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On 27 July 2012, The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) Student Representative Council (SRC) passed a resolution that called for a cultural and academic boycott of Israeli institutions. The resolution was brought forth to the SRC by the Wits Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) and was unanimously adopted by present SRC representatives.
The resolution states that the University will “not participate in any form of cultural or academic collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions and will not provide support to Israeli cultural or academic institutions”.
Furthermore, the resolution calls for an investigation into any associations the University has with Israeli institutions including academic relations, financial relations, and cultural relations. The SRC of Wits University has committed itself to “actively campaign and lobby for the University to divest from such relations to further support the boycott of Israel and justice in Palestine” upon the discovery of such existing relations.
The Wits SRC, as the executive representative of the student body, will also begin to actively promote and continue to support the annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW). IAW, which has developed into an international campaign held in more than ninety (90) cities and campuses around the world, has become to play an integral role in exposing the illegal Israeli occupation and its Apartheid policies.
In 2010, the University of Johannesburg cut its academic ties with an Israeli institution, Ben Gurion University. This was precedent-setting campaign that has since fueled more BDS actions such as the recent decision by officials in Pretoria, South Africa to remove the “Made in Israel” label from products made in occupied Palestinian territories, and now, the Wits SRC resolution.
This is yet another progressive step in the Palestinian solidarity movement in South Africa led by the youth. South African youth were a driving force in ending apartheid in South Africa and have expressed and demonstrated their solidarity with the Palestinians as they continue to face Israeli apartheid and occupation. The importance of the passage of this resolution should not be understated, as it is a landmark victory in the BDS movement and the struggle for Palestinian rights and freedom.