Israeli Apartheid Week events held in the UK, as Israel intensifies its colonisation

28 February 2017 - 12:30am
Press release

This week universities across the UK will hold educational, cultural, and campaigning events under the banner of Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW). The events, part of an annual international series, seek to raise awareness about Israel’s military occupation, apartheid policies and decades long settler-colonial project.

IAW builds support for the growing Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to end government and corporate complicity in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights and international law.

This year’s IAW takes place as Israel intensifies its colonisation. Already in 2017, Israel has announced plans to build thousands of new illegal settlement units in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and has continued with its demolition of Palestinian homes and villages on both sides of the Green Line.

Ryvka Barnard from War on Want says:

 “War on Want is proud to participate in critical discussion and campaigns opposing all human rights abuses, including Israel’s system of control over Palestinians, which has been described as apartheid by South African faith leader Desmond Tutu, a former US president, two former United Nations Special Rapporteurs and countless other legal scholars, historians and academics engaged in research on the topic.”

Rafeef Ziadah from the Israeli Apartheid Week International organising committee adds:

“Throughout Israeli Apartheid Week students will highlight the British government’s support for Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian human rights. Sadly, Israel’s escalating military occupation and apartheid policies are only made possible through the continued financial, military and diplomatic support it receives. Students will be launching inspiring divestment campaigns to insist universities end all forms of complicity with Israel’s system of oppression.”

IAW events in the UK include a three city tour (London, Manchester, Brighton) featuring renowned social justice leaders: the South African Professor Farid Esack and New York-based poet and educator Aja Monet (biographies below). These events bring together veteran activists from the anti-apartheid struggle, Black Lives Matter and Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in dialogue to mark collective resistance to oppression.

IAW began in Toronto in 2005, and has spread to over 200 cities around the world. IAW 2017 marks 100 years of Palestinian resistance against settler-colonialism, since the Balfour Declaration, which announced British support for the colonisation of Palestine and ushered in a century of Palestinian dispossession.


Notes to editors:

For more information and interviews contact Ryvka Barnard at

For more on Apartheid:

Details on IAW opening panel in London

Israeli Apartheid Week 2017: London opening plenary (DUE TO HIGH DEMAND, THE VENUE HAS BEEN CHANGED TO ACCOMODATE)

  • Date: Tuesday 28 February 2017
  • Time: 6:30-8:30 pm
  • Place: B5 Auditorium, Waterloo Campus KCL, Franklin-Wilkins Building, Stamford Street, London SE1 8WA
  • Cost: FREE but tickets must be booked (step 1: register as a 'guest': step 2: reserve a free ticket)


Aja Monet - A contemporary poet, lyricist and activist of Cuban-Jamaican descent from Brooklyn, New York. A volunteer with Dream Defenders, part of the broader Movement for Black Lives.

Farid Esack - A veteran anti-apartheid activist and Professor in the Study of Islam and Head of the Department of Religion Studies at the University of Johannesburg.

Sponsored by War on Want, Palestine BDS National Committee (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement), the NUS Black Student Campaign, SOAS Palestine society and KCL Action Palestine.


*Professor Farid Esack is a South African Muslim Theologian who cut his teeth in the South African struggle for liberation. He studied in Pakistan, the UK (Birmingham) and Germany and is the author of a number of books on Islam, Gender Justice, Liberation Theology, Religion & AIDS and Qur'anic Hermeneutics. Professor Esack served as a Commissioner for Gender Equality South African and has taught at a number of universities across the globe including Amsterdam, Columbia, and Harvard.

A veteran of struggle against Apartheid and an activist in the inter-religious solidarity movement for justice and peace as well as AIDS awareness, he played a leading role in the United Democratic Front, the Call of Islam, the Organisation of People Against Sexism and the World Conference on Religion & Peace.

One of the leading intellectuals in the world of Islamic Studies, Farid Esack is also Chairperson of Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) South Africa.

He has been to Palestine/Israel eight times, and written extensively on the Occupation, the Apartheid South Africa- Apartheid Israel analogy and has addressed the problem of Holocaust denial and Muslim anti-Semitism.


*Aja Monet is a Caribbean-American poet, educator and social activist from Brooklyn, New York. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has won numerous awards including: the Nuyorican Poet’s Café Grand Slam title, the Andrea Klein Willison Prize for Poetry, as well as the YWCA of the City of New York’s “One to Watch Award”—an award established in honour of Monet’s work exemplifying the mission to empower women and eliminate racism. Aja Monet independently published her first book of poetry, The Black Unicorn Sings (2010). In 2012, she collaborated with Saul Williams on a poetry anthology Chorus: A Literary Mixtape. Her first full collection of poems is forthcoming in May 2017 on Haymarket Books entitled, “my mother was a freedom fighter.”

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