Israel’s attack on BDS movement backfiring

BDS Montreal

Having failed to stop the growth of the BDS movement, Israel has launched an unprecedented attack against the non-violent international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel movement.

Following Israeli pressure, some European governments including the UK and France are trying to introduce anti-democratic legislation and taking other repressive measures to undermine the BDS movement. In France, one activist was arrested simply for wearing a BDS t-shirt.

In addition Israel has openly boasted that it is spying on international BDS activists and has imposed an effective travel ban on one of the foremost BDS leaders, Omar Barghouti. However, Israel’s repression is backfiring with Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and several Governments across the world coming out in support of the #RightToBoycott Israel – a boycott seeking to end Israeli human rights abuses and create the necessary conditions for a just and peaceful solution to be negotiated, similar to the case of Apartheid South Africa.

Defend right to boycott Israel, urge European NGOs, political parties

Protestors outside Downing-St during Netanyahu visit Sep 9 2015

More than 300 human rights and aid organisations, church groups, trade unions and political parties from across the continent are urging the European Union (EU) to defend the right of individuals and institutions to take part in the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

The 352 signatories include Transform! Europe – a network of 28 European organizations from 19 countries, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, The Norwegian United Federation of Trade Unions, Parti de Gauche in France, Podemos in Spain, Norwegian Church Aid, the Flemish branch of Oxfam in Belgium, Greenpeace in Germany, and major French Catholic NGO Terre Solidaire.

The letter calls on the EU commission to “introduce the human rights guidelines guaranteeing freedom of speech and right to boycott and to use all other means you have in your disposal to support European citizens in their struggle to uphold basic human rights.”

The letter comes in response to recent efforts by European governments, at the request of the Israeli authorities, to introduce anti-democratic legislation and take other repressive measures to undermine the BDS movement.

Aneta Jerska, the coordinator of the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP), one of the organisations that has signed the statement, said:

“It is empowering to see so many European civil society organisations and representative bodies publicly declaring their support for the right to participate in the BDS movement that aims to hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law and human rights.”

Riya Hassan, Europe Campaigns Officer for the Palestinian BDS National Committee, said:

“Rather than helping Israel to repress the BDS movement, it is time for the EU to meet its obligations under international law and hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law. The EU must uphold the right of European, Palestinian and Israeli citizens to uphold human rights and take part in the nonviolent BDS movement.”

The letter comes as the BDS movement is asking people to add their names to an appeal to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to take the necessary measures to uphold and protect the rights of Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights defenders who campaign non-violently for Palestinian rights, including through the BDS movement.

From BDS South Africa Newletter 27 May 2016 full text in PDF below

BDS SA 27 May 2016

police arresting demonstrators at Springbok Rugby Union Game Brisbane 25 July 1971
Police arresting demonstrators at Springbok Rugby Union Game Sydney Cricket ground July 1971 Photo: Screen shot from Tony Robinson’s Walking Tours show on ABC TV on 27 May 2016

From the anti-apartheid struggle 45 years ago in Brisbane see

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