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The Case for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions(BDS) NCSU, September 13, 2010 Sponsored by the Coalition for Peace with Justice Rania Masri

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Presentation on theme: "The Case for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions(BDS) NCSU, September 13, 2010 Sponsored by the Coalition for Peace with Justice Rania Masri"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Case for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions(BDS) NCSU, September 13, 2010 Sponsored by the Coalition for Peace with Justice Rania Masri NCSU, September 13, 2010 Sponsored by the Coalition for Peace with Justice Rania Masri

2 According to the Media… ….the sides meet again to discuss peace ….and work towards a Palestinian State in….two years

3 17 Years Today…


5 Four Israelis killed in shooting attack near Hebron [occupied West Bank] … Hamas claims responsibility for attack in which two men and two women, one of whom was pregnant, were killed. (August 31, 2010) Since [that] fatal shooting of four settlers from the settlement of Beit Haggai just outside of Kiryat Arba, Palestinians in the area have been subjected to what the settlers call "price tag" reprisal attacks and repeated Israeli army incursions. Settlers have been burning fields, destroying property, stoning Palestinian houses and erecting new settlement outposts. (September 6, 2010) Palestinian killed in Gaza tunnel collapse: medics … The 19-year-old died near the Rafah border post … More than 130 Palestinians have died in cave- ins or been killed by Israeli military operations aimed at the tunnels (August 29, 2010) Palestinian killed in Gaza tunnel collapse: medics … The 19-year-old died near the Rafah border post … More than 130 Palestinians have died in cave- ins or been killed by Israeli military operations aimed at the tunnels (August 29, 2010) At least one Palestinian was killed and two injured in an Israeli airstrike on smuggling tunnels in southern Gaza along the border with Egypt (September 5, 2010) A 91 year old and his 17 year old grandson and their 16 year old neighbor were killed by Israeli shells in Gaza … Tanks fired shells directly at them while they were tending livestock on their own farm, 700 meters from the border (September 11, 2010)

6 Palestinian Civil Society Calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights. 9 July 2005 We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel. We also invite conscientious Israelis to support this Call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.

7 Palestinian Civil Society Calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights. 9 July 2005 These non-violent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self- determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by: 1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall; 2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and 3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

8 Israel is an Apartheid State -- throughout the land of Palestine – The prolonged occupation and colonization of Gaza and the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, and other Arab territories; The system of racial discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel; and The persistent denial of the UN-sanctioned rights of the Palestinian refugees, paramount among which is their right to reparations and to return to their homes of origin, in accordance with UNGA Res. 194. 8

9 What is Apartheid? …similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in southern Africa which have the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them, in particular by means such as segregation, expropriation of land, and denial of the right to leave and return to their country, the right to a nationality and the right to freedom of movement and residence (Article II, International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, UN General Assembly Resolution 3068, 30 Nov 1973). 9

10 Similarities in struggle against apartheid: South Africa and Palestine 10

11 Global Anti-Apartheid Movement … what prevented South Africas white supremacist government from escalating their own violence to Israeli levels of cruelty and audacity was not that they had greater scruples than the Zionist regime. It was recognition that they alone could not stand against a global anti-apartheid movement that was in solidarity with the internal resistance. Israels military deterrent has now been repeatedly discredited as a means to force Palestinians and other Arabs to accept Zionist supremacy as inevitable and permanent. Now, the other pillar of Israeli power Western support and complicity is starting to crack. We must do all we can to push it over. – Ali Abunimah, 2009 11

12 Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions (BDS) Boycott: Form of pressure through non-cooperation. Consumer actions include product (economic boycott), academic, cultural, and sports boycott. Divestment: The selling of stocks or bonds from a company proting from unjust practices. This is done by institutional investors like churches and universities. Sanctions: Economic and diplomatic restrictions imposed by governments against other governments. 12

13 Why support BDS? The goal is Justice. Equality. Universal human rights. Can Palestinians and Israelis negotiate now? BDS: If you want to continue violating human rights, it cant be business as usual. BDS: If you respect universal human rights, no problem. 13

