The 17th annual Israeli Apartheid Week is being observed under the theme ‘#UnitedAgainstRacism’ from March 14 to March 21, 2021.
Zahid Jadwat │ 15 February 2021 │13:19 SAST
The 17th annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is well underway as activists from around the world call for an end to racial discrimination, colonialism, and apartheid. This year, the campaign will be observed under the theme ‘#UnitedAgainstRacism’.
The campaign for Palestinian freedom, justice, and equality, has garnered much support in hundreds of events planned across the globe every year since 2004. However, events will unfold differently this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and regulations that have restricted activities in public spaces.
Siyabulela Mama, an activist at the SA Academic Network Against Apartheid Israel and a member of the SA BDS Coalition, explained that the theme ‘#UnitedAgainstRacism’ was chosen in the context of increased racism and was inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
This year, the campaign will be observed from March 14, until March 21, 2021 via a series of events split between pickets on the ground and virtual activities. In one of the events planned for South Africa, activists will participate in a picket outside the United States Consulate on March 18.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement says there has been an increase in racism and other human rights issues in recent months. It added that the plight of vulnerable communities has increased as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have seen how people in the Global South and people of colour, political prisoners, unhoused people, migrants, and refugees, among many others, have suffered from the scourge of COVID19, which has further exacerbated their vulnerability.”
Siyabulela Mama said that unemployment and a rise in inequality in Palestine has been overlooked since the Oslo Accord: “After the Oslo Accord, we’ve started to see foreign direct investment in Israel but the rise of unemployment in Palestine has been overlooked. Looking at what the Oslo Accord has normalised, it’s racism.”
Mama said that the campaign against Israel is a human rights issue rather than one of anti-Semitism: “The minute you critique Apartheid Israel, you are deemed as being anti-Semitic, which is not true. It is a scapegoat to avoid accountability and facing reality. This is not an anti-Semitic issue – it is a human rights issue.”
Watch the full interview below: