Israeli Apartheid Week 2020 begins, uniting groups fighting against global racism

Many IAW events will be held online due to the coronavirus.

IAW Wall GWU banner revised 3.16.2020.png

Photo from SJP at George Washington University

The 16th annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) begins today under the theme, United against Racism, advocating for Palestinian rights and growing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to achieve those rights, in the context of global struggles against racial oppression.

IAW 2020 is occurring against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to severe restrictions on freedom of movement and association worldwide, making it difficult for groups in many countries to hold public events. As a result, many IAW events have been modified, postponed, or canceled. IAW events will still be held online, and, where possible, in-person.

Some key IAW events include an online webinar with South African MP chief Mandla Mandela and afrofeminist activist Desirée Bela-Lobedde, March 19th at 6.30 pm CET time; an April 2 webinar with Rebecca Vilkomerson, formerly Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace; and an April 6 webinar with Palestinian American civil rights attorney Noura Erakat. The IAW events schedule is being updated as plans evolve.

With Israel’s far-right regime partnering with authoritarian and racist regimes worldwide, supplying them with “field-tested”, deadly military and security technologies and doctrines, groups fighting racism are working more urgently than ever to join together struggles for freedom, justice, equality and dignity, for Palestinians and people enduring repression worldwide.

In a new statement, U.S. civil rights leader Angela Davis expressed her support for uniting anti-racist struggles during IAW, saying:

For those everywhere struggling against racism and for freedom, the Palestinian people continue to serve as an inspiration because they have endured and remained steadfast for so long, refusing to give up and accept permanent subjugation and injustice …

If justice is indivisible, it follows that our struggles against injustice must be united. I wholeheartedly endorse Israeli Apartheid Week 2020 under the theme United against Racism, and call for groups and individual worldwide to participate. 

This year, IAW coincides with the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, held every year on March 21, the date of the 1960 massacre by South Africa’s apartheid regime of 69 Black protesters in Sharpeville.

Over 100 progressive, anti-racist groups in Europe have called to coordinate IAW 2020 events.

The United Nations defines apartheid as a crime against humanity that must be suppressed and punished wherever it is perpetrated. Israel is committing the Crime of Apartheid, as defined under international law, against all Palestinians, in historic Palestine and in exile.

Palestinians and progressives worldwide are resisting the Trump-Netanyahu “deal of the century” not only because it is designed to entrench Israeli apartheid, but also because it embodies a trend of expanding global racial repression that Israel plays a role in. Israel is sharing racialized policing tactics with the US; supplying weapons to genocidal regimes in Rwanda and Myanmar; providing technology and equipment to militarize US and EU borders; selling $1 billion in arms annually to India, fueling repression in Kashmir; and providing weapons and technologies that support militarization and racist police violence by Brazil’s fanatic Bolsonaro government.

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Israeli Apartheid Week, and the theme United against Racism compel us to stand together now against the deplorable racial stereotyping and violence that has been fomented against Asians in many countries as the coronavirus has spread.

With options for physical gatherings limited due to the coronavirus, join with groups fighting all forms of racism for online events and actions for IAW 2020, to send the message that apartheid and racism were unacceptable in South Africa, are unacceptable in Palestine today, and are unacceptable anywhere.


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