You may think why another BDS article? Haven’t we said everything about boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS)? Haven’t we discussed all the pros and cons by now? BDS has been around since 2006, so why do we still need to talk about it?
The answer is: Now, it’s the time more than ever before to talk about BDS. Not only talk about it, but act upon it.
Many times we’ve been told that BDS is useless, that it doesn’t actually make a difference; that, not buying products from the Jordan valley which has been occupied by Israeli settlements to 86 %; and boycotting companies like Hewlett Packard which supplies software for the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) does not have any impact. People have told us to stop pushing for boycott, whichever kind of boycott we were promoting: academic, business or political organisations (to just name a few of the channels of boycott). To stop promoting boycott because there was no difference and the impact we were making was minimal.
However, is that really the case? Is the impact of BDS minimal?
Let’s assume, if the impact of BDS was minimal, would the Israeli government be concerned enough to invest $26 million in a cyber attack on BDS? Would Israel lobby for anti-boycott legislation all over the world, namely the US, UK, France and Canada? Would there be fierce debate over academic boycott of Israeli institutions such as Hebrew University, which “along with most other Israeli universities, fully supported Israel’s summer assault on Gaza  that killed more than 2,200 people, more than 500 of them children”, if boycott was meaningless?
No, there wouldn’t be any of these things. All of the before mentioned facts prove that BDS affects Israel and is an effective tool, as it was in bringing an end to South Africa’s apartheid.
Therefore, we have to support BDS even more now than ever before. Israel’s efforts to work against it prove that it is effective. It’s time to end Israel’s apartheid measures. It’s time to make Israel comply with international law.
It’s a myth that the state of Israel was founded on the basis of international law. As Jeremy R. Hammond argues in his essay, “the popular belief that Israel was established by the United Nations is rooted in falsehood and prejudice against the rights of the Palestinians.”
However, wrongs from the past can hardly be turned into rights in the present. What can be done and needs to be done is that Israel is held accountable for its action and that it complies with international law. Furthermore, its apartheid regime towards the Palestinians has to end. Palestinians, like any other people, have the right to self-determination that Israel has taken from them a long time ago.
Past wrongs are difficult to correct. Which makes it only more important to prevent more wrongs from happening in the present or future. We have to boycott Israel until Israel complies with international law and starts treating Palestinians as people with rights. Israel is an occupying power and has to accept the responsibilities that come with it.
Instead Israel uses food and water in its battle against the Palestinian people. With Benyamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister who ascertains that there will be no Palestinian state under him and Ayelet Shaked as Minister of Justice who has been called “neo-Nazi scum” by professors of Hebrew University, we will not see justice for Palestinians coming from within the Israeli political system. Therefore, we have to support BDS to support the rights of the Palestinian people. If people like David Petraeus see BDS as a strategic threat to Israel, coming from a perspective that has only ever supported Israel without pushing for any sort of recognition of the rights of Palestinians, proves that BDS works and has an effect. Now it’s important for us to even increase our support for BDS to make this effect stronger and use the power of boycott to bring justice to the Palestinian people!