14 Critical Elements for Change, from the South African example 1. Sustainability (long-haul) 2. Careful research 3. Linking of struggles 4. Support of Palestinian grassroots organizations … and 14

15 Which Companies to Boycott? Companies that invest in Israel/OPT Companies that invest in Israeli firms Companies that make gifts to Zionist Charities Companies that support Zionism Companies that open research enters in Israel 15

16 … The Key BDS applies pressure on a target government to change its unjust policies by consistently and systematically isolating it internationally. So what does that mean for our actions…? 16

17 Academic, Cultural, Athletic and Economic boycott But a boycott violates academic freedom. I say: Whose freedom? Freedom is merely privilege extended unless enjoyed by one and all. -Nada Elia

18 Isolation. Pete Seeger: Please Don't Play to Greenwash Ethnic Cleansing. Carlos Santana canceled his planned concert in Jaffa this June, after receiving several letters from Pro-Palestinian groups, and Human Rights Groups. He received messages that 'it's better' not to perform in Israel. Elvis Costello has cancelled two concerts he was scheduled to play in protest of Israels treatment of Palestinians. Costello was due to play on 30 June and 1 July but says his "conscience" dictated that he pull out of the performances. Others who cancelled their performances in Israel: Pixies, Gorillaz Sound System, Gil Scott-Heron, Bono/U2, Leftfield and Neil Barnes, and Devandra Banhart 18

19 In response to Israel's Freedom Flotilla massacre, the prominent Scottish writer, Iain Banks, wrote in the Guardian that the best way for international artists, writers and academics to convince Israel of its moral degradation and ethical isolation is simply by having nothing more to do with this outlaw state. So: should we leave it to personal choice? Strength is in community position 19

20 2009 Supporters of BDS Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontarios University Workers Coordinating Committee Fédération autonome du collégial (FAC), Quebec College Federation Scottish Trade Union Congress An Australian dock workers union British fire fighter union (Fire Brigades Union) – calls for complete boycott of Israel (August 2009) Academics from England, Scotland, France, United States 20

21 2009 Victories thus far In the U.S., Hampshire College (MA) set a historic precedent by announcing its divestment from 6companies profiting from the Israeli occupation. Significantly, Hampshire was also the first college in the US to divest from apartheid South Africa in the 1970s. In Wales, Cardiff University acceded to demands by students and decided to divest from companies supporting the occupation. In Britain, Britain's trade unions passed a resolution to boycott Israeli goods; In South Africa, dock workers refused to off-load a ship full of products from Israel – after a decision by the South African Trade Unions Congress to engage in boycott and sanctions against apartheid in Israel. In Canada, the Canadian Union of Public Employees voted to boycott Israel. In Norway, the Norwegian Pension Fund divestment from Israel's security company Elbit; 21

22 2009 Victories thus far… Motorola Israel Ltd sold its Government Electronics Department – which made several products to enable Israels military occupation. The protests had called on Motorola and its fully owned subsidiary, Motorola Israel Ltd., to end their sales of bomb fuses, communication devices, and surveillance equipment to the Israeli military. a global campaign against Lev Leviev's Africa-Israel diamond company leading to American, Norwegian, and English divestment; The French company Veolia withdrew from operating the rail project to connect the city center of Jerusalem with settlements in the West Bank (June 2009) 22

23 And more victories in 2009… There is a shift in the effectiveness of the BDS movement against Israel and that if the momentum is maintained and strengthened, Israeli businessmen may decide to move their headquarters away from Israel or to begin to put pressure on the Israeli government to begin respecting international law and ending the occupation. (March 2009) 23

24 SINCE: And still more victories … Sweden requests cancellation of national youth soccer team's match in Israel. "As humans, we are revolted by violence and shocked by what we saw," said Lars-Ake Lagrell, the head of the Swedish Soccer Association. (there were 11 Swedish nationals who participated in the flotilla that was stopped by Israel.) Source: Haaretz, June 1, 2010 Britain's largest union, Unite, has unanimously passed a motion to boycott Israeli companies at its first policy conference in Manchester. The motion called the union "to vigorously promote a policy of divestment from Israeli companies", while a boycott of Israeli goods and services will be "similar to the boycott of South African goods during the era of apartheid". (Source: Jerusalem Post. June 4, 2010) Sweden ports to block Israel ships, goods in response to Gaza flotilla takeover Week-long ban (June 15-24) is initiated by Swedish Port Workers Union, who says act is reaction to the 'unprecedented criminal attack on the peaceful ship convoy. (Source: Haaretz. June 5, 2010) 24

