We fought apartheid; we see no reason to celebrate it in Israel now!
We, South Africans who faced the might of unjust and brutal apartheid machinery in South Africa and fought against it with all our strength, with the objective to live in a just, democratic society, refuse today to celebrate the existence of an Apartheid state in the Middle East. While Israel and its apologists around the world will, with pomp and ceremony, loudly proclaim the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel this month, we who have lived with and struggled against oppression and colonialism will, instead, remember 6 decades of catastrophe for the Palestinian people. 60 years ago, 750,000 Palestinians were brutally expelled from their homeland, suffering persecution, massacres, and torture. They and their descendants remain refugees. This is no reason to celebrate.
When we think of the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, we also remember the Deir Yassin massacre of 1948.
When we think of South Africa's Bantustan policy, we remember the bantustanisation of Palestine by the Israelis.
When we think of our heroes who languished on Robben Island and elsewhere, we remember the 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.
When we think of the massive land theft perpetrated against the people of South Africa, we remember that the theft of Palestinian land continues with the building of illegal Israeli settlements and the Apartheid Wall.
When we think of the Group Areas Act and other such apartheid legislation, we remember that 93% of the land in Israel is reserved for Jewish use only.
When we think of Black people being systematically dispossessed in South Africa, we remember that Israel uses ethnic and racial dispossession to strike at the heart of Palestinian life.
When we think of how the SADF troops persecuted our people in the townships, we remember that attacks from tanks, fighter jets and helicopter gunships are the daily experience of Palestinians in the Occupied Territory.
When we think of the SADF attacks against our neighbouring states, we remember that Israel deliberately destabilises the Middle East region and threatens international peace and security, including with its 100s of nuclear warheads.
We who have fought against Apartheid and vowed not to allow it to happen again can not allow Israel to continue perpetrating apartheid, colonialism and occupation against the indigenous people of Palestine.
We dare not allow Israel to continue violating international law with impunity.
We will not stand by while Israel continues to starve and bomb the people of Gaza.
We who fought all our lives for South Africa to be a state for all its people demand that millions of Palestinian refugees must be accorded the right to return to the homes from where they were expelled.
Apartheid was a gross violation of human rights. It was so in South Africa and it is so with regard to Israel's persecution of the Palestinians!
Ronnie Kasrils, Minister of Intelligence / End Occupation Campaign
Blade Nzimande, General Secretary, South African Communist Party
Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary, Congress of South African Trade Unions
Ahmed Kathrada, Nelson Mandela Foundation
Eddie Makue, General Secretary, South African Council of Churches
Makoma Lekalakala, Social Movements Indaba
Dale McKinley, Anti-Privatisation Forum
Lybon Mabasa, President, Socialist Party of Azania
Costa Gazi, Pan Africanist Congress of Azania
Jeremy Cronin, South African Communist Party
Sydney Mufamadi, Minister of Provincial and Local Government
Mosioua Terror Lekota, Minister of Safety and Security
Mosibudi Mangena, President, Azanian Peoples Organisation / Minister of Science and Technology
Alec Erwin, Minister of Public Enterprises
Essop Pahad, Minister in the Presidency
Enver Surty, Deputy Minister of Education
Roy Padayache, Deputy Minister of Communications
Derek Hanekom, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology
Rob Davies, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry
Lorretta Jacobus, Deputy Minister of Correctional Services
Sam Ramsamy, International Olympic Committee
Yasmin Sooka, Executive Director, Foundation for Human Rights
Pregs Govender, Feminist Activist and Author: Love and Courage, A Story of Insubordination
Adam Habib, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Johannesburg
Frene Ginwala, African National Congress
Salim Vally, Palestine Solidarity Committee
Na'eem Jeenah, Palestine Solidarity Committee
Brian Ashley, Amandla Publications
Mercia Andrews, Palestine Solidarity Group
Andile Mngxitama, land rights activist
Farid Esack, Professor of Contemporary Islam, Harvard University
Elinor Sisulu, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
Virginia Setshedi, Coalition Against Water Privatisation
Max Ozinsky, Not in my Name
Revd Basil Manning, Minister, United Congregational Church of Southern Africa
Firoz Osman, Media Review Network
Mphutlane wa Bofelo, General Secretary, Muslim Youth Movement
Steven Friedman, academic
Ighsaan Hendricks, President, Muslim Judicial Council
Iqbal Jassat, Media Review Network
Stiaan van der Merwe, Palestine Solidarity Committee
Naaziem Adam, Palestine Solidarity Alliance
Asha Moodley, Board member of Agenda feminist journal
Suraya Bibi Khan, Palestine Solidarity Alliance
Nazir Osman, Palestine Solidarity Alliance
Allan Horwitz, Jewish Voices
Jackie Dugard, legal and human rights activist
Professor Alan and Beata Lipman
Caroline O'Reilly, researcher
Shereen Mills, Human rights lawyer, Centre for Applied Legal Studies
Noor Nieftagodien, University of the Witwatersrand
Bobby Peek, Groundworks
Arnold Tsunga, Chair, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
Mcebisi Skwatsha, Provincial Secretary, ANC Western Cape
Owen Manda, Centre for Sociological Research, University of Johannesburg
Claire Cerruti, Keep Left
NB: Organisational affiliations above are for identification purposes only and do not necessarily reflect organisational endorsement
African National Congress
Al Quds Foundation
Anti-Privatisation Forum and its 28 affiliates
Azanian Peoples Organisation
Congress of South African Trade Unions
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
End Occupation Campaign
Media Review Network
Muslim Judicial Council
Muslim Youth Movement of South Africa
Not In My Name
Palestine Solidarity Alliance
Palestine Solidarity Committee
Palestine Solidarity Group
Social Movements Indaba
Socialist Party of Azania
South African Communist Party
South African Council of Churches