Category Archives: South Africa

SAMWU condemns the actions of Israel

SAMWU condemns the actions of Israel

Press Statement     7th March 2008     10am

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union has vowed to intensify its campaign to force municipalities in the country not to have any trade dealings with Israel.

SAMWU firmly believes that Israel is an apartheid state that needs to be isolated and the perpetrators of human rights violations, prosecuted. The union utterly condemns Israel’s latest massacre of over 125 people in the Gaza Strip, including babies and toddlers, and Israel’s bombing this week of the offices of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions.

The union is appalled and disgusted that Israel has turned the Gaza Strip into a concentration camp, exactly like the ones in Nazi Germany. SAMWU is also appalled and disgusted that the West Bank has been bantustanised by the Apartheid Wall into ten tiny disconnected pieces, exactly as South Africa was under apartheid.

SAMWU also notes that the media has refused to cover COSATU’s earlier statement condemning the Israeli massacres of Palestinians in Gaza.

SAMWU is going to intensify pressure on the ANC led government to place diplomatic and economic sanctions against Israel.

SAMWU further calls for Nuremburg trials for the Israeli masterminds of the latestPalestinian massacres. Furthermore, we support the Palestinians’ right to resist the ghastly Israeli colonisation.

We call on our government, being a member of the UN Security Council, to demand:

*    That the United Nations set up a special tribunal to bring the perpetrators of human rights violations before a court of law;
*    that Israel immediately withdraws all Israeli Occupation Forces from Gaza and ends the occupation of Palestinian land;
*    that Israel abides by international humanitarian and human rights law, and refrains from imposing collective punishment on Palestinian civilians (as per the UN Human Rights Council declaration issued on 6 July 2006);
*    that Israel releases all detained Palestinian ministers and legislators and releases all Palestinian  political prisoners — including hundreds of women and children;
*    that the United Nations implements the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on Israel’s Apartheid wall;
*    that Israel fulfills its obligations in terms of international law;
*    international protection of Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian Territory


For comment, please call Mthandeki Nhlapo, SAMWU General Secretary on Xolile Nxu, SAMWU First Vice-President on 0767549331

COSATU Press Statement: COSATU condemns Israeli massacres

South African Municipal Workers’ Union | March 3, 2008

COSATU Press Statement: COSATU condemns Israeli massacres

The Congress of South African Trade Unions is outraged and disgusted at the latest massacres by the Israeli Occupation Forces in Gaza, which have claimed an estimated 100 Palestinian lives in the past five days alone, most of them civilian women and children. The Israelis have even targeted ambulances, trapping the injured people inside.There can be absolutely no justification for such brutality. While United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon has rightly condemned the violence as a “disproportionate and excessive use of force”, that is too mild; COSATU sees the Israeli attacks as nothing less than mass murder, an escalation of the ongoing genocidal campaign to crush and destroy the people of Palestine.

COSATU reaffirms its 2006 National Congress resolution which pledged solidarity and support to the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom, and demanded that:

Our government should impose sanctions against Israel until the aggression on Palestine and Lebanon is stopped.

We should step up the campaign for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

COSATU members must boycott Israeli goods and demonstrations must be held at the embassies of Israel and the United States in South Africa.

The government must end with immediate affect the diplomatic ties with Israel including recalling the ambassador.

COSATU will support any moves by the South African government to promote peace in the Middle East and advance the struggle of the oppressed people of Palestine for national sovereignty and human rights, and appeals to the workers of the world to take to the streets to show their disgust at these Israel atrocities and demonstrate their solidarity with legitimate fight of the oppressed masses of Palestine.

Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard Streets
Braamfontein, 2017

Posted on 04-03-2008

Beatles, don’t let it be! Palestinian Dispossession and Israeli Apartheid are no Cause for Celebration (PACBI)


February 2, 2008

Beatles, don’t let it be! Palestinian Dispossession and Israeli Apartheid are no Cause for Celebration

Open Letter to the Beatles

Forty-three years ago, the government of Israel banned your performance in the country for fear you would corrupt the minds of Israeli youth. Now, Israel is extending an apology and an invitation to you, hoping you will forget the past and agree to help celebrate its 60th “birthday.” The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) urges you to say no to Israel, particularly since the creation of this state 60 years ago dispossessed and uprooted hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes and lands, condemning them to a life of exile and destitution.There is no reason to celebrate! Israel at 60 is a state that is still denying Palestinian refugees their UN-sanctioned rights, simply because they are “non-Jews.” It is still illegally occupying Palestinian and other Arab lands, in violation of numerous UN resolutions. It is still persistently and grossly breaching international law and infringing fundamental human rights with impunity afforded to it through munificent US and European economic, diplomatic and political support. It is still treating its own Palestinian citizens with institutionalized discrimination.

