Effectiveness of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS movement) is “rattling cages” within Israel (Image via Younes Arar)
The global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS movement) began in July 2005. The aim of the movement is to increase economic and political pressure on Israel through consumer boycotts and campaigns until it meets its obligations under international law to the Palestinian people and ends illegal occupation of their land. It is modelled on an earlier campaign against then apartheid South Africa. BDS works and has resulted in some companies withdrawing their services from Israel, see following link for one example,
“G4S to sell off operations in Israel as BDS claims victory”
There has been a recent clampdown however by those opposing BDS with calls by the British government in February to make it a criminal offence for public bodies and student unions to shun Israeli goods. However BDS was strongly defended by a spokesman for the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the Independent who said,
“The Government’s decision to ban councils and other public bodies from divesting from trade or investments they regard as unethical is an attack on local democracy.
“People have the right to elect local representatives able to make decisions free of central government political control. That includes withdrawal of investments or procurement on ethical and human rights grounds.”
British Justice Minister Michael Gove recently addressed the third annual Algemeiner “Jewish 100 Gala” in New York claiming BDS to be anti-semitic stating, “anti-semitism has changed. And now, it finds its expression in opposition to the Jewish people’s collective identity and the existence of the state of Israel.” His speech can be seen here,
Professor Kamel Hawwash a British Palestinian engineering academic based at the University of Birmingham, commentator on Middle East affairs and Vice Chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign denied this was the case in Middle East Monitor with the following words,
“The now regular accusation that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic is extremely dangerous. Anti-Semitism is about the hatred of Jews because they are Jews. By conflating this with a peaceful, moral tactic to pressure Israel to end its illegal and discriminatory policies against Palestinians in the occupied territories and its own citizens, Israel devalues the term. The reality is that many proponents of BDS are Jewish and some are Jewish Israelis. They all share the common and moral goal of achieving justice for Palestinians. True supporters of Palestinians should also do everything they can to ensure the pursuit of justice ensures that racism of any form is not tolerated but exposed and dealt with. The Palestinians will thank them for that.”
Israel’s failure to close down BDS has led to a disturbing new development according to Younes Arar, a Palestinian human rights defender from the West Bank, Hebron. Yesterday he posted the following message on his Facebook page alleging the following,
“Assassination of BDS activists,
The fascist Zionist occupation Intelligence and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz called to “Assassinate leaders of ” BDS” activists mainly in Europe and US during a conference organized “Yediot Aharonot” newspaper over the weekend, the conference was held to address the global boycott of the Zionist occupations government and the colonies goods (known as BDS). Yet, I didn’t hear any condemnation from the leaders of the West’s countries nor any call to the Zionist occupation government to terminate this minister for his open call to kill other countries subjects who peacefully protest for justice and freedom, protest to end this fascist occupation, 31 March 2016.”
If this allegation is correct then where are those within the British government that claim to uphold democracy and human rights? Surely any call to harm citizens across the world involved in peaceful protest can never be acceptable and must be condemned in the strongest terms. The government was voted in by the British people to serve the British people not the government of Israel!
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.