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It's Happening. BDS Is Working.

by Anna Baltzer and Ramah Kudaimi
July 18th, 2013


It's happening. The game is changing. A recent, must-read article in +972 magazine illustrates how Israeli politicians, top business leaders, and mainstream journalists, as well as strong U.S. voices like The New York Times' Thomas Friedman, say BDS -- the global campaign for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law and respects the rights of Palestinians -- is working. The only way to stop it and avoid eventual isolation, they say, is to end the occupation and ensure Palestinians their freedom.

Congratulations to our amazing member groups working hard on dynamic, creative BDS campaigns, which have contributed to this shift in attitude and discourse. As the article says, BDS is spreading... so much it's hard to keep track of who is doing what where. That's why the US Campaign, following popular demand, put together this interactive mapping of member group BDS campaigns nationwide!

Do you sometimes wonder if other groups are doing campaigns similar to your own? Or are you wondering what activists are up to in your area? Or maybe you are looking for inspiration of what sort of options there are for BDS campaigns and want to see what others are up to? Our BDS map is here to help you connect with groups and BDS campaigns today!

Do you have a BDS campaign that isn't listed? Click here to tell us about it!

It is incredible how far we've come -- not just in the U.S. but worldwide -- in the eight years since Palestinian civil society issued its call for BDS. In time for the call's anniversary this month, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) released this excellent, interactive timeline of the most significant global BDS victories to date.

Among them is the historic resolution passed this spring by the Association of Asian American Studies to endorse and honor the Palestinian call for the academic boycott of Israel. This victory marked a watershed moment, the first such resolution of its kind in the U.S. -- but surely not the last.

And that's not to mention the various divestment victories on U.S. campuses (e.g.) and in United Methodist Church conferences this year, and the explosive momentum of boycott and divestment campaigns targeting Veolia and SodaStream nationwide. And of course, there's the recent news that financial giant TIAA-CREF divested quietly from SodaStream.

You can see why Israeli officials are concerned! What's more, the European Union recently adopted a groundbreaking directive prohibiting EU states from signing deals with Israel unless an exclusion clause for Israeli settlements is included. That means that starting in January 2014, no EU-Israel non-trade cooperation -- including economic, scientific, cultural, sports, or academic -- should apply to settlements.  New guidelines state that EU funding and grants can no longer be used to fund Israeli activities in the Occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem) or Gaza, nor can EU loans be given to any Israeli entities operating there (including companies like Ahava and SodaStream). Here is the BNC's analysis of the development.

There's so much happening and so much to talk about! That's why it's as valuable as ever for us organizers to come together at the US Campaign's Annual National Organizers' Conference to assess where we are, where we're going, and how we will get there. We have much to share with and learn from each other. We hope you'll register for our National Organizers' Conference September 20 - 22 at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia today!