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The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign that seeks to expose and isolate Israeli apartheid has garnered support all over the world. Given the role that international boycott strategies played in the defeat of South African apartheid, it is fitting that decisive leadership to the international community has come from South Africa in the form of a courageous decision by the University of Johannesburg to terminate its ties with Ben Gurion University. As a response to this and other actions in solidarity with the Palestinian people, various advocates representing the interests of the Israeli state are now attempting to realign this shifting balance of forces in their favor.
On behalf of the many supporters of the BDS movement in the United States, I congratulate the coalition of student organizations in South Africa (the South African Student Congress, the South African Union of Students and the Young Communist League of South Africa) for speaking out with determination and clarity against the Israeli delegation, which has announced its intention to ameliorate Israel’s image. As the student leaders have emphasized, it is not the image of the Israeli government that needs changing but rather its racist and repressive policies and practices of apartheid. Their call for Israeli-apartheid free campuses should resonate around the world. Angela Y. DavisProfessor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz”
The letter from Davis is in support of a joint student statement issued earlier this month by the largest and most representative South African students bodies: the SA Union of Students (SAUS), South African Students Congress (SASCO) and the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCL). In the joint statement, the student bodies committed themselves to a broad based campus boycott of Israel and particularly the tour of 24 Israeli state-trained propagandists to SA campuses between the 11th and 21st of August 2011.
Part of the joint student statement reads: “we urge all Student Representative Councils, student groups and other youth structures to strategize and implement a boycott of Israel…we declare that all SA campuses must be Apartheid-Israel free zones.” Find the full statement here.
In the United States, Davis is well known for her involvement in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panther Party. Davis has written extensively on the “prison industrial complex” and urges her audiences to think seriously about the future possibility of a world without prisons. She is presently a retired professor at the University of California. Davis has been the subject of several films, books and songs, including: John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1972, “Angela”; Jazz musician Todd Cochran’s, “Free Angela”; and the Rolling Stones, “Sweet Black Angel”.