The idea that Israel is an apartheid society — which is a completely false one — is made to seem legitimate by the involvement of those who fought against a genuinely apartheid regime. That’s why the South African unions are so important to the fight to demonise and delegitimise Israel.
The first week of March is International Israel Apartheid Week, which apparently began in Canada five years ago. But as this statement issued by COSATU shows, South African unions now play the leading role in efforts to isolate the Jewish state.
A careful reading of the statement, and an awareness of recent history, is a chilling experience.
For example, COSATU encourages South Africans “to isolate all organizations and individuals doing business with Israel and its supporters” — a clear reference to the country’s Jewish community.
Last winter, anti-Israel demonstrations in South Africa specifically targeted Jewish, and not Israeli, institutions. COSATU’s own international affairs officer, Bongani Masuku, engaged in openly anti-Semitic agitation during that period and yet remains at his post.
While it is entirely legitimate to criticise Israeli policies and actions, efforts to stigmatise Israel as being an apartheid society contribute nothing towards peace in the Middle East and should be resisted by all those who want genuine reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis.