ANC, allies, support retail boycott
In a joint statement issued after the conference, the parties said: “As the Alliance we are now heightening our campaign aimed at boycotting and isolating Israel as a state founded on the basis of apartheid, which according to international law and several UN conventions is a crime against humanity.
“We therefore pledge ongoing solidarity with the people of Palestine and will enhance our support for the boycott, disinvestment and sanction initiatives against the state of Israel. The Alliance further calls on transport sector workers, at South African docks and airports to neither offload products from Israel nor upload products bound for Israel. We also call on retail sector workers to refuse to handle or package products manufactured in or originating from Israel.”
BDS gloated over this
Needless to say, the following day the local arm of the US-based NGO Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS-SA) put out a media statement saying that the “Stance of ANC Alliance on BDS boycott of ‘Apartheid Israel’ and support for retail sector boycott welcomed.”
In a concrete move bound to have major ramifications, said BDS-SA, the Alliance secretariat further called on South African transport sector workers: “at South African docks and airports, to neither offload products from Israel nor upload products bound for Israel”. Finally, the Alliance made a call to all South African retail sector workers “to refuse to handle or package products manufactured in or originating from Israel”.
Will it change Government’s mind?
This serves to once again highlight the disconnect between the government and the alliance parties they represent on this issue.
While the SA Government is pragmatic in support of growing the over $1 billion trade between the two countries and further exploiting the fact that over half of all tourist arrivals from the Middle East come from Israel – their populist parties play lip service to BDS.