BDS 10 years on
With the 10th anniversary of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)
movement, the international drive to isolate Israel has been capturing world headlines and causing concern in political circles in Israel.
The BDS movement started on 9 July, 2005, when 171 Palestinian civil society organisations united and began to find innovative mechanisms to fight the occupation. It has grown at a rapid pace despite the skepticism that met its founding. The campaign now has in its fold over hundreds of campaigns on spread over six continents.
The groups involved are varied and include churches, trade unions and universities, community organizations and even some government agencies. Their initiatives aim at divesting from companies holding Israeli military contracts, to consumer boycotts, calls for musicians, academics, and other artists to cancel appearances in Israel. They also ask for governments to impose sanctions on Israel.
The central demands from Israel are now: Ending the occupation and colonization of Arab lands; the demolishing of its West Bank separation barrier; granting Palestinian citizens full equality and rights; and granting refugees the allow the return. These goals are well integrated and BDS leaders know that the clarity and methods of the goals lend a common vision, unity and cohesion to the diverse movement.
Over the past decade, Israel’s own actions have helped fueled the movement, with new activists and campaign successes following successive Israeli military operations. The unprecedented toll of last year’s offensive in Gaza – Operation Protective Edge- spurred the movement and gave it huge momentum even in countries like the USA and UK where support for Israel used to be stronger.
Click here to see the interview with Omar Barghouti co-founder of the BDS Movement, who offers valuable and challenging insights.
Source: Ranjan Solomon
Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum