Thursday, May 17, 2018

BDS — the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel — explