WHAT IS BDS?
Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.
Israel is occupying and colonising Palestinian land, discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes.
In 2005, Palestinian civil society organisations called for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) as a form of non-violent pressure on Israel. The BDS movement was launched by 170 Palestinian unions, refugee networks, women’s organisations, professional associations, popular resistance committees and other Palestinian civil society bodies.
Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the Palestinian BDS call urges nonviolent pressure on Israel until it complies with international law by meeting three demands:
- Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall.
- Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality.
- Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.
WHAT ARE BOYCOTTS, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS?
BOYCOTTS involve withdrawing support for Israel and Israeli and international companies that are involved in the violation of Palestinian human rights, as well as complicit Israeli sporting, cultural and academic institutions.
DIVESTMENT campaigns urge banks, local councils, churches, pension funds and universities to withdraw investments from all Israeli companies and from international companies involved in violating Palestinian rights.
SANCTIONS campaigns pressure governments to fulfill their legal obligation to hold Israel to account including by ending military trade, free-trade agreements and expelling Israel from international forums such as the UN and FIFA.
BDS aims to end international support for Israeli violations of international law by forcing companies, institutions and governments to change their policies. As Israeli companies and institutions become isolated, Israel will find it more difficult to oppress Palestinians.
The growth and success of the BDS movement sends a clear message to Palestinians and to world governments that people around the world are increasingly unwilling to accept Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.
Associations and Unions Join the Academic Boycott
The academic boycott is supported by academic associations across the world, including the American Studies Association, National Women’s Studies Association, African Literature Association, among others. The Teachers Union of Ireland, Federation of Francophone Students in Belgium (FEF), the National Union of Students (NUS) in the UK, Qatar University Student Representative Board (QUSRB), the graduate student workers unions at New York University and University of Massachusetts Amherst, among many others, have endorsed the academic boycott of Israel.
International companies pull out of Israel
Major European companies Veolia, Orange and CRH have all exited the Israeli market after high profile campaigns over their complicity with Israeli violations. Veolia sold its businesses in Israel and ended its role in infrastructure projects for illegal Israeli settlements after boycott campaigners persuaded local councils to drop Veolia from public contracts worth at least $20bn.
Major shareholders divest
Institutional investors including the Presbyterian Church USA and the United Methodist Church (UMC), the Dutch pension fund PGGM and the Norwegian, Luxembourg and New Zealand governments have divested from companies over their role in Israeli violations of international law. Major European private banks including Nordea and Danske Bank and wealthy individuals including George Soros and Bill Gates have also divested from BDS targets.
BDS is an inclusive, anti-racist human rights movement that is opposed on principle to all forms of discrimination, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
A frequent tactic used to smear BDS is attempting to label it as anti-Jewish.. BDS founder Omar Barghouti has responded that “…Israel and its lobby groups often invoke the smear of anti-Semitism, despite the unequivocal, consistent position of the movement against all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism. This unfounded allegation is intended to intimidate into silence those who criticize Israel and to conflate such criticism with anti-Jewish racism. Arguing that boycotting Israel is intrinsically anti-Semitic is not only false, but it also presumes that Israel and ‘the Jews’ are one and the same. This is as absurd and bigoted as claiming that a boycott of a self-defined Islamic state like Saudi Arabia, say, because of its horrific human rights record, would of necessity be Islamophobic.”
THE BDS CALL: https://bdsmovement.net/call
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: https://bdsmovement.net/faqs