The 15th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week of actions will take place all around the world betweenÂ March 18th and April 8th 2019Â under the themeÂ âStop Arming Colonialismâ
Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an international series of events that seeks to raise awareness about Israelâs apartheid regime over the Palestinian people and build support for the growingÂ Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. It now takes place in over 200 cities across the world, where events such as lectures, film screenings, direct action, cultural performances, postering, among many more help in grassroots organizing for effective solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle.
Israel is able to maintain its illegal occupation and apartheid regime over Palestinians partly due to its arms sales and the military support it receives from governments across the world. TheÂ United StatesÂ alone is the single largest supplier of arms and military aid to Israel, followed by European states. These directly sustain Israelâs oppression and human rights violations.
In the Global South, Israel has been known to supply weapons toÂ genocidal regimesÂ in Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and elsewhere. Presently, Israel is a major arms exporter to right-wing, authoritarian regimes fromÂ BrazilÂ toÂ India, theÂ PhilippinesÂ and beyond. These weapons are promoted as âfield-testedâ, which means they have been used to kill or injure Palestinians. In fact, Israel is alreadyÂ promotingÂ the technology it has used to repress the Great March of Return in Gaza calling for the right of refugees to return home and an end to the siege. These arms deals finance Israelâs apartheid regime and its illegal occupation while simultaneously deepening militarization and persecution of peopleâs movements and oppressed communities in countries where they are bought.
The Palestinian-led BDS movement hasÂ reiteratedÂ the demand for a military embargo on Israel in the light of Israelâs violent repression of the Great March of Return. International human rights organizations such asÂ Amnesty InternationalÂ have also responded to the Israeli massacre in Gaza with this demand. The UK Labour Party, in its conference in September 2018, passed a motion condemning Israelâs killing of Palestinian protesters in Gaza and called for a freeze ofÂ arms salesÂ to Israel.
Ending arms trade, military aid and cooperation with Israel will undercut financial and military support for its regime of apartheid, settler-colonialism and illegal occupation. It will also end the flow of Israeli weapons and security technology and techniques to governments that suppress resistance of their own citizens, peopleâs movements and communities against policies that deprive them of fundamental rights, including the right to the natural resources of their country.
A military embargo on Israel is a measure for freedom and justice of Palestinians and oppressed peoples in many parts of the world. It can successfully be achieved with massive grassroots efforts, similar to the sustained global mobilization that eventually compelled the United Nations to impose a binding international military embargo against South Africaâs apartheid regime.
Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.