DURING this week a series of events takes place on certain university campuses around the country under the rubric of "Israel Apartheid Week".
The goal is to promote a campaign of boycott, disinvestment and sanctions against Israel by delegitimising it just as apartheid South Africa was once delegitimised.
The bankruptcy of this campaign is easily exposed by consulting the Freedom House tables which rate political rights and civil liberties around the world and in which Israel is in the top segment.
But it is not this fraud that I wish to write about.
Rather, I wish to turn to the ideological enthusiasts that sponsor this counterfeit event – BDS South Africa and the Palestinian Solidarity Forum.
Notwithstanding the fact that they cover for Islamist groups such as Hamas whose counterparts in Somalia, Darfur, Nigeria and most recently in Mali are murdering Africans in large numbers, they should be placed in the dock for their actions against the poor in South Africa.
They know full well that trade with Israel is skewed in South Africa's favour.
The R4.5-billion in South African exports to Israel last year represents thousands of jobs of which the loss would be devastating given our employment crisis.
Apparently BDS's telescopic philanthropy blinds them to the misery under their noses.
Israel also supplies technological know-how to rural communities in the fields of agriculture, Aids prevention and water purification.
These projects have alleviated poverty in villages across KwaZulu- Natal, Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape and elsewhere.
Two models – a 5ha collaborative model and a 2ha model for individual farmers – have been highly successful.
An example is a small rural community whose income was boosted from R30000 a year to R400000 last year. Even the 2ha model enables farmers to employ a further seven to 10 people.
Activities such as Israel Apartheid Week put these projects at risk.
The organisers seem not to care that the withdrawal of these projects would exact a terrible price from the poorest of the poor. This is unconscionable.
They should be held to account by all who care for South Africa and the most vulnerable of our people.
Chuck Volpe, Port Elizabeth