Sunday, 29 May 2016

The importance of another BDS victory

In another blow to the campaign to criminalize Palestine solidarity activism the Irish have joined the Dutch  government in  affirming that the  global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement represents a “legitimate” means of protest “intended to pressure Israel into ending the occupation.
BDS is a nonviolent, Palestinian-led human rights movement for freedom, justice and equality. Anchored in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international law, BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity. It aims to end international support for Israel’s regime of apartheid and settler colonialism that began with the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of 700,000 Palestinians to make way for the state of Israel, in 1948.The statements dealt a serious blow to Israel’s war of repression that has led governments in the UK, France, Canada and state legislatures across the US to introduce anti-democratic legislation and taking other  measures to undermine the BDS movement. Israel has recently admitted that it is using its intelligence services to spy on BDS activists overseas.
It is being hailed  as a victory for the growing BDS movement. It is important to note that this movement is about applying pressure to Israel to change its policies, that Israel is singled out by Palestinians and their supporters because their rights are singled out by Israel for violation. It uses effective but peaceful ways to pressure Israel to end its occupation, ensuring Palestinians have the same rights that we take for granted. In a civil society we should be allowed to hold countries and companies accountable for their actions.
Some people  think that Israeli artists are boycotted and singled out because they are Israeli (they are not). The cultural boycott does not target Israelis, and allows great latitude for cultural engagement. What it targets is institutions that represent and are complicit with state policies in the same way  that international boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) efforts helped topple South Africa’s brutal apartheid regime.
which uses effective-yet-peaceful means to pressure Israel to end the occupation and ensure Palestinians have the rights we take for granted. It is civil society holding countries and companies accountable for their actions. - See more at:
I support this campaign  because it  tries to draw awareness of  Israels continuing  occupation, colonization, and apartheid against the Palestinian people. That  points the way forward to a united global civil society movement for freedom, justice, self-determination, and equality for all, I will continue to do so until  Israel abides by international law and basic human rights norms, I feel the BDS movement holds a legitimate political viewpoint  and I do not agree with those who attempt to demonize those who support it's aims.This campaign for Palestinian rights is an anti-racist campaign, and that any attempt to connect or conflate antisemitism with the campaign for the rights of the Palestinian people is wrong, misleading and harmful, a campaign based on the principles of peace, justice and international law.
One could argue about the efficiancy and propriety of certain tactics, and I acknowledge their are those who do not support some or all aspects of boycotts on principle, like the author JK Rowling who stated recently that she supports the cultural engagement with Israel but I stand with those don't agree with this point of view, and will try with reason to argue the importance of standing firm with the oppressed and downtrodden.
It is important that we set out the campaign for Palestinian rights is an anti-racist campaign, and that any attempt to connect or conflate antisemitism with the campaign for the rights of the Palestinian people is wrong, misleading and harmful.
Our aims set out that ours is a campaign based on the principles of peace, justice and international law.
- See more at:
With the Netherlands and Ireland now joining Sweden in defending the right to advocate and campaign for Palestinian rights under international law. through BDS, Israels attempts to get BDS outlawed in Europe and to bully its supporters into silence has been dealt a serious blow.
Lets hope that civil societies here in the UK continue to speak out against attacks on  Palestinian solidarity that dehumanises Palestinians, silence Palestinian narratives and repress civil and democratic rights of UK citizens.
This should all be read in relation to the case of Palestinian human rights defender and co-founder of the BDS movement Omar Barghouti who is currently  facing politically motivated repression by Israel. Israel is refusing to renew the travel document of Barghouti, a Palestinian born in the diaspora married to a Palestinian citizen of Israel, despite having lived in Israel for 22 years with no criminal record preventing him from pursuing his campaign work internationally. He has been told that his permanent residency status is being reviewed.Thus the Israeli government’s refusal to allow him to travel is obviously intended to suppress his speech and activism. It is ironic that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was one of the world leaders who traveled last year to Paris to participate in that city’s “free speech rally.”
The human rights groups Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Front Line Defenders have all made statements concerning Barghouti’s liberty and safety, with Amnesty and Front Line Defenders designating him a human rights defender. We should remain concerned about wider Israeli attempts to pressure nongovernmental organizations and human rights defenders through legislation and other means to hinder their important work.
In the following video Omar sets out the case for BDS :-

Here is a link to the BDS Movements website :-

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