People march and hold signs showing their support for Palestine during a protest on May 23, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville Students for Justice in Palestine held the rally to decry Israel's recent military action in Gaza and to condemn the U.S. government's continued support of Israel AFP
An endless list of activists, bloggers, artists and even politicians on social media have been recently comparing Israel’s artillery and aerial offensive on the Gazans and the crackdown – which Israeli settlers have been involved in – with apartheid in South Africa.
The aim is to convince the international community to consider boycotting Israel.
“Yes it’s good that @IlhanMN is talking about Israel's crimes. But it's not enough. It's too incremental. Let's see these ‘progressives’ using their massive platforms to call on Americans to support BDS, just like people boycotted South Africa. If not now, when?”, Ali Abunimah – a Palestinian blogger – tweeted on Monday.
Mariam Barghouthi, a writer and researcher, also tweeted on Monday that Israel is “employing economic violence against Palestinians and designating the most absurd amounts of bail like $7,400 for being at a protest. They’re not only punishing Palestinians but using legal violence so Palestinians sustain their apartheid.”
As a matter of fact, this perception has been circulating on social media since Israel’s offensive on the coastal enclave began on 10 May. For example, Mark Ruffalo – an American actor and producer – said that Israel should face sanctions.
“1,500 Palestinians face expulsion in #Jerusalem. 200 protesters have been injured. 9 children have been killed. Sanctions on South Africa helped free its black people - it’s time for sanctions on Israel to free Palestinians. Join the call. #SheikhJarrah,” Ruffalo wrote on Twitter one day after Israel began to bombard Gaza.
This has echoed in how some states have responded to Israel’s aggression on the Palestinians.
Last week, the Maldives decided to suspend “all relations” with Israel, including a ban on Israeli products. “The stance of Maldives is clear; we stand against injustice and in solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle to secure their inalienable right to statehood,” Mabrook Azeez, spokesman of Maldives’ presidential office, announced last week.
Pro-Palestinian protests have continued too
In the United States, more than 90 rallies were organised in different cities including New York, Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Portland, North Carolina and Texas, CNN reported on Sunday.
Anti-Israel protests continued in many other parts of the world, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and South Africa.
The demonstrations have been taking place since Israel started its bombing campaign in Gaza.
The protests have been held in cities including Milan, Brussels, Berlin, Doha, Dhaka, Bristol, Amman, Cardiff, Dublin, Paris, Sydney, Chicago, Liverpool, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Edinburgh and Damascus.
Since Ramadan – the Islamic holy month of fasting – Israel has been taking a number of provocative measures against the Palestinians.
This includes a blocking of Palestinians accessing Al-Aqsa mosque compound, attacks on them by both Israeli security forces and settlers in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, and plans to evict almost 1,550 Palestinians from 100 homes in East Jerusalem.
According to official Palestinian estimates, 63 percent of them are youth under the age of 18.
The Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza led to the death of 253 people, the injury of thousands and – based on UN figures – the destruction of 1,000 homes.