UPDATE: Israeli PR Mission to SA - a failure!
The recent Israeli delegation that was sent to our campuses in order to “to create some doubt in South African students minds" have now left. Their visit was challenged at every corner. They were limited in their ability to advertise their presence and to stage their events without being agitated.
At a public level their propaganda was decisively thwarted. At a private level, the delegation attempted to gain some sort of recognition through setting up back door meetings with some political figures and groups (In the Western Cape, for example, they had a small meeting with the local youth branch of the Democratic Alliance). Their lobbying efforts were clearly limited by the strength of our public campaign.
YouTube channel with five [MUST SEE] videos covering last week's Israeli mission to SA campuses:
Photos from last week's actions:
Some material that was distributed by students to counter the Israeli delegation:
Finally, below is a quick summary of the Israeli propaganda mission to South Africa. For a full report, statements, and other information kindly visit:
The SA Union of Students (SAUS), SA Students Congress (SASCO) and the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCL) are saluted for their decisve and inspiring leadership.
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Working Group
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The BDS Working Group is a registered non-profit organization. NPO NUMBER: 084-306-NPO
- South Africa is a stronghold of Palestinian solidarity and a powerful springboard of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel movement. This is due to our own history of apartheid and the clarity with which our senior leaders have called out Israel's apartheid policies
- In an attempt to counter the strength of the Palestine solidarity movement in South Africa and internationally, Israel has gone on the PR offensive. The "What Is Rael" project is an Israeli government supported PR initiative targeting five countries. The mission has been briefed and trained by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy.
- The delegation initially claimed to be self-funded and diverse but soon dropped this after it was exposed that they were government trained, university funded and that their official intake criteria listed the (racist) ideology of Zionism as a requirement.
- The delegation's first target was South Africa and its aim was to "create doubt" in the minds of South African students. The delegation arrived in South Africa on the 11th of August 2011.
- The delegation initially thought it a good idea to boast of their Israeli military and government credentials in their official advertising.
- Two days before arriving in South Africa they urgently attempted a retraction of these biographies. It seems that they realized that coming to South Africa, with those sort of backgrounds, is a liability.
CHALLENGE TO THE TRIP
[18 July 2011]
- Palestinian students wrote to South African counterparts: "We urge our South African peers to boycott and challenge this intended tour of South African universities in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, which we view as a part of a campaign launched to whitewash the crimes of Israel's apartheid policies."
[04 August 2011]
- If anything, the plans of the Israeli delegation backfired. At a joint press conference held in Johannesburg, the oldest, largest and most representative student bodies (SA Union of Students, SA Students Congress and the Young Communist League of SA) slammed the Israeli trip and encouraged all local structures to immediately investigate and implement boycott of Israel campaigns.
- Subsequently several other student and university organizations issued their own statements distancing themselves from the intended Israeli tour
[08 August 2011]
- Furthermore, a group of progressive Israelis, together with an EU Human Rights laureate delivered a letter of support to SA students. In their letter they highlighted the fact that the so-called Israeli "students" were all part of the Israeli military and very likely to have been involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity.
[11 August 2011]
- From the first moments of their arrival in South Africa, it was clear that the delegation was unwelcome. The Israeli delegation's PR exercise was, from the get go, derailed:
>>> the local hosts of the Israeli delegation were unable to have a public welcoming committee;
>>> members of the Israeli group had to be escorted through "back" entrances or under disguises. None were able to walk freely into the public area of the terminal sporting any Israeli paraphernalia.
[12 August 2011]
- The join student statement issued by the three SA student bodies had by now reached the international community. World renown black panther activist, Professor Angela Davis from the University of California, sent a powerful message of encouragement to SA students: "I congratulate the coalition of student organizations in South Africa (the South African Student Congress, the South African Union of Students and the Young Communist League of South Africa) for speaking out with determination and clarity against the Israeli delegation…[Your] call for Israeli-apartheid free campuses should resonate around the world."
[13 August 2011]
- Over 30 000 fliers exposing and condemning the Israeli delegation were printed and distributed in Johannesburg and Tshwane alone. Some of these fliers were informational and others were satirical.
[14 August 2011]
- At universities in Johannesburg students used several tactics, including flash-mobs, walkouts and major flier campaigns to challenge the Israeli propaganda delegation.
- The Israeli delegation's events were met with protest and were in general poorly attended. For example, at the University of Johannesburg the venue was more than half empty with the majority of the audience coming from the Israeli delegation's local pro-Israeli hosts and partners. The majority of UJ students clearly boycotted the event.
[17 August 2011]
- In the Western Cape, the Israeli delegation had a packed auditorium...but of Palestinian supporters, who in chorus ended the Israeli meeting by loudly declaring: "End Israeli Apartheid Now!"
[21 August 2011]
The Israeli delegation only managed to visit a few campuses and were able to appeal to only a handful of students. However, our posters, fliers and other material reached over 12 South African campuses. The Israeli delegation's PR mission to South Africa was a failure. If anything it has strengthened the resolve of South African students to further the boycott movement of Israel.