This morning an Israeli based human rights group that goes by the name of "Boycott!" delivered a letter to South African student groups, university administrations and the South African National Directorate of Public Prosecutions.
The letter was co-signed by Professor Nurit Peled-Elhanan, the laureate of the European Union's Sakharov Prize for Human Rights and Freedom of Thought.
The letter supports the South African Student Congress call made last week for a complete boycott of the upcoming Israeli "propaganda" mission to South African campuses between the 11th and 21st of August 2011.
The letter has been hailed as "brave" and "progressive" by South African student leaders. Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, of Wits University, who said after receiving the letter: "This Israeli letter is a brave form of solidarity particularly at a time when Israel is criminalizing, through its parliament, any support given for such campaigns."
Israeli parliament recently passed legislation that would effectively criminalize support for any boycott against Israel. Amnesty International condemned the new Israeli bill, saying it "will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression."
The Israeli letter to South African peers follows below:
"Dear South African peers,
"We are members of BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within, a group of Israeli students, professors, citizens, and residents who are active against our government's policies of apartheid, occupation and racism.
"We would like to express our solidarity with South Africa's leading student bodies (the SA Union of Students, SA Student Congress and the Young Communist League of South Africa) who, together with other groups, intend to challenge and boycott a delegation of Israeli “students” arriving in South Africa on a propaganda mission, titled, "What Is Rael", on 11 August 2011.
"The Israeli “student” delegation is part of a well-orchestrated Israeli establishment’s attempt to whitewash severe violations of human rights, including war crimes, through a fictitious display of "diversity and democracy".
"The What Is Rael delegation is part of a Stand with Us  project , which is supported by the Jewish Agency. The Jewish Agency is responsible for numerous colonization projects in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel. Its latest well-funded project is the online reality series, "Is.Real" , showcasing a gallery of so-called "Israeli" identities of young “beautiful” people in Tel-Aviv, furthering the strategy of appealing to Western audiences.
"Furthermore, the stifling of Palestinian academic freedom has been a pillar of Israel's violent policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Israeli “student” delegation will not include Palestinian students languishing in Israeli prisons under draconian administrative detention decrees. The delegation will not include Palestinian students who are routinely humiliated and beaten at Israeli military checkpoints on their way to or from their university. The delegation will not include Palestinian students whose universities have been shut down, with any attempt to create makeshift study groups being rendered "cells of illegal education".  The delegation will not include Palestinian students whose universities have been bombed in the Gaza Massacres of 2009 ("Operation Cast Lead").
"We would also like to draw the South African public's attention to the fact that many of the Israeli participants boast of their military service in combat units, in the biographical statements they submitted.Since the Israeli army has been committing war crimes on a regular basis in recent years, and specifically in Operation Cast Lead, it is likely that members of the delegation participated in acts which amount to war crimes.
"We support your resistance to the Israeli government's propaganda in your universities and your efforts in advocating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel campaign at your campuses.
"Professor Professor Nurit Peled-Elhanan and 25 others on behalf of BOYCOTT!