Occupied Palestine – On July 9 2010, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) marked the fifth anniversary of the Palestinian Civil Society Call for a campaign of BDS against Israel until it fully complies with international law and Palestinian rights. The BNC issued a statement highlighting the massive growth of the BDS movement and thanking those who have made this growth happen.[i] People of conscience and solidarity groups around the world marked the anniversary with events, protests and the launch of new initiatives, in response to a BNC call for action issued in May 2010.[ii]
Some of the most prominent events that took place to mark the fifth anniversary of the BDS Call included:
- An Indian campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel, endorsing the PACBI Call,[iii] was formed by a group of intellectuals including Upendra Baxi, Vina Mazumdar and Arundhati Roy. “In a reality in which the Israeli state daily tramples on the academic freedom and cultural life of Palestinian people, a continued association with the instruments of such a state is unconscionable,” the Indian intellectuals said in their statement.[iv]
- Trade unions in the Basque Country signed a manifesto endorsing BDS. The ELA Basque trade unions, CCOO, LAB, UGT, ESK, STEE, HIRU, EHNE, CGT, and USO LSB-USO, all made public their commitment to BDS and resolved not to collaborate with Israel’s apartheid regime. “This initiative [BDS] is considered the most effective means of ending colonial occupation and apartheid in Palestine and holding Israel to its responsibility under international law,” the manifesto reads.[v]
- Visible and effective protest actions took place in New York,[vi] Rome,[vii] Utrecht,[viii] Montréal,[ix] Copenhagen,[x] Stockholm,[xi] Antwerp,[xii] Berlin,[xiii] London,[xiv] Sheffield[xv] and Cairo,[xvi] among others.
- In Montréal, a wide range of Québec civil society groups, including the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), the Conseil Central du Montréal Métropolitain – CSN (CCMM-CSN), and Québec solidaire, announced a pan-Canadian and Quebéc BDS Conference which will be held in October.[xvii] In addition, the Canadian College and University Workers United (CUWU, Montréal) and Faculty for Palestine released a joint statement calling for the renunciation of Canadian ties with Israeli research, higher education and cultural institutions.[xviii]
- The City Council of Villanueva de Duero – a town in the Spanish province of Valladolid- removed the Israeli bottled water Eden Springs Ltd. from all the municipal buildings. With this decision, the City Council joins the international BDS movement against Israel.[xix]
- In Ireland, campaigners in eleven towns and cities launched a two-week boycott petition drive outside Dunnes Stores supermarkets. Twenty-five years ago, Dunnes was at the centre of a bitter two-year campaign of boycott and pickets, when it sacked a group of workers who refused to handle goods from Apartheid South Africa.[xx]
- In the UK, campaigners targeted supermarkets that sell Israeli produce, and produce from illegal colonial settlements in particular, with a coordinated phone-in. [xxi]
- The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation launched its Occupation Free Faith Communities Network initiative to expand BDS organising in faith communities. [xxii]
The BNC’s May 2010 call for action also urged BDS supporters to intensify efforts to secure coverage for the BDS movement in the media. The response to this request has resulted in some highly significant pieces of media coverage including:
- “¿Boicoteo que ablanda o boicoteo que atrinchera?”/”Boycott to soften or boycott to entrench?”, El Pais, June 22 2010.[xxiii] Spain’s most widely circulated newspaper takes an in-depth look at the BDS Movement.
- “Gaza Flotilla: Global Citizens Must Respond Where Governments Have Failed,” The Huffington Post, June 15 2010. [xxiv] An editorial advocating BDS written by Stéphane Frédéric Hessel, a Holocaust survivor and former French diplomat who participated in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
- “Israelis fear cultural boycott,” Financial Times, June 12 2010.[xxv] A news piece about the success of the cultural boycott of Israel.
- “Swedish dockworkers to boycott Israeli cargo,” Associated Press, June 5 2010.[xxvi] One of the world’s leading wire services issues a report about the Swedish dockworkers’ blockade of Israeli cargo that is reproduced in major news outlets across the world.
The BNC warmly salutes all those who took action to mark five years of the BDS movement or who worked to further develop the media profile of BDS.
To read more about the BDS Day of Action please visit http://bdsdayofaction.net. To read the BNC statement released on the fifth anniversary of the BDS call please visit http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/755.
BNC Secretariat – 15 July 2010