The global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights was initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005, and is coordinated by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), established in 2007. BDS is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice.
For decades, Israel has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination through ethnic cleansing, colonization, racial discrimination, and military occupation. Despite abundant condemnation of Israeli policies by the UN, other international bodies, and preeminent human rights organisations, the world community has failed to hold Israel accountable and enforce compliance with basic principles of law. Israel’s crimes have continued with impunity.
In view of this continued failure, Palestinian civil society called for a global citizens’ response. On July 9 2005, a year after the International Court of Justice’s historic advisory opinion on the illegality of Israel’s Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), a clear majority of Palestinian civil society called upon their counterparts and people of conscience all over the world to launch broad boycotts, implement divestment initiatives, and to demand sanctions against Israel, until Palestinian rights are recognised in full compliance with international law.
The campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is shaped by a rights-based approach and highlights the three broad sections of the Palestinian people: the refugees, those under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Palestinians in Israel. The call urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:
The BDS call was endorsed by over 170 Palestinian political parties, organizations, trade unions and movements. The signatories represent the refugees, Palestinians in the OPT, and Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Boycotts target products and companies (Israeli and international) that profit from the violation of Palestinian rights, as well as Israeli sporting, cultural and academic institutions. Anyone can boycott Israeli goods, simply by making sure that they don’t buy produce made in Israel or by Israeli companies. Campaigners and groups call on consumers not to buy Israeli goods and on businesses not to buy or sell them.
Israeli cultural and academic institutions directly contribute to maintaining, defending or whitewashing the oppression of Palestinians, as Israel deliberately tries to boost its image internationally through academic and cultural collaborations. As part of the boycott, academics, artists and consumers are campaigning against such collaboration and ‘rebranding’. A growing number of artists have refused to exhibit or play in Israel.
Divestment means targeting corporations complicit in the violation of Palestinian rights and ensuring that the likes of university investment portfolios and pension funds are not used to finance such companies. These efforts raise awareness about the reality of Israel’s policies and encourage companies to use their economic influence to pressure Israel to end its systematic denial of Palestinian rights.
Sanctions are an essential part of demonstrating disapproval for a country’s actions. Israel’s membership of various diplomatic and economic forums provides both an unmerited veneer of respectability and material support for its crimes. By calling for sanctions against Israel, campaigners educate society about violations of international law and seek to end the complicity of other nations in these violations.
The BDS National Committee
The efforts to coordinate the BDS campaign, that began to grow rapidly as soon as/once the 2005 Call was made public, culminated in the first Palestinian BDS Conference held in Ramallah in November 2007. Out of this conference emerged the BDS National Committee (BNC) as the Palestinian coordinating body for the BDS campaign worldwide. See the BNC page for more details.
Original article: BDSmovement.net
By Udi Aloni, 3 January 2010
I find it appropriate that the Israeli public be notified of the emerging movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel (BDS), which has been growing at a breathtaking pace. Following bewildered reports published by Yedioth Aharonot journalist Sever Plocker, who noticed that BDS has moved from the circles of the radical western left to the circles of the bourgeois centre, I can add that this is now true for Israel-loving Jews as well.
Obviously, this shift is taking place against the backdrop of Israel’s war on Gaza, waged one year ago, the publication of the Goldstone report, and the local strain of apartheid policy nurtured by Israel, which differs from the old South African one in some aspects. This policy has local makings and signature. It is not only an Israeli High Court of Justice ruling to evacuate Palestinian living in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarah from their homes, applying a “right of return for Jews only” rule, while Palestinians, on the other hand, are being denied this right. It is also the denial of Palestinian rights to send Palestinian policemen to carry out a “targeted assassination” of Jewish terrorist Yaacov Teitel (it should be noted that we object to all extrajudicial executions), while the alleged Palestinians murderers of a Jewish Rabbi in Samaria can be extrajudicially executed, with the ballistic weapon examination proving their guilt being performed retroactively by the executioners, not by a court of law (the appropriate instance in this case should be an international tribunal, since most Palestinians are sure that at least two of the three had nothing to do with the murder).
I am presenting these cases to illustrate the extreme inequality in our joint life, in this land, and emphasize the reasons behind the emergence of the popular global movement for solidarity with the Palestinian people. And please do not rush to your feet, protesting and chanting: “The whole world is against us, never mind, we shall overcome!”, because we shall not overcome.
