12 July 2011 | US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
On Monday, 11 July 2011, the Israeli Knesset passed new legislation outlawing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement[i]; a non-partisan grassroots initiative that seeks to pressure Israel to comply with international law and recognize fundamental Palestinian rights.
The bill bans all advocacy and action to boycott any Israeli companies, within Israel and the occupied Palestinian West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem[ii]. Furthermore, any company can be awarded compensation without even having to prove direct damage. The law is so broad that it could potentially be used not only against citizens of Israel, but also against Palestinians living under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. The legislation leaves Palestinian and Israeli solidarity groups who promote the boycott of any Israeli company liable to be sued and the vagueness of the bill opens all activists to arbitrary persecution.
We, Palestine solidarity and social justice groups based in the United States, reiterate our support and endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement. We stand by our friends who will be legally subject to this draconian bill, which seeks to further deligitimize the non-violent struggle against Israeli apartheid.
This latest escalation in Israeli repression tactics aims to stifle the BDS movement. The call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, endorsed by over 170 Palestinian civil society groups in 2005[iii], has been adopted by hundreds of solidarity organizations worldwide that seek to put pressure on Israel until it complies with international law.
Not only do Palestinian and Israeli groups actively organize campaigns within Israel and occupied Palestine; but projects like Who Profits?[iv] also educate the international community by researching the true dealings of Israeli companies and enable many campaigns in the justice for Palestine movement.
This bill follows upon the ‘Nakba law’, which defunded any institution that acknowledged the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948. Such repressive legislation particularly targets Palestinians inside Israel, who are already subject to apartheid and extensive institutionalized racism as well as political persecution.
Israel has maintained such discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel, alongside its illegal siege of Gaza, its brutal military occupation of the West Bank, its de facto annexation of East Jerusalem, its ongoing denial of the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees and its policies of ethnic cleansing since before 1948.
Additionally, Israel recently suppressed other non-violent initiatives; pressuring foreign governments to obstruct the Freedom Flotilla II[v], which was organized to challenge the illegal blockade and siege of the Gaza Strip and the “Flytilla” which brought to light that Palestinians cannot even receive visitors[vi].
The global BDS Movement will not be stopped, intimidated or harmed by this latest Israeli attempt to repress the legitimate struggle for Palestinian rights. We will heed the Palestinian call to escalate our BDS campaigns. We stand side by side with our sisters and brothers in this struggle for rights and justice.
- [i] http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/12/world/middleeast/12israel.html
- [ii] http://www.acri.org.il/en/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/boycott_prohibition_bill_27june2011-ENG.doc
- [iii] http://www.bdsmovement.net/call
- [iv] http://www.whoprofits.org/
- [v] http://www.freegaza.org/en/home/56-news/1321-gaza-flotilla-we-still-plan-to-breach-blockade
- [vi] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/07/israel-gaza-protest-flytilla