I was a teenager living in small Ontario town when Apartheid ended in South Africa. I remember watching the news and witnessing Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. It was a once in a lifetime event and had a great impact on me.
I had heard about artists and writers boycotting South Africa, about businesses removing their investments and about the removal of South African products from the Canadian market place (ie. South African wine).
It took several years after Apartheid ended but eventually we saw some of those products again as the ANC took power and the black population could vote in elections. The ban on South African goods in the global market was lifted because Apartheid ended.
This is not, however, the case with Israel, an Apartheid State that holds its Palestinian population hostage in the West Bank and Gaza and continues to use and abuse Palestinian labour in its Industrial Zones (like Mishor Adumin) and farms in the Jordan Valley.
Not only are Israeli Apartheid goods in our community, they are not labelled truthfully so the consumer has no idea if the product was manufactured in an illegal settlement, a violation of international law under the Geneva Convention.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has compared the situation in the Occupied Territories with that of South Africa under Apartheid:
“Yesterday’s South African township dwellers can tell you about today’s life in the Occupied Territories. To travel only blocks in his homeland, a grandfather waits on the whim of a teenage soldier. The lucky ones have a permit to leave their squalor to work in Israel’s cities, but their luck runs out when security closes all checkpoints, paralyzing an entire people. The indignities, dependence and anger are all too familiar.”
South African Apartheid….it was not that long ago! We must remember the lessons it taught us, and apply them to the State of Israel! Read the labels and do not buy Made in Israel!