Middle East Monitor / December 10, 2021
The founder of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS), Omar Barghouti, sent a letter to the world, (Rai al-Youm). The letter stated that “Enforcement of international punitive measures against the Israeli colonial, settler, military, occupying and apartheid regime, like the measures that were enforced against the apartheid regime in South Africa, became an urgent need.”
Barghouti said: “In 1994, I participated with millions around the world in celebrations of ending the apartheid regime in South Africa. Any one of us who was engaged in the international boycott of South Africa, even a little, saw how Nelson Mandela, with teary eyes, became the President of free South Africa. We are still proud that we were a part of this glorious history.”
He continued: “Now, after 27 years, an international solidarity movement gives us hope of dismantling the Israeli colonial, settler, military, occupying and apartheid regime. All this is to obtain, as Palestinians, freedom, justice and equality. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, which I contributed towards, at its foundation in 2005, proved that it is the most influential among the world solidarity means to our liberation movement.”
In his letter, the founding member stressed that “Enforcement of international punitive measures against the settler colonial regime and Israeli apartheid, like the measures that were enforced against the apartheid system in South Africa, became an urgent need.” Noting that, at the same time, these punitive measures start with the banning of the military, security and espionage exchange with Israel, in addition to all firms and foundations complicit with it. This necessitates the development of our popular power to put pressure on parliaments and governments in order to request the United Nations to investigate the Israeli apartheid regime that violates the rights of the indigenous Palestinian people. This mission became easier than ever, especially after the confirmation by human rights organizations such as “B’Tselem” and “Human Rights Watch” about what the Palestinian human rights experts declared decades before – that Israel is an apartheid state.
He added: “Many great movements that strive for social, ethnic and environmental justice like several progressive parties and labour unions, that represent a total of tens of millions of people around the world acknowledge that Israel must be held accountable, according to the same standards in international law as any other state that commits crimes against humanity.”
In addition to the above, Barghouti said, “South Africa and Namibia, like hundreds of leaders in the global south, supported the United Nations investigation into Israel’s commission of the Apartheid crime. In October, the British Labour Party conference denounced Israeli Apartheid, calling for a military embargo on it. The conference also asserted the Palestinian refugees’ right to return. A number of progressive members of the US Congress also turned the tables through their preliminary denouncement of Israeli Apartheid and their request to restrict military support for Israel.”
In his letter, Barghouti concluded, “Our South African moment is approaching, and will be achieved when our people’s power reaches its peak, forming a major turning point at which elected officials are forced, for political reasons and not just for moral ones, to adopt the sanctions against Israel so that they can be on the right side of this great historic event,” as he put it.