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Cosatu statement on detention of naeem jeenah

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While workers vote ANC at home, Israel detains and deport a South African academic to enforce apartheid in Palestine

COSATU condemns detention, interrogation and ultimate deportation of South African academic by Israeli police on eve of local government elections in South Africa

On the 17th May, a Day before millions of workers and people of our country flocked to the polls to defend our hard won gains, defend democracy and affirm their dignity by voting the ANC, one of our own, Naeem Jena, a South African academic on Middle East affairs based in Johannesburg was detained, interrogated and ultimately deported by Israeli police in that country.

Naeem is not only a researcher and academic, but also an ardent activist involved in solidarity work with all oppressed peoples of the world, from Swaziland to Zimbabwe, from Western Sahara to Cuba and in bold, Palestine. He is also one of the leading voices on the issue of a Global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against the colonial and apartheid state of Israel for it continued occupation of Palestine.

According to a statement by the Coalition for a Free Palestine (CFP), “Na’eem was subjected to a harsh ten hour interrogation, had his passport and private belongings impounded, and was then deported under guard, like a common criminal to Instanbul, Turkey.”

The statement went on to say, “The fact that he has been treated like a common criminal, and subjected to treatment normally reserved for terrorist suspects is all the more worrying. It is very hard not to draw the conclusion that the Israeli State, fearful of both the democratic developments in the Middle East as a whole, the rising opposition to its disastrous apartheid policies at home, and the gathering momentum of the BDS campaign, is now frantically trying to suppress all those it deems to be its enemies. The irony of course is not missed, these actions of the Israeli State have immeasurably strengthened comparisons with the Apartheid South African state who also tried (and failed) to contain and suppress dissent.”  

We condemn in the strongest terms, this unjustifiable behaviour of this rogue state that has just been accused by the UN of crimes against humanity, but continue to get cover and protection from its super-funders, the US and the EU whilst shouting against the same elsewhere.

We also congratulate the South African embassy in Israel for their relentless effort to rescue and secure his safety during the gruelling 10 hour interrogation by that country’s notorious security forces, knownfor their enforcement of apartheid and colonialism in Palestine.

We also take courage from the editorial Board of Israel’s arguably most important newspaper, Haaretz when it said that “Responsibility for (the growth of BDS against Israel) will lay squarely on the shoulders of the Prime minister and his colleagues at the top of the diplomatic ladder,” due to their “obsolete” anti-peace positions. It also reminds the government of sanctions against South African apartheid.

Finally, COSATU condemns the brutal show of might by the Israeli DefenceForce (IDF) during the peaceful commemoration of Nakba (day of birth for the apartheid state of Israel in 1948) by Palestinians and those whosupport the cause of liberation all over the world. It is daily becoming clear who is the aggressor, when those demanding their land aresubjected to brutal attacks, painful arrests and violence of genocidal proportions to enforce injustice and occupation.

Issued By:

Bongani Masuku (International Relations Secretary)Congress of South African Trade Unions1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard StreetsBraamfontein, 2017Johannesburg

P.O.Box 1019Johannesburg, 2000South AfricaTel: +27 11 339-4911/24Fax: +27 11 339-5080/6940Mobile: +27 79 499 6419E-Mail: