Wednesday, November 25, 2009

BDS Movement Keeps on Movin'

Here at the US Campaign we're feeling thankful for all the signs that the movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions to end Israeli occupation and apartheid is growing and working. Here are just a few recent stories that illustrate this exciting growth: 1) US Campaign Steering Committee member Adam Horowitz posted this article at Mondoweiss on the "administrative detention" (Israeli-occupation-speak for arbitrary imprisonment without trial or charge) of Palestinian BDS and anti-apartheid activist Mohammad Othman, including this quote from Middle East analyst Arthur Nelsen:
"The Othman case indicates a fear of the BDS movement among Israel’s political and security elite, particularly when it has the ear of foreign governments....Locking up nonviolent opponents suggests a stunning lack of confidence among Israel’s leaders in their ability to argue their case, still less win it. It bears all the hallmarks of an authoritarian campaign to silence nonviolent critics of the occupation."
You don't lock people up for promoting a nonviolent tactic unless you are convinced that that nonviolent tactic is working. Check out our last post to take action on behalf of Mohammad Othman! 2) The full spectrum of Palestinian trade unions have reasserted their support for the BDS call, in reaction to reports alleging that a Palestinian trade union official has stated reservations about BDS. These allegations, it should be noted, emerged from a small delegation of British headed by Steve Scott, who is the director of Trade Union Friends of Israel (TUFI). The Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC) issued a statement in response to these allegations:
"The Israel lobby groups in the UK and elsewhere have felt quite desperate lately in their abortive attempts to stop the spectacular growth of the BDS movement, particularly among major international trade unions....The BNC, including all three federations representing the Palestinian trade union movement, warmly salute all international trade unions who have endorsed BDS, confirming that this is the most effective and needed form of solidarity with the Palestinian people and the strongest challenge to Israel's criminal impunity and exceptionalism. As in the struggle against South African apartheid, Israel's occupation, colonialism and apartheid will only come to an end when international civil society shoulders the moral responsibility by holding Israel to account before international law and universal principles of human rights, and by treating it as a pariah state, as apartheid South Africa was, deserving comprehensive and sustained BDS campaigns."
You can read the full statement here. 3) Check out this great article written in the Macalester College student newspaper about divestment efforts on campus, led by Mac Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER). The article focuses on the important issue of endowment transparency--the idea that students have a right to know who and what their campus is invested in:
"The Israel divestment issue is part of a broader student movement calling for more transparency and responsibility in Macalester's endowment investments. Dean of Students Laurie Hamre said the students lobbying the Social Responsibility Committe SRC fall into three general categories: "[Some] have some specific interest in divestment from any companies that might support Israel military operations. Then there are some other students who I think are interested in the endowment supporting more sustainable initiatives. And then I think there's a third group that just wants to have a sense that students can have more knowledge about what our investments are so that they can make sure that Macalester is being socially responsible," Hamre said."
Read the full article here. 4) We mentioned the Hampshire College BDS conference in a previous post. We'll have commentary and video of the presentation given by US Campaign National Organizer Katherine Fuchs posted soon; in the meantime, check out the keynote address by Ali Abunimah. BDS is growing and it is working--on campus, within trade unions, in churches, in grocery stores and corporate board rooms and state investment boards. Join the movement today!