What is the BDS [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions] movement?
Modeled after global actions taken against South Africa during its apartheid era, a majority of Palestinian civil society in 2005 called upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel until it complies with international law. The BDS movement is both a grassroots movement springing organically from the soil of Palestine itself and an international movement in which all can participate and show solidarity with Palestinians regardless of where they may be in the world. The three demands of the movement are that Israel terminate the occupation of all lands occupied in 1967, including the dismantling of the wall and the illegal Jewish-only colonies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, uphold the right of return of Palestinian refugees as stipulated and guaranteed by international law, and end its system of institutionalized racism and segregation against Palestinian citizens of Israel. BDS has been endorsed by over 170 Palestinian parties, organizations, trade unions and movements representing the Palestinian people in the 1967 and 1948 territories and in the diaspora and has been gaining international adherents since its inception.
Why should I support the BDS movement? Isn’t a boycott unfair?
Through decades of occupation, colonization, ethnic cleansing, and racial discrimination, Israel has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights for freedom, equality and self-determination. Despite repeated condemnation of Israel’s policies by the United Nations, countless human rights organizations, and governments, Israel continues its war crimes and apartheid system with impunity. BDS is the most effective non-violent and morally consistent means for achieving justice and genuine peace in the region through concerted international pressure. Like the global movement against apartheid in South Africa, the BDS movement takes as its task the organization of grassroots efforts to pressure institutions to hold Israel accountable.
How can BDS really help achieve peace?
Israel’s flagrant disregard for human rights and international law is a significant threat to regional and global security. As international governing organizations like the UN and International Court of Justice are ineffective in having Israel end any of its unjust policies, we, the international community, must act to exert pressure and to let Israel know that it must end its crimes against Palestinians. The boycott is a way to alert and educate all that we are not helpless in the face of injustice. The boycott gives a voice to us as individuals to object to the settlements and the occupation; we can and must affect a global movement in our everyday lives in order to achieve peace.
Links & Resources
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel
Who Profits from the Occupation?
Divestment Toolkit- Start a campaign in your school or community
Why I am for academic boycott, Ahmed Moor
Study: Tel Aviv University part and parcel of the Israeli occupation