By Rebel Fagin
Israel pays a great deal of attention to how they are perceived. The American corporate media assist by consistently showing Palestinians in violent resistance to Israeli oppression. They never show the non-violent resistance. One aspect of this non-violent resistance is the global Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. People worldwide are choosing to not participate in economic exchanges that perpetuates evil and it’s having an impact.
On July 9, 2005, the overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society launched the Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it fully complies with international law. More than 170 Palestinian civil society groups, including all major political parties, refugee rights associations, trade unions, women’s unions, NGOs, and many grassroots organizations have joined in. In 2008 this coalition reorganized as the BDS National Committee (BNC).
Let’s review some history here. In1948, UN Resolution 181 divided Palestine into Palestine and Israel. Jews from all over the world were invited to live in Israel under UN Resolution 194. It states: “Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the governments or authorities responsible.” This right of return law applies to all refugees, even Palestinians. In 1950 Israel passed its Law of Return which limits the right to return to Israel to Jews alone in direct violation of international law.
In 1967, at the end of the Six –Day War, Israel illegally occupied all Palestinian lands. UN Resolution 242 called for Israel to return to the legal boundaries between the two countries. Israel has refused ever since and compounded their crimes by stealing land with illegal settlements, segregated roads, and an Apartheid Wall, all of which violates international law. Settlers go armed in the illegally occupied territories, destroying crops, stealing homes, and assaulting Palestinians all under the protective eyes of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). These Palestinians live under military occupation.
Within Israel 80% of the population enjoys a democracy. They are Jewish. In 1952 Israel passed its Citizenship Law. Jews alone may hold nationality. This has created within Israel what the UN calls an apartheid state. Democracy for some – discrimination for others.
Most Palestinians live in exile, unable to return home despite laws to the contrary.
The BDS Movement has three basic goals as the minimum requirement to achieve peace with Israel. 1) End the occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied since 1967 and dismantle the wall. 2) Recognize the fundamental rights of Arab and Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality. 3) Respecting, protecting, and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties, as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.
The international boycott movement gains strength at each Israeli attroctiy. Targets for boycott are carefully selected based on: 1) level of complicity in human rights violations, 2) the possibility of coalition building with other groups injured by this company, 3) possibility of success.
This movement is enjoying success internationally. This summer, Zim shipping lines were met with protesters who shut down ports in Vancouver, Seattle, Tacoma, Oakland, Long Beach and elsewhere along the Pacific Coast. Eventually they returned to unload part of their cargo in Long Beach and truck it up north. This was an added expense and they took on no new cargo. Then, in November, Zim decided to discontinue sending ships to California.
A campaign from Palestine to London to Boston to Yolo County to St. Louis to Sonoma County pressured Veolia to sell their segregated bus lines in the illegally occupied West Bank. Veolia also lost their Boston commuter rail contract.
In the United States, TIAA-CREF, one of the largest retirement funds, divested Veolia from their Social Choice Fund and the United Methodist Church divested from G4S, a security forces supplier.
The German government decided to boycott business with Israeli companies doing business in the illegally occupied territories. PGGM, Holland’s second largest pension fund, also divested from five banks participating in the illegal settlements. Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global has blacklisted Africa Israel Investments and Danya Cebus due to their ties with the illegal settlements. Argentine authorities have suspended $170 million in a water treatment deal with Mekorot, Israel’s state run water company.
In October, Macy’s announced they would no longer be carrying Soda Stream due to their location in the illegally occupied territories. Then, later that same month, Soda Stream announced that they were moving their operations out of the illegally occupied territories. All this in 2014 and the list keeps growing!
To learn more and join the international campaign go to www.globalexchange, jvp.org (Jewish voices for peace), endtheoccupation.org, break the siege.net., or IfAmericaKnew.org.
If you want to go beyond boycotts you can help the people of Palestine directly by purchasing their homemade goods. Middle East Children’s Alliance can be supported through Shop Palestine, while the International Solidarity Movement can be reached at ISM.com. Both offer gifts, olive oil, ceramics, soaps, textiles, and other homemade goods. Order on line and ask you local progressive stores to carry Palestinian products. Most Palestinians are unemployed. Israel allows the minimum caloric intake of food into Gaza daily and no more. The Israeli Defense Forces routinely destroy drinking fountains in schools and playgrounds. You can help relieve the suffering of others with what your consumer choices. Today’s the day to stand up for justice.
Sources: BDS © 2011 Omar Barghouti, Common Dreams 3/24/14, If Israel is the multicultural democracy it claims to be, why is it so offended by the right of return 5/17/11 © Deppen Webber, Censored 2014 © Huff & Roth, FPM News 11/27/14
Rebel can be read at the Sonoma County Peace Press and The Daily Censored