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Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions

November 28, 2010

(August 11th 2010)

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: Reflections, Suggestions

I have been having conversations with many people lately about boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) and its role in the larger movement of Palestinian civil resistance. So, I decided to set my thoughts out here for discussion/debate.

1) The boycott is of anyone who benefits by being a part of the state. This includes people in the form of citizenship, since every Israeli citizen receives direct and indirect benefits from the state. Any Israeli citizen, therefore, or joint project with an Israeli citizen is subject to the academic, cultural and economic sectors of the boycott.

2) In order to succeed, the Palestinian struggle for human rights, sovereignty, and reparation/ repatriation must link itself to justice movements globally. In this framework, the Israeli state can be seen as an imperial outpost, a kind of frontier settlement  in the American/western European drive for resource acquisition and the accompanying psychological warfare of ideology. The Palestinian movement is not separated from the landless workers movement in Brazil (MST), the Tibetan struggle, Kashmir, or the Native American struggle in North America. Disenfranchisement and occupation are remarkably similar everywhere and the resistances to them are also similar.

3) It is good to know that a British court ruled recently in favor of four BDS activists who were demonstrating inside an Ahava store in downtown London. The legality of BDS is firmly established in international law, notably UN resolutions 1701. In fact, enshrining BDS in the governments of every state internationally would seem to be a logical outcome of their signatures of the UN Charter for Human Rights and other bodies of international human right law. BDS, then, is not simply a movement of personal responsibility/ consumer choice, but a legal and political took for the advancement of human rights.

4) Palestinians will not give up their right of return, nor should they have to. This is a basic right given to them by the international law and recognized by every state in the world.

poster by Jama Al-Yad Art Collective

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