25 And… 6,000 Irish shoppers demand supermarket stops stocking Israeli goods: the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) delivered a petition to Dunnes Stores signed by 6,000 shoppers across Ireland demanding that Dunnes Stores stop stocking Israeli products, until Israel respects Palestinian rights and international law. (July 29, 2010) 6,000 Irish shoppers demand supermarket stops stocking Israeli goods Norwegian government pension fund excludes more Israeli companies (August 23, 2010) Norwegian government pension fund excludes more Israeli companies 25

26 And more communities speak out… Olympia Food Co-op removes Israeli goods from shelves; first US store to institute boycott The Olympia Food Co-op Board of Directors has decided to boycott Israeli goods at their two locations in Olympia, Washington, becoming the first US grocery store to publicly join the international grassroots movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) on Israel for its human rights abuses. (July 19, 2010) The California Israel Divestment Campaign announced the launch of California ballot initiative 10-0020 to require public employee systems to divest from certain business activities in Israel (September 5, 2010) 26

27 And from within Israel We, as Israeli citizens, raise our voices to call on EU leaders: use sanctions against Israel's brutal policies and join the active protests of Bolivia and Venezuela. We appeal to the citizens of Europe: please attend to the Palestinian Human Rights Organisation's call, supported by more than 540 Israeli citizens ( boycott Israeli goods and Israeli institutions; follow resolutions such as those made by the cities of Athens, Birmingham and Cambridge (US). This is the only road left. Help us all, please! – [January 17 2009] 27

28 We, Palestinians, Jews, citizens of Israel, join the Palestinian call for a BDS campaign against Israel, inspired by the struggle of South Africans against apartheid. We also 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 boycott the Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This is particularly outrageous given the international community's prolonged support of Israel's apartheid and other daily violations of international law. 28 Provoked by the recent announcement of the inauguration of a cultural center in Ariel, the fourth largest Jewish colony in the occupied Palestinian territory, 150 prominent Israeli academics, writers and cultural figures have declared that they "will not take part in any kind of cultural activity beyond the Green Line, take part in discussions and seminars, or lecture in any kind of academic setting in these settlements ("150 academics, artists back actors' boycott of settlement arts center," Haaretz, 31 August 2010). However… While we welcome acts of protest against any manifestation of Israel's regime of colonialism and apartheid, we believe that these acts must be both morally consistent and anchored in international law and universal human rights. (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, September 7, 2010)

29 Lets Assess. The key is De-Legitimization … To De-Legitimize Zionism, Israel To ensure that relations with Israel, in any form, are not viewed as normal. There is no normality in occupation and apartheid. 29

30 Legitimacy of the illegitimate: threatened Israel's international standing is in dire straits, as the legitimacy of its policies, positions, military operations, and even its very existence as a Jewish-Democratic state, are constantly contested and, as some claim, its legitimacy abroad is being eroded. - Winning the Battle of the Narrative. Working Paper for the 2010 Herzliya Conference. Feb. 2010. "There are millions of Indians who love us, a billion Chinese who love us, and millions of evangelicals, who love us. We have a problem with Sweden, but we're working on it. - Shimon Peres, Feb. 20, 2010. (J. Post) 30

31 What to do? Connect with BDS supporters worldwide Encourage BDS by unions, academics, athletes, etc. Research. Socially. Academically. Athletically. Economically Be inspired by activists from around the world! 31

32 Hope is real. Victory is tangible. Demolishing a system of apartheid takes time. But not an eternity. Henning Mankell - prize-winning writer and creator of Wallander, among those on board the Gaza flotilla. The Guardian, Saturday 5 June 2010 The Guardian 32

33 References Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel Palestinian Global BDS Movement US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel Olympia BDS: 33

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