Friday, 7 March 2014

'Israel apartheid week' events held at over 200 universities

A week of events organized to bring attention to Israel's practices and policies which resemble the South African race-based system known as apartheid were held at hundreds of universities from March 2nd to 7th 2014. Among the universities that held events this year was the Israeli Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where a photo exhibit documented some of the issues faced by Palestinians living under occupation.

The week of film screenings, cultural events, discussions and lectures was meant to draw attention to the parallels between the Israeli policies, including the more than fifty Israeli laws that explicitly discriminate against Palestinians; and the South African system of apartheid, which blatantly discriminated against black South Africans until it was abolished in 1994.

2014 marks the tenth year that students and activists have organized the week of action known as 'Israel Apartheid Week', and one of the biggest participants is South Africa, where the week of events will take place from March 10th to 16th.

According to South African organizers, “For us South Africans and our liberation, people of the world mobilized in their hundreds of thousands - if not millions - during the 1980s. Across the world people held protests, rallies, concerts, free Nelson Mandela events, lectures, film screenings and a host of other events, actions and campaigns to raise awareness of Apartheid South Africa's racist policies and to build support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Apartheid South Africa. Today we have an opportunity to 'give-back' by joining the growing international movement in solidarity with the indigenous Palestinian people (and their progressive Israeli allies) who are struggling against Israeli Apartheid.”

The South African organizers of the campaign to end Israeli apartheid-like practices and policies also note, “Hendrik Verwoerd, the architect of Apartheid, said in 1963: 'Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state'”, adding, “In 2009, in a 300-page report commissioned by the South African government, the SA Human Sciences Research Council found that Israel is practicing a form of apartheid. This position was then confirmed by the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, which sat in Cape Town in November 2011. In March 2012 the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination made similar findings, and last month, on the 31st of January 2013, the United Nations Human Rights Council released a scathing report in Geneva, Switzerland, on the state of human rights in Israel, finding that a form of 'institutionalized discrimination' is practiced by Israel.”

In cities around the world, multiple events have been organized as part of Israeli Apartheid Week. In Toronto Canada, students organized a number of film screenings and discussions, including a discussion on 'Pinkwashing, Homonationalism and Love under the time of Apartheid'. Universities from Paris, France to Sao Paolo Brazil have put together educational events and symposiums. more

Iran: Israel fabricated Gaza weapons claim

JAKARTA (AFP) -- Iran's foreign minister on Friday sharply rejected an Israeli allegation that Tehran tried to ship missiles to the Gaza Strip, calling it a "lie".

Israel has said it captured a Gaza-bound ship Wednesday carrying dozens of Syrian-made rockets "capable of striking anywhere in Israel".

The raid coincided with a high-profile US trip by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with US President Barack Obama for discussions on a Middle East peace deal.

"Netanyahu is in Washington ... and all of a sudden as a godsend, they capture a ship from Iran with missiles. Just a coincidence?" Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said during an official visit to Jakarta.

"If Netanyahu is a saint and can produce miracles I believe the Israelis themselves will be amused by that," he said.

"So if you cannot believe in miracles by Netanyahu, the only thing that you can believe is that this is a lie. And it is a lie."

The Israeli raid targeted a Panamanian-flagged ship in the Red Sea between Eritrea and Sudan. more