The aforementioned violations of human rights are precisely the reason why many Jews all over the world have joined the BDS campaign, a key issue for those of us who are trying to prevent violence against Israel while simultaneously countering its arrogant and aggressive policies against the Palestinians living under its rule.
The head of the New School’s philosophy department (located in NYC) has argued that “Violence is never justified even if it is sometimes necessary”. This statement lays a heavy burden of guilt on numerous resistance movements all over the world, who have been compelled to resort to violence against occupying forces.
When the children in the Palestinian village of Bil’in, whose land is being grabbed by Israel in broad daylight under the pretext of “lawful conduct”, using heavily armed IDF soldiers, throw stones at soldiers, the village elders tell them: “Your act of stone-throwing is totally justified resistance, but we have chosen non-violent resistance for this village, and therefore violence is unnecessary here”. As part of our support for this type of non-violent action in places like Bil’in, and following forceful, violent IDF actions against the residents of the village, we, Israeli activists, have formulated our position in favor of BDS.
When the state quells the non-violent yet effective resistance of a right-less minority with violent unlawful means, then violent resistance to the military forces enforcing this oppression is justified. Indeed, such resistance may not always be necessary, may not always serve the goals of the struggle, and its shortcomings may outweigh its advantages, but it is still justified in principle.
In comparison, non-violent resistance in such instances is always justified and also always necessary. Regrettably, such resistance is not always possible.
Therefore, we must try to create the preconditions for non-violent resistance to emerge, in order to render violent resistance unnecessary.
The most provably-effective form of pressure known to us so far is BDS. Thus, BDS action does not amount to negative, counter-productive action, as many propagandists try to portray it. On the contrary, BDS action is a life-saving antidote to violence. It is an action of solidarity, partnership and joint progress. BDS action serves to preempt, in a non-violent manner, justified violent resistance aimed at attaining the same goals of justice, peace and equality.
If a critical mass of privileged Israeli citizens joins the non-violent struggle from the inside, standing shoulder to shoulder with the disenfranchised, perhaps outside pressure will no longer be necessary. The three very basic principles of BDS are:
- An immediate end of the occupation
- Full equality to all Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel
- Legal and moral Recognition of the Palestinian refugees’ right of return
(Obviously, each community’s position will be taken into consideration during the desired negotiations).
No right wing lobby, not even the messianic-evangelical lobby, and no lawyer from the Alan Dershowitz school can hold back for long the global popular movement which wants to see an end to our local conflict and regional peace, according to the principles of international law, in the benefit of both peoples.
Original article (Hebrew) at
Boycott from within for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) for Palestinian rights.
We, Palestinians, Jews, citizens of Israel, join the Palestinian United Call for BDS against Israel1 and call on others to do the same.
As people devoted to the promotion of just peace and true democracy in this region, we are especially opposed to the international community's decision to punish the Palestinians in the occupied territories and withhold funds from them, after they exercised their democratic right to elect the government of their choice. At the same time, the international community continues, through economic investments in Israel, involving governments and international corporations, to actively support Israel's daily violations of international law and accelerated colonization of the occupied territories.
We fear the potentially irreversible damage created by Israeli and international policy, and realize that the occupation will truly end only when its cost becomes higher that its gain for Israeli society, primarily for the Israeli elites. In light of attacks on boycott supporters, we emphasize that a critical stance against the occupation, including explicit BDS actions taken by individuals and organizations, are not Anti-Semitic. On the contrary, only resistance of this kind as part of the struggle for peace based on justice and equality will enable a common future for Arabs and Jews in the region. We stand against all forms of racism and oppression and support and encourage BDS actions as a legitimate political activity and necessary form of non-violent resistance.
We endorse the Palestinian call as it is, We will act inside Israel and outside of it to promote awareness and support for BDS.
Original report here (1st July 2009)
The struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is not unique -- whatever the news media may suggest. Lorenzo Veracini argues that the conflict is best understood in terms of colonialism. Like many other societies, Israel is a settler society. Looking in detail at the evolution of other colonial regimes -- apartheid South Africa, French Algeria and Australia -- Veracini presents a thoughtful interpretation of the dynamics of colonialism, offering a clear framework within which to understand the middle east crisis.