South African civil society formations can be justifiably proud of pulling off one of the most serious challenges confronting Israel: the question of apartheid!
By successfully hosting a venerable "people’s court" within the precincts of a looming symbol of resistance against apartheid – the District 6 Museum, they made a powerful statement whose effects are still creating waves of discontent.
That Israel feared being branded as the only remaining state after South Africa to practice apartheid explains a great deal about its hostility towards the Russell Tribunal.
However for pro-Israeli lobby groups in South Africa to engage in infantile and downright futile campaigns to not only bring the Tribunal into disrepute; but also to insult and mock highly respected stalwarts of the freedom struggle, is lamentable.
Their mischief making didn’t stop there. They in their zealous support for Israel sought to question the impartiality and objectivity of persons such as Archbishop Tutu, Prof John Dugard, Zwelinzima Vavi, Ronnie Kasrils and a host of international participants including a Holocaust-survivor!
One wonders therefore whether these antagonists possess the minutest understanding of pain and suffering by victims of apartheid. Torture, detention without trial, banishment, death through execution and brutal silencing are some of the harsh realities that confronted South Africa’s great liberation struggle.
These ugly manifestations of apartheid have unfortunately been and remain a pernicious experience for Palestine. Their persistent suffering – some of it emerged via testimonies of noble Jewish souls like Jeff Halper at the Tribunal, has been on-going since the horrors of ethnic cleansing resulted in the illegal creation of Israel in 1948.
For some South African Jews to display levels of insensitivity as was evident in their malicious campaign in opposition to those courageous individuals associated with the Tribunal, does beg the question whether they possess any clue about apartheid or its evil practice.
To simply and vainly disregard overwhelming evidence is no different to those who passionately defend the view that the earth is flat! Well its not and to retain an ostrich-type approach to the injustice and severe oppression flowing from apartheid Israel should not be accepted as normal by anyone.
I am reminded of the resounding call by late ANC cadre Professor Kader Asmal when he made a profound argument to seek Israel’s delegitimation in much the same way stalwarts like him sought the delegitimation of South Africa.
The Russell Tribunal has thus made it clear: Israeli apartheid has zero legitimacy!
And those who cry foul have yet to come to terms with the deep wounds inflicted by apartheid practices – whether South African or Israeli!