JOINT PRESS STATEMENT: South African students condemn violence against Canadian students

24 November 2019

The South African human rights NGO, BDS South Africa, together with the South African Union of Students (SAUS) condemns  the recent violence against human rights defenders at York University in Canada. SAUS is the primary union representing student government bodies at institutions of higher learning across South Africa.

Earlier this week, on 20 November 2019, Canadian human rights activists, students and others were protesting against the presence of Israeli soldiers at York University’s Toronto campus when members of the Israeli lobby violently attacked and assaulted them. The Israeli soldiers were brought to campus by the right-wing Canadian branch of the Israeli organization called Herut. In a 1948 letter to the New York Times, Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt and dozens of other Jewish intellectuals denounced Herut as “a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties.” Click here.

The Israeli lobby is now claiming that the protest is anti-Semitic, as South Africans we find this absurd. To have protested against soldiers from Apartheid South Africa in the 1980s did not make one ant-white. Similarly, to protest against Israel’s military and its violence against civilians is not anti-Semitic!

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should take a clear stand against their universities hosting soldiers from militaries accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

We salute the Canadian students, staff, and others who are standing, with us South Africans, shoulder to shoulder, with Palestinians and progressive Jewish Israeli allies in the struggle against Israeli Apartheid and, indeed, for a better and more just world.

The Canadian government was on the wrong side of history during the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa. We humbly invite them to this time round choose the right side of history defending and joining their citizens in opposing Apartheid. And yes, as Black South Africans, we attest that Israel is an Apartheid state as confirmed by some of our most senior leaders including the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Winnie Mandela, former president Kgalema Mothlanthe and several others. Our current president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has said: “we know what is happening there, its gross apartheid taking place there and we cannot but countenance a situation which is a duplicate or replica of what we went through, that we are not going to apologise for.”

(On a related note, click here to watch how Harvard University students in the USA staged a walkout from a lecture that was to be given by the Israeli consul-general. The Israeli official was left shocked as the almost entire audience ditched his lecture in protest of his government’s actions)

SA UNION OF STUDENTS (SAUS): Secretary General, Lwandile Mtsolo: +27 (0) 734405586
BDS South Africa: National Director, Muhammed Desai: +27 (0) 842119988

ISSUED BY TISETSO MAGAMA ON BEHALF OF BDS SOUTH AFRICA

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