Israeli Apartheid Week came to an end yesterday in South Africa. The week was filled with raising awareness for the plight of the Palestinians and the apartheid state of Israel. I joined in on my first protest in Sandton, Johannesburg. It was incredibly exciting and I’m incredibly proud to have taken part.
The reason for the protest being in Sandton was due to an Israeli Trade Expo happening in the Convention Centre. The protest was legal, planned and peaceful. The aim to to ensure that that expo was the first and last of its kind.
We met at a park and then walked to the Convention Centre. I went alone, but saw a friend and made a few more. There were all kinds of people who joined in with the BDS, including families. It was quite remarkable to essentially have shut Sandton down.
On the walk, we were met by people who either stared in confusion, drove by very quickly and close to the protesters and those who slowed down to hoot in solidarity. Once we reached the centre, we were met by police and members of a private Israeli security force who were, in fact, not allowed to be there, and treated the protesters with an undertone of aggression.
There were an array of speakers from different organisations, singing and chanting “free free Palestine.” The speakers pleaded with those on the other side of the barrier to join in on ‘the right side of history’. People seem to assume that boycotting Isreali is anti-Semitic, but it has nothing to do with religion. The term Apartheid is not easily used in South Africa, a country who knows Apartheid all too well.
When I watched the news on TV, there was no coverage. More media attention needs to be directed towards this cause. Its crucial. Meanwhile, my list of companies to boycott has grown to more than just Woolworths and Pick ‘n Pay. Help in supporting by boycotting and raising awareness. The Israeli Apartheid Week may be over, but the apartheid itself continues.
*These photos and this post are based on my own account of the event.