The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement is a non-violent campaign begun by Palestinian (and Israeli) civil society, with the aim of applying economic pressure on the state of Israel in order to secure Palestinian civil, political, and human rights for Palestinians. The movement takes inspiration from the successful BDS campaign against apartheid South Africa, which ended up dismantling its apartheid system and establishing a democratic state with equality for all.
Palestinians have used countless tactics for the past hundred years in order to achieve sovereignty, equality, and democracy. Little has worked but there is hope with BDS because it’s a movement through which the whole world can apply economic pressure on the Zionist state and its military occupation. Whether the result of this movement is one-state democracy, a binational state, or two states, remains to be seen. But there is no doubt, that it is the best Palestinian weapon against Israeli colonialism, apartheid, and occupation, which is unceasing and ever-growing, irrespective of Palestinian actions. Interested in joining the movement? You can start by boycotting products made in the occupied West Bank on this list.
Late Wednesday July 18, 2018 the state of Israel’s parliament passed the “Nation State of the Jewish people” basic law, essentially explicitly defining the state of Israel as a state purposed to serve one ethnic/religious group: “the Jewish people”. Of course, in practice, the state of Israel has been existing for the benefit of the Jewish people since its inception. But this law cements this status in law, making it almost impossible for that principle to be challenged by the state’s Supreme Court and its citizens. The passage is an attempt by the ruling parties to advertise themselves as properly conservative and “pro-Jewish” in the eyes of an Israeli public that is hawkish and, according to many native observers, racist. The bill passed with a 62-55 vote and a basic law cannot be overturned except by parliament majority. Some things to take away:
The state of Israel does not have a constitution. The basic laws act as its constitution and have never been challenged by the Supreme Court, much like the amendments are unchallenged by the US Supreme Court.
The basic law establishes Jewish self-determination as the only self-determination legal in the state. Thus the approximately 20% of its citizens who are Palestinian cannot have self-determination. Of course, let’s not mention the military subjects in the West Bank and Gaza. So, the law establishes what has already been going on in practice: the promotion and establishment of Jewish communities, Jewish immigration, Jewish education, and the active suppression of Palestinian citizen communities, suppression of Palestinian immigration even as a result of marriage to Palestinian citizens, and the active neglect of Palestinian citizen public education.
The bill, like the Zionist declaration of independence, defines the state as belonging to the Jewish people (this is a global population). Quite uniquely, the founders and legislators continue to make the state serve people like Woody Allen and Ben Stiller and actively discriminate against and repress native non-Jews.
Many in the media describe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a clash of two warring peoples, “an ancient feud”, and ascribe peace efforts that bring the two peoples together as integral to a potential peace agreement. The reality is that the conflict is an imposition of state elites and global interests that regard Zionist military might in the region as a priority eclipsing human interests, Palestinian dignity, and peace. I can discuss this topic in length but just as an indicator of the top-down nature of the system, we have the recent removal of a top Israeli scientist, Professor Yael Amitai, from an important conference due to her signing of a petition in support of ‘refuseniks’. Refuseniks are those Israeli citizens that refuse to serve in the occupied territories for humanitarian, moral reasons. The blocking by the science and technology minister of her appointment happened today. Ohad Yehezkeli, the minister’s media advisor, explained that the reason of the denial was her signing of the petition. This event demonstrates how military and other interests, through the state apparatus, punish and threaten those who oppose the settler-colonization of the West Bank. Ministers use the tools of the state to demonstrate to the public what happens to those Israelis who decide to take a stand against Palestinian oppression.
This event also demonstrates the absurd amount of power Israeli ministers hold. Israeli law does not limit or adequately regulate the power of ministers, who therefore have an absurd amount of leeway in making decisions. The reality results in absurd discrepancies in the state’s support of Palestinian citizen vs. Jewish citizen public education. Ministers use this leeway to promote openly racist and Zionist policies which hurt the Palestinian citizen population (let alone the West Bank and Gaza Palestinian population). Here we have a government minister outrightly saying that he blocked an appointment to a conference based on a petition signature, without fearing lawsuit or government reprimand. One of the major problems with the Israeli Zionist state system is this lack of adequate law governing and regulating ministerial power. More information about the appointment denial:
Gaza Great March of Return protests continued on Friday as the state of Israel’s army killed one protester and wounded hundreds. The fact that these protests have continued past their May 15, 2018 culmination not only demonstrates the Gaza Palestinians’ determination and resolve but also their great suffering.
The suffering is so immense that tens of thousands of people every week risk their lives by demonstrating close to a border that features one of the most powerful armies in the world, an army freely and unconditionally supported by the United States. The siege of Gaza that began in 2007 has been ongoing for more than a decade, but the Palestinians of Gaza have been suffering immensely for GENERATIONS, since their expulsion and concentration in the strip during the 1948 war. For generations, Palestinians in Gaza have been dealing with food shortages, electricity cuts, water shortages, etc. as a result of Israeli policies. For generations, the Palestinians of Gaza have not had anything near adequate electricity, water, food, and housing. Their reality is a reality that is unrecognized by the Israeli political elite. When will they take responsibility for Palestinian suffering? When will they consider taking care or reaching a just agreement for those that they have wronged? Instead, the Israeli elite carries on with autopilot expansionism: such as promoting the 2017 US recognition of Jerusalem as the state’s capital, continuing to settler-colonize the city’s environs, demolish Palestinian villages, as well as colonize the rest of the West Bank, disregarding Palestinian needs. With the state behaving in this manner, both unwilling to grant Palestinian statehood as well as Palestinian equality, then how can there ever be peace and justice?