Now, more than ever, Israel is committing horrific war crimes, especially in the occupied Gaza Strip, where its illegal and immoral policy of collective punishment — through a hermetic military siege and an almost complete blockage of fuel, electric power, and even food and medicine — is pushing 1.5 million Palestinian civilians to the brink of starvation. Without electricity, incubators are shutting down; hospitals are fast coming to a standstill; water is not being properly purified nor separated from raw sewage; whatever is left from the local economy is undergoing a meltdown; and the most vulnerable sectors of the population, the children, the elderly, and the acutely ill, are languishing under unspeakable hardships. Do you see any reason to celebrate?

Israel’s military occupation — the longest in modern history — is not an abstract notion to us. It manifests itself in wilful killings of civilians, particularly children; wanton demolition of homes and property; uprooting of more than a million fruitful trees; incessant theft of land and water resources; denial of freedom of movement to millions; and cutting up the occupied Palestinian territory into Bantustans, some entirely caged by walls, fences and hundreds of roadblocks.

In light of the above, performing in Israel at this time is morally equivalent to performing in South Africa at the height of the apartheid era. Indeed, Israel has created a worse system of apartheid than anything that ever existed in South Africa, according to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights Prof. John Dugard, and South African government minister Ronnie Kasrils, among others.

In 2005, inspired by the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, Palestinian civil society called for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) [1] against Israel until it fully complies with international law and recognizes the fundamental human rights of the people of Palestine. A specific call for cultural boycott of Israel [2] was issued a year later, garnering wide support. Among the many groups and institutions that have heeded the Palestinian boycott calls and started to consider or apply diverse forms of effective pressure on Israel are the British University and College Union (UCU); the two largest trade unions in the UK; the Church of England; the Presbyterian Church (USA); prominent British architects; the British National Union of Journalists (NUJ); the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU); the South African Council of Churches; the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario; Aosdana, the Irish state-sponsored academy of artists; celebrated authors, artists and intellectuals led by John Berger; and Palme d’Or winner director Ken Loach.

We strongly urge you to uphold the values of freedom, equality and just peace for all by joining this growing boycott against Israeli apartheid. Nothing less would do justice to the legendary legacy of the Beatles.




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Posted on 02-02-2008

Israel, South Africa, Apartheid and The Labor Movement

Educational Forum/Video Screening

Israel, South Africa, Apartheid and The Labor Movement
Sunday October 21, 2007
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

$5.00 Donation Requested (no one turned away due to lack of funds)

New College Cultural Center
766 Valencia St./19th St. San Francisco

There is a growing movement worldwide among labor to take direct
action against the policies of Israel on the Palestinians. This forum
will look at the relationship between Israel and South Africa and why
trade unionists in South Africa and Canada are taking action to
support a economic boycott of Israel. We will also look at the history
of the AFL-CIO and it’s relationship with Israel.


Iliam Burbano
Canadian Union of Public Employees-Ontario Division
CUPE Ontario’s International Solidarity Committee.
President of CUPE Local 3393

Robert Mashego (invited)
Vice President South African Transportation and Allied Workers

Hassam el-Hamalay
Labor Journalist
Cairo, Egypt

Videos: The Mall

The Wisconsin Plan: From Welfare to Work? (13 min) 2007 by Sawt
el-Anel/The Labor’s Voice Israel’s welfare-work experiment “Wisconsin
Plan” has entered its decisive phase, as the two-year pilot period is
about to end in June 2007. This film shows how this plan is causing
the social and economic problems on Palestinian people in Israel.

the Mall by Video 48 An inside look at the living conditions of
Palestinian workers inside Israel. Their home is a mall.

