We, South Africans who faced the might of unjust and brutal apartheid machinery in South Africa and fought against it with all our strength, with the objective to live in a just, democratic society, refuse today to celebrate the existence of an Apartheid state in the Middle East. While Israel and its apologists around the world will, with pomp and ceremony, loudly proclaim the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel this month, we who have lived with and struggled against oppression and colonialism will, instead, remember 6 decades of catastrophe for the Palestinian people. 60 years ago, 750,000 Palestinians were brutally expelled from their homeland, suffering persecution, massacres, and torture. They and their descendants remain refugees. This is no reason to celebrate.
When we think of the Sharpeville massacre of 1960,
we also remember the Deir Yassin massacre of 1948.
When we think of South Africa’s Bantustan policy,
we remember the bantustanisation of Palestine by the Israelis.
When we think of our heroes who languished on Robben Island and elsewhere,
we remember the 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.
When we think of the massive land theft perpetrated against the people of South Africa,
we remember that the theft of Palestinian land continues with the building of illegal Israeli settlements and the Apartheid Wall.
When we think of the Group Areas Act and other such apartheid legislation,
we remember that 93% of the land in Israel is reserved for Jewish use only.
When we think of Black people being systematically dispossessed in South Africa,
we remember that Israel uses ethnic and racial dispossession to strike at the heart of Palestinian life.
When we think of how the SADF troops persecuted our people in the townships,
we remember that attacks from tanks, fighter jets and helicopter gunships are the daily experience of Palestinians in the Occupied Territory.
When we think of the SADF attacks against our neighbouring states,
we remember that Israel deliberately destabilises the Middle East region and threatens international peace and security, including with its 100s of nuclear warheads.
We who have fought against Apartheid and vowed not to allow it to happen again can not allow Israel to continue perpetrating apartheid, colonialism and occupation against the indigenous people of Palestine.
We dare not allow Israel to continue violating international law with impunity.
We will not stand by while Israel continues to starve and bomb the people of Gaza.
We who fought all our lives for South Africa to be a state for all its people demand that millions of Palestinian refugees must be accorded the right to return to the homes from where they were expelled.
Apartheid was a gross violation of human rights. It was so in South Africa and it is so with regard to Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians!
- Ronnie Kasrils, Minister of Intelligence / End Occupation Campaign
- Blade Nzimande, General Secretary, South African Communist Party
- Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary, Congress of South African Trade Unions
- Ahmed Kathrada, former Robben Island prisoner
- Eddie Makue, General Secretary, South African Council of Churches
- Makoma Lekalakala, Social Movements Indaba
- Dale McKinley, Anti-Privatisation Forum
- Lybon Mabasa, President, Socialist Party of Azania
- Costa Gazi, Pan Africanist Congress of Azania
- Jeremy Cronin, South African Communist Party
- Mosibudi Mangena, President, Azanian Peoples Organisation / Minister of Science and Technology
- Pallo Jordan, Minister of Arts and Culture
- Sydney Mufamadi, Minister of Provincial and Local Government
- Mosioua Terror Lekota, Minister of Safety and Security
- Alec Erwin, Minister of Public Enterprises
- Essop Pahad, Minister in the Presidency
- Enver Surty, Deputy Minister of Education
- Roy Padayache, Deputy Minister of Communications
- Derek Hanekom, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology
- Rob Davies, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry
- Lorretta Jacobus, Deputy Minister of Correctional Services
- Sam Ramsamy, International Olympic Committee
- Enver Motala, Educationist
- Yasmin Sooka, Executive Director, Foundation for Human Rights / Former commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
- Pregs Govender, Feminist Activist and Author: Love and Courage, A Story of Insubordination
- Adam Habib, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Johannesburg
- Frene Ginwala, African National Congress
- Salim Vally, Palestine Solidarity Committee
- Na’eem Jeenah, Palestine Solidarity Committee
- Brian Ashley, Amandla Publications
- Mercia Andrews, Palestine Solidarity Group
- Andile Mngxitama, land rights activist
- Ben Turok, Minister of Parliament
- Patrick Bond, Centre for Civil Society, University of Kwazulu- Natal
- Farid Esack, Professor of Contemporary Islam, Harvard University
- Dennis Goldberg, former political prisoner
- Elinor Sisulu, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
- Andre Zaaiman
- Virginia Setshedi, Coalition Against Water Privatisation
- Max Ozinsky, Not in my Name
- Revd Basil Manning, Minister, United Congregational Church of Southern Africa
- Firoz Osman, Media Review Network
- Zapiro, cartoonist
- Mphutlane wa Bofelo, General Secretary, Muslim Youth Movement
- Steven Friedman, academic
- Ighsaan Hendricks, President, Muslim Judicial Council
- Iqbal Jassat, Media Review Network
- Stiaan van der Merwe, Palestine Solidarity Committee
- Naaziem Adam, Palestine Solidarity Alliance
- Asha Moodley, Board member of Agenda feminist journal
- Suraya Bibi Khan, Palestine Solidarity Alliance
- Nazir Osman, Palestine Solidarity Alliance
- Allan Horwitz, Jewish Voices
- Jackie Dugard, legal and human rights activist
- Professor Alan
- Beata Lipman
- Caroline O’Reilly, researcher
- Jane Lipman
- Shereen Mills, Human rights lawyer, Centre for Applied Legal Studies
- Noor Nieftagodien, University of the Witwatersrand
- Bobby Peek, groundwork, Friends of the Earth
- Arnold Tsunga, Chair, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
- Mcebisi Skwatsha, Provincial Secretary, ANC Western Cape
- Owen Manda, Centre for Sociological Research, University of Johannesburg
- Claire Cerruti, Keep Left
- Cassiem Khan
- Duduzile Masango, Ecumenical Accompanier Programme, Palestine/Israel.
- Lubna Nadvi, University of Kwazulu Natal
- Syed Aftab Haider, Ahlul Bait Foundation of South Africa
- Rassool Snyman, Palestine Support Committee
- Suleman Dangor, University of Kwazulu Natal
- Zaithoon Maziya, African Muslim Network
- Asif Essop – Anti-Racism Education Forum
- Patrick Mkhize, Steel Mining and Commercial Workers Union
- Zeib Jeeva, Treasurer, International Development and Relief Foundation
- Sheila Barsel, Not In My Name
NB: Organisational affiliations above are for identification purposes only and do not necessarily reflect organisational endorsement.
- Al Quds Foundation
- Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF) and its 28 affiliates
- Anti-Racism Education Forum
- Azanian Peoples Organisation (Azapo)
- Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)
- Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
- End Occupation Campaign
- groundWork, Friends of the Earth
- Media Review Network (MRN)
- Muslim Judicial Council (MJC)
- Muslim Youth Movement of South Africa (MYM)
- Not In My Name
- Palestine Solidarity Alliance
- Palestine Solidarity Committee
- Palestine Solidarity Group
- Palestine Support Committee
- Social Movements Indaba (SMI)
- Socialist Party of Azania (SOPA)
- South African Communist Party (SACP)
- South African Council of Churches (SACC)
- Workers Organisation for Sociliast Action (WOSA)