The human rights and Palestine solidarity organisation BDS South Africa (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel in South Africa) expresses its solidarity with the hundreds of foriegners affected by the past weeks sensless violence. We have seen terrible images of our African brothers brutalised and have felt the collective pain of fellow South Africans who in vast majority oppose right wing anti-immigrant behaviour. South Africa is not a xenophobic country, it is a progressive country which - though we have various socio-economic problems- hosts hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers , refugees and immigrants. The incredible response by South Africans as a whole, civil society organisations as well as our government has been positive. In response to the violence the President of South Africa publicly condemned the violence and immediately set up a response team of various Government Ministers who have been actively attempting to encourage unity and integration between the displaced persons and their host communities.
There is stark contrast between the response of the right wing anti-immigrant racist apartheid government of Israel and the progressive government of South Africa. In Israel there has been violent xenophobic, anti-African and racist attacks against African refugees since 2012 but Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, instead of condemning such violence, added fuel to the fire of xenophobic sentiments in Israel through his instructions to speed up the deportation of 25,000 African migrants and by referring to African migrants as “infiltrators” undermining the national identity, security and social fabric of the Israeli state. Other Israeli Members of Parliament have referred to African migrants, particularly those originating from Sudan, as a “cancer” in the body of Israel and other such derogatory statements that fuel xenophobia in Israel towards African migrants.
South African authorities are not adding fuel to the xenophobic sentiments but are fighting endlessly to regain stability and protect the safety of immigrants. Politicians are being supportive and civil society has been proactively assisting with humanitarian assistance and solidarity events. BDS South Africa will make sure that as part of our programs we actively include anti-xenophobia and afrophobia awareness.
BDS South Africa will be supporting and speaking at the upcoming #StopXenophobia solidarity event and prayer in Yeoville (Ward 67 Johannesburg) hosted by the local Ward 67/Joe Slovo ANC and ANC Youth League branches on Saturday 18 April at 2pm at the Yeoville Recreation Centre (Raleigh and Fortesque Street) with Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements Comrade Jacob Mambolo, Deputy Director General of the Department of Home Affairs Comrade Mayihlome Tshwete and various local pastors and priests.
BY Kwara Kekana
BDS SOUTH AFRICA