BDS campaign calls for boycott against Israel

BDS campaign inspired by boycott movement against South African apartheid.

Justin Yun, Writer

Nonviolent resistance is the only way to successfully end Israeli occupation of Palestinian land in the West Bank and pressure those in power to reject businesses profiting from apartheid.

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

Just as the Anti-Apartheid Movement helped bring down South African apartheid, citizens should join Palestinians boycotting the products sold by companies profiting off war and ethnic cleansing. It is why I support the boycott, divestment and sanctions or BDS movement that calls for the end of the military occupation and colonization of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza strip.

The Palestinian Civil Society in 2005 started the BDS movement and the Palestinian BDS National Committee currently coordinates the campaign. According to the BDS Movement website, over “170 Palestinian political parties, organizations, trade unions and movements” have endorsed the campaign to divest from Israel.

No Defense

Compared to the technologically sophisticated and well armed Israeli Defense Forces, the Palestinians have nothing. Palestinians have no armed forces to defend themselves from from IDF tanks or armored personnel carriers. The Palestinians have no air force to defend schools and homes from F-16 fighter jets that regularly bomb and kill women and children in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The journalist Max Blumenthal provides a grueling account of Operation Protective Edge — a 51 day war that left over 2,200 people dead. There is no powerful lobbying group or presidential candidate willing to defend the Palestinians.

Companies and governments need to divest from corporations that profit off Israel’s military occupation. These companies include Caterpillar and Hyundai, which supply the Israeli government with equipment to illegally bulldoze Palestinian homes for Israeli settlements. Citizens must also boycott products such as Ahava cosmetics and Eden Springs bottled water that are manufactured by companies that support the occupation. Citizens must also pressure their government to place sanctions on Israel for violations of international law.

Stop Sending Aid

As Americans, we must pressure our government to stop sending military aid to Israel. This relationship is based on military and geopolitical importance and has profoundly benefited the military-industrial complex. Defense companies including Raytheon and Lockheed Martin make billions selling fighter jets and weapons to the Israeli military. The Israeli military is one of the largest consumers of American weapons.

These companies are complicit in the oppression of Israeli arabs and the Palestinian people and need to be sanctioned. For companies like G4S, who sell security technologies to Israeli prisons, business is just business.

Scholars and intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappe have spent decades calling for an end to the Israeli occupation and settler-colonialism. Their works have exposed the architecture of occupation and the history behind the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A significant backlash against the movement has already occurred. Journalists Zaid Jilani and Alex Emmons report in an article for The Intercept on how the U.K. and French government have started to outlaw public support for the movement.

Dedication to Freedom

All people dedicated to the struggle for the freedom and flourishing of humanity should partake in the BDS movement or at least try to learn about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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