Protests in Cape Town in solidarity with Palestinians

Dean of St Georges Cathedral calls for peace vigil

| By

Pro-Palestinian protesters stand outside the offices of the Zionist Federation in Hatfield Street Cape Town on Wednesday. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

Several hundred people held a protest outside the offices of the Zionist Federation in Cape Town in solidarity with Palestinians on Wednesday.

Protesters held posters that read “Resistance is not Terrorism”, “Boycott Apartheid Israel” and “There’s no right side to a genocide”. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” was also chanted by those who had gathered. Many of the protesters were wearing the colours of the Palestine flag.

Hamas militants entered Israel on 7 October, killing over 1,200 Israeli civilians and soldiers and kidnapping about 100 people. Hundreds of young people at a music concert were shot dead. Israel responded to the attack by bombing Gaza, killing hundreds so far, and blocking the supply of food and electricity.

The Hamas attack came after years of the Palestinian territory of Gaza being under siege, with Israel controlling access to such an extent that many describe Gaza as an “open-air prison”. Thousands of Palestinians, including many civilians, among them children, have been killed in Israeli military attacks on Gaza over the past decades. Hamas has also frequently fired rockets indiscriminately into Israel, sometimes killing civilians. In the West Bank, Israel has implemented a policy of separation between Israeli settlers and Palestinians. Leading South African anti-apartheid campaigners have described this as apartheid.

Events in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (Gaza and the West Bank) have frequently resulted in very large protests in South Africa and accusations and counter-accusations by Zionist and anti-Zionist movements. This is often characterised as tension between Jews and Muslims but in fact there are a range of views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict among all religions and in the South African public in general.

A joint statement from BDS South Africa, the organisers of Wednesday’s protest, read: “We the people of South Africa refuse to collude with Israeli apartheid and therefore demand our government acts to end Israeli impunity and absolute disregard for international law.”

Usuf Chikte, from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, told protesters that there would be another gathering outside Claremont Mosque on Friday afternoon.

He said the campaign was going to “form a global convention against apartheid to ensure that the UN anti-apartheid convention is being activated so that we can apply sanctions against Israel as we applied them in South Africa”.

Chitke added: “We are going to dismantle apartheid in Israel as we ended apartheid in South Africa.”

Earlier in the day, about 50 people had gathered for a vigil at St George’s Cathedral. A prayer issued by the Anglican Church of South Africa read: “We have seen people’s humanity denied; and we have seen children, women and men living in fear.”

ANC Western Cape Provincial Spokesperson Muhammad Khalid Sayed, who attended the vigil, said he was pledging solidarity with Palestine during this time of need. “We have always supported the Palestinian struggle and will continue to do so. We welcome this initiative by civil society. This particular cathedral played a very important role in the liberation of our country against apartheid. Palestinians are facing apartheid.”

Father Michael Weeder, the Dean of St George’s Cathedral, said they would gather on Wednesdays at 1pm until there was peace. “The least that we can do is to gather … in solidarity with the people who are wounded. Even the blind can see what is happening out in Gaza and even the morally deaf can hear the cries of the people who are innocent.” In a sermon on Sunday, Weeder also warned against antisemitism.

TOPICS:  Israel-Palestine Violence

Next:  No rubbish collection for third month in Mamelodi

Previous:  MPs blast Post Office and Postbank leadership

© 2023 GroundUp. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and GroundUp, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

We put an invisible pixel in the article so that we can count traffic to republishers. All analytics tools are solely on our servers. We do not give our logs to any third party. Logs are deleted after two weeks. We do not use any IP address identifying information except to count regional traffic. We are solely interested in counting hits, not tracking users. If you republish, please do not delete the invisible pixel.