South African students have applauded their Palestinian counterparts who boycotted Israel at the recent International Criminal Moot Court Competition held at the Hague in the Netherlands. The Palestinian team (from Birzeit University near Ramallah), who won the award for “Best Written Memorial for the Defense”, successfully made it to the quarter-final of the international competition. However, upon qualification, the Palestinian team was placed against the Israeli team which it refused to play against in line with the university’s commitment towards the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions movement (BDS). The Palestinian students chose rather to boycott the Israeli team leading to it forfeiting the competition. Similar to Apartheid SA during the 1980s, Israel today is increasingly facing such snubs and boycotts at international academic and sporting forums.
Thabo Moloja, President of South Africa’s largest student organization, SASCO, welcomed the news saying: “Dear comrades and friends, receive our revolutionary greetings…thank you for leading from the front…your principled decision is saluted from the rank and file of the South African student movement. As we mark Youth Month this June in South Africa, you and the cause of the young people of Palestine will most definitely be championed at our various rallies, events and other programs.”
Avela Mjajubana, YCL leader and President of the SA Union of Students (SAUS) that represents student government bodies at institutions of higher learning across South Africa commented: “We know that its difficult to pass up such an opportunity after your many months of preparation and we have no doubt that if you did face the Israeli team you would have beat them hands down. Your principled position is being celebrated on campuses in South Africa and you give us strength to further the BDS campaign in our institutions. We hope to celebrate a free Palestine with you and all Palestinian students in your homeland in the very near future.”
The Palestinian students remind us of our own people (as well as others on the continent and beyond) who sacrificed academic engagements, sports events and other activities during the 1980s in support of the anti-apartheid boycott which eventually contributed to our liberation. Click here for info.