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 January 2018

South Africa's ANC Western Cape chapter said many of their senior government officials "are vocal public supporters of Palestine."

The African National Congress, ANC, has informed Israel that backlisting individuals in favor of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, BDS, movement has only strengthened the ANC's resolve to support the people of Palestine.

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"In the ANC-led South Africa, many of our ministers and other senior government officials, including members of parliament, premiers, mayors and others are vocal public supporters of Palestine, and many have addressed BDS events," said the provincial ANC chapter in Western Cape.

The statement goes on to state "our resolutions and policies mandate our deployees in government to carry Palestine solidarity within their government portfolios," adding that the ANC's inclusion on the list is “an attack on South Africans and the ANC.”

It concluded that “the hypocrisy of the Israeli government and its lobby groups who talk of 'mediating and talking' when they ban and blacklist peaceful human rights organisations has been exposed."

In 2014, the ANC resolved to support the "call for a cultural, academic and education boycott of Israel," according to IOL.

The BDS movement, similar to the international boycott against South Africa during apartheid, is a global movement that is pressuring Israel to bring an end to its illegal occupation of Palestinian land and its oppression of Palestinians.

In response, Israel published an already-existing list of BDS groups that are banned from entering the Isreal-Palestine territory. The list includes BDS South Africa, which comprises a number of ANC members and social activists, the UK's Palestine Solidarity Campaign, of which Jeremy Corbyn is a patron and former chair, and others. However, the Israeli government has refused to reveal the full list of individual BDS supporters who are also on the travel ban.

Corbyn, the leader of the opposition UK Labour Party, condemned the published list.

Commenting on The Electronic Intifada, Corbyn's spokesperson wrote, “Jeremy is concerned by reports that activists campaigning for justice for Palestinians, against illegal settlements and the ongoing occupation have been barred from Israel.”

Other governmental bodies are also taking similar positions in support of the BDS movement. Recently, the New Orleans City Council unanimously passed a resolution proposed by the New Orleans Palestinian Solidarity Committee, an organization within the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, requiring a review of companies' human rights records for all city contracts.

Resolution 18-5 "encourages the creation of a process to review direct investments and contracts for inclusion on, or removal from, the city’s list of corporate securities and contractual partners,” and was introduced by Mayor-elect Latoya Cantrell with five of the seven council members as co-sponsors.

Although it doesn't mention Israel or Israeli violations of Palestinian's human rights, activists argue the measure is by the BDS movement as it based on the same principles of adherence to international statutes that prohibit the perpetuation of human rights violations. 

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