Poster for the Sheffield Anti-Apartheid movement, supporting freedom in Southern Africa (Sheffield City Archives)
In the 1980s, following a campaign by Sheffield leaders and anti-apartheid activists, Sheffield became the first council in the country to pledge that it would end all links with apartheid South Africa. The council stopped its pension funds investing in companies linked to apartheid and barred South African sports teams from using its playing fields. Boycotts, divestment and sanctions were one of the most effective ways to apply pressure, and Sheffield led the way.

There have been 75 years of policies implemented by the Israeli state designed to discriminate against Palestinian people and force them from their homes. For the last 16 years, Gaza has been under illegal blockade, which preceded the Hamas atrocity of October 7th and the current genocidal campaign by the Israeli state. In the past few months over 30,000 people have been killed in Gaza – 11,000 of them children.

People may feel powerless in the face of this, but we are not. Now is the time for Sheffield City Council to show leadership once more. In November, Sheffield Council resolved to note that “Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, B’tselem and the South African government recognise that the Israeli Government is enacting a system of apartheid”. We now need to declare our city an Israeli Apartheid-free zone.

Our city must cut ties with all companies that contribute to the genocide of the Palestinian people and apartheid system. This action will show solidarity with the ordinary Israelis and Palestinians who are trying to find a political solution. It will add to the pressure on extremists in the Israeli government and grow the chances of hope and peace.

To support the call for Sheffield Council to boycott and divest from Israeli apartheid, please sign the petition

Alexi Dimond
Sheffield City Councillor for Gleadless Valley

Alexi Dimond addresses the Stop Genocide in Gaza rally
Alexi addresses the Stop Genocide in Gaza rally