Christian leaders in South Africa have thrown their full support behind Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), a global campaign to educate and mobilize the public against Israeli violations of Palestinian rights.
On Sunday, Anglican Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town Desmond Tutu reiterated his support for IAW and for the Palestinian-led campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on Israel.
“People who are denied their dignity and rights deserve the solidarity of their fellow human beings,” Tutu said in a statement.
“I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing in the Holy Land that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under Apartheid,” Tutu added.
“Their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the Apartheid government.”
Recalling the role of BDS in ending apartheid in South Africa, Tutu said the “same issues of inequality and injustice today motivate the divestment movement trying to end Israel’s decades-long occupation of Palestinian territory and the unfair and prejudicial treatment of the Palestinian people by the Israeli government ruling over them.”
“I associate myself with the objectives of the 10th international Israeli Apartheid Week.”
Tutu’s backing reflects much broader support among South African Christian leaders.
“We urge churches to campaign for greater awareness on all Palestinian struggles in general and the plight of Palestinian Christians in particular,” the South African Council of Churches said in the concluding statement of its conference last month.
“We also request churches to dedicate Sunday services on 16 March during the upcoming Israeli Apartheid Week campaign to reflect and pray for peace with justice in Palestine and Israel.”
The statement urged “all parties concerned to work towards a just peace and reiterated our solidarity and support for all those working towards this goal.”
The campaign group BDS South Africa published several video statements from South African church leaders.
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