Israeli Apartheid Week 2017 – a success despite pressure to shut it down

2017 marks 100 years since the signing of the Balfour Declaration. It also marks a 100 years of Palestinian popular struggle for justice and freedom – a struggle rooted in international resistance against state sanctioned violence and institutionalised racism everywhere.

For this year’s Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), KCL Action Palestine (KCLAP) hosted the open plenary with Farid Esack – a South-African anti-apartheid activist & professor, and Aja Monet – Cuban-Jamaican poet, educator & member of Black Lives Matter, who came together in dialogue to mark collective resistance & to learn from each other and build our movements stronger.

We were also proud to host a film Screening and Q+A with director Farah Nabulsi: an array of captivating film screenings including ‘Oceans of Injustice’ and ‘Today They Took My Son’. Farah is the founder of the media production company “Native Liberty”, whose artistic works help others see and feel what the Palestinians experience. 

For the last event, our Women’s Officer & KCLAP hosted a screening and group discussion of ‘The Invisible Men’ – an hour long documentary by director Yariv Mozer about three gay Palestinian men hiding in Tel Aviv. It raised questions about the relationship between homophobia and the occupation, Israeli settler colonialism and queerness, and finally, pinkwashing – the act of making something (in this case, the occupation of Palestine) supposedly ‘queer friendly’.

We would like to extend a huge thank you to those who helped out with stalls during the week, who engaged and who stopped by to understand more about Israel’s settler-colonial project and its apartheid system. Although the society faced numerous challenges to host the open plenary, including having the room changed 5 times, last minute ‘risk assessments’, imposition of external moderators, securitised pre-registration processes, without any clear information about the reasons for these restrictions – we had a successful event and a full theatre room.

As long as Israel’s system of oppression against the Palestinian people continues, students will also continue to organise to end military, diplomatic and institutional support for it. No amount of external meddling to shut down or censor IAW events will work – we will continue to uphold the right to campaign on university campuses and advocate for justice and freedom. You can read the full statement from the Israeli Apartheid Week UK organising committee here.

For freedom, equality and return.

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