The Alley (14 min) 2007 by a-films/RJI From Occupied Palestine, this
film explores aspects of the current political economy of Balata
Refugee Camp in Nablus. Perspectives from this hard-hit community
include the insights and voices of vegetable sellers and other
residents of Balata, such as those forced by the harsh conditions of
Israeli occupation to seek work in a sweatshop at the edge of the
camp. a-fils[at]riseup[dot]net <>

USA vs Al-Arian (98 min) 2007 by Line Halvorsen This is the story of
the targeting by the US government of Palestinian American professor
Dr. Sami Al-Arian at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Sami
who was also a member of the NEA United Professors of Florida received
their support against the pressure to fire him after he appeared on
Fox s Bill O’Reilly show. The film shows a personal story of a family
living in a society where fear of terrorism has resulted in increasing
stigmatization and discrimination against Muslims. For years, Nahla
Al-Arian and her children have been fighting to prove the innocence of
husband and father Sami, a Palestinian refugee, and civil rights
activist, who has lived in the USA for more than thirty years. In
2003, Sami Al-Arian was accused of giving material support to a
terrorist organization and held in solitary confinement for over three
years. His six-month trial ended without a single guilty verdict. The
failure to convict Dr. Al-Arian was seen as a stinging rebuke for the
federal government. While the Bush administration considered this a
landmark case in its campaign against international terrorism,
Professor Sami Al-Arian claims he has been targeted in an attempt to
silence his political views. Because the jury hung on some of the
counts, however, Dr. Al-Arian remained in jail as the prosecution
threatened to retry him. Laila Al-Arian, daughter of Sami Al-Arian
will be attending.

Sponsored by Labor Video Project and Endorsed By New College Center
For Activism

For Further Information Please contact
Labor Video Project
P.O. Box 720027
San Francisco, CA 94172

South Africa’s Largest Trade Union Seeks to Boycott Israel (Haaretz)


South Africa’s Largest Trade Union Seeks to Boycott Israel
Union to launch campaign this week to persuade Pretoria to boycott all Israeli goods, end diplomatic relations.

Cnaan Liphshiz May 31, 2007 12:00 AM
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South Africa’s largest trade union federation will launch a campaign against “the Israeli occupation of Arab lands” this week, demanding that Pretoria impose a boycott on all Israeli goods and break diplomatic relations. South African Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils, who is Jewish, told Haaretz that he actively supported the initiative – which contradicts the policy of his own cabinet.
The president of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), Willy Madisha, announced the launching of the campaign last week in Johannesburg, calling on the government to cease all diplomatic relations with Israel after its attacks on Palestinian leaders.
“The best way to have Israel comply with United Nations resolutions is to pressure it by a diplomatic boycott such as the one imposed on apartheid South Africa,” Madisha said. Cosatu belongs to a recently-formed coalition of organizations operating under the banner “End The Occupation.”
Kasrils’ anti-Israeli organization Not In My Name belongs to the coalition working toward an embargo on Israel. This runs contrary to South Africa’s official stance, and to President Thabo Mbeki’s decision to strengthen trade ties with Israel. Mbeki, who heads the ANC ruling party, even appeared as a guest at Israel’s Independence Day celebrations in Durban last month.
Kasrils, a member of the ANC, told Haaretz that his support for severing all ties with Israel was not in opposition to his cabinet’s policy. “Cosatu is an ANC ally in the coalition against the Israeli occupation. Most elements of this coalition call for boycotting Israel, although the ANC does not,” he said.
“We respect their right to encourage people to boycott Israeli goods. As a South African consumer I personally will not purchase Israeli goods until Israel changes its present policy regarding the Palestinians.”
Cosatu’s spokesman, Patrick Craven, said Kasrils was involved in directing the campaign for imposing a political and economic embargo on Israel. “This is intended to include the diamond trade,” he added.
Craven acknowledged that his organization’s primary objectives did not pertain to the Middle East, noting that while Cosatu’s main goal was improving the material conditions of its 1.8 million members, “it could not stand idly by as Israel perpetrated atrocities in Palestine.” Adding that he anticipated “some short-term damage” to South Africa’s economy following the boycott, Carven said the damage was “vastly outweighed by the importance of stopping injustice.”
The campaign that Cosatu has helped mount will begin Friday, with sermons in South Africa’s mosques on “the plight of the Palestinian people”. The Christian organizations of the coalition will begin addressing the issue in churches Sunday.
The organizers intend to picket across South Africa next week, including a picket by members of parliament and a candlelight vigil outside the U.S. Consulate in Johannesburg. The ANC ruling party has called for a parliamentary debate on “Israeli occupation.”
Campaign activists will also hold pickets outside selected stores selling Israeli goods. The events will culminate in mass marches and rallies on Saturday, June 9, both in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

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