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PACBI-A South African Tribunal Refuses to Silence the Truth and Upholds Israel Apartheid Comparison

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PACBI | July 6, 2011

A South African Tribunal Refuses to Silence the Truth and Upholds Israel Apartheid Comparison

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) welcomes the ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa in favour of South African Artists Against Apartheid in the case brought against them by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies. The Jewish Board of Deputies has claimed that a radio commercial by Dave Randall, lead singer of the group Faithless, has breached standards. The commercial features the voice of Dave Randall saying:

“Hi, I’m Dave Randall from Faithless. Twenty years ago I would not have played in apartheid South Africa; today I refuse to play in Israel. Be on the right side of history. Don’t entertain apartheid. Join the international boycott of Israel. I support South African Artists Against”.

The complaint raised to the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa claimed that the commercial breaches standards because it is not clear whether the advertiser is Dave Randall or the South African Artists Against Apartheid Collective. It also added that the commercial is untrue and factually incorrect because Israel is not defined as an apartheid state by the International Court of Justice.   

The tribunal dismissed both claims and upheld the link between Apartheid and Israel as a freedom of expression issue and asserted that the identity of the commercial presenter is clear.

This ruling has far-reaching implications in terms of asserting the legitimacy of characterizing Israel as an apartheid state. This characterization has been established by several studies and documents drafted by legal scholars and experts over the years. These include the study commissioned by the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa (HSRC), which concluded that Israel is practicing both colonialism and apartheid in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) [1].  Along the same lines, John Dugard, the ex Special Rapporteur on Palestine to the United Nations Human Rights Council noted:   

“The international community has identified three regimes as inimical to human rights -colonialism, apartheid and foreign occupation. Israel is clearly in military occupation of the OPT. At the same time elements of the occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law. “[2]

Through its recognition of these basic facts, this ruling recognizes the severe conditions of life in occupied Palestine. Further, it is significant that such a defense of the use of the term apartheid comes from South Africa as the context most intimately aware of the injustices of apartheid and the struggle against it.

Upholding the commercial as a clear and legitimate reflection of the opinion of South African Artists Against Apartheid is highly significant at a time when campaigners for Palestinian rights are being prosecuted in Europe and north America for establishing such links and taking up boycotts, divestment and sanctions as a means to end Israel’s violation of Palestinian rights.    





Posted on 07-07-2011

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