The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights has been nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize by the Norwegian MP and leader of the Red Party, BjørnarMoxness. In a statement announcing the nomination, the Parliamentary Group, which includes a number of left-wing parties, said that the selection of BDS for a Nobel Peace Prize reflected “the growing international solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for justice, dignity and freedom from the Israeli occupation”.
In South Africa, there was widespread jubilation and joy because it meant recognition for a movement, which quietly went about their work in peace. The Chairman of the Muslim Youth Movement, MrThandileKhona welcomed the nomination. It brings into sharp focus the oppression and dispossession of Palestinians by the apartheid Israeli illegitimate regime. “It is also worthy to note that amongst the recipients of the prize is Barack Obama, a man who oversaw the manifold increase in military aid to the Zionist apartheid Israeli government. That military aid came in handy to the Israelis in crushing any resistance to their usurpation of Palestinian lands. “It will not be a good thing for the BDS movement to be in the company of such a man. Once again, I wish to stress that the award is welcome only as far as it will help advance the just cause of the Palestinians.”
Chairman of the Health Portfolio in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, Mr Yusuf Bhamjee called for the international community to nurture the support for BDS on all platforms. He commended the work they are doing to bring a resolution to the conflict in the Middle East. “We must all movements who are working to bring dignity to the Palestinian people. We can only be free if all people in the world are free of oppression,” said MrBhamjee. He added that this was also a compliment for South Africans, for the BDS people whom the anti-apartheid movement formed movement inspired.
DrFarhanaParuk, director of Pearson Institute of Higher Education said the nomination was recognition for the tireless work done by people who are working for peace between Palestine and Israel. “Hopefully, it will strengthen the efforts to bring peace to one of the most conflict-ridden areas in the world. BDS has engaged in a non-violent, rolling mass action movement to bring change,” said DrParuk.
MrMoxness said that as a member of the Norwegian Parliament, he proudly used his authority as an elected official to nominate BDS for the Nobel Peace Prize. “Nominating the BDS movement for this recognition is perfectly in line with the principles I and my party hold very dear. Like the BDS movement, we are fully committed to stopping an ascendant, racist and right-wing politics sweeping too much of our world and securing freedom, justice and equality for all people. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement and the American Civil Rights movement, the grassroots, Palestinian-led BDS movement is a peaceful, global human rights movement that urges the use of economic and cultural boycotts to end Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights and international law,” he said.
Dr LubnaNadvi, Lecturer in Political Science at the Howard College said the nomination was incredibly important. “The nomination of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) global campaign for the Nobel Peace prize 2018 is an incredibly important and significant one. The work done by BDS to support the cause of the Palestinian people to achieve self-determination and liberation from occupation and oppression by the Apartheid state of Israel has been instrumental in keeping the plight of the Palestinians in the public and international domain. This nomination signals and affirms the ongoing acknowledgement by the majority of the international community of the struggle by the Palestinians and its support of that struggle. There can be no candidate more deserving of being a recipient of the Nobel Prize than BDS.”
Anti-apartheid activists throughout the country were delighted with the BDS nomination. A number of young South Africans joined the movement and sharpened their skills in becoming activists for a host of worthy causes. One of the most fervent supporters in South Africa was Mr Ahmed Kathrada who during a visit to Palestine in 2013 said, “ it was the fulfilment of a ‘lifelong dream.’ I hoped that it would have been to a free Palestine. In our short stay here we have seen and heard enough to conclude that apartheid has been reborn here. In its reborn form, it is, however, worse than its predecessor. Our struggle in South Africa had one great advantage, and that was the worldwide support of civil society and many governments. We are glad to witness the increasing support that your struggle is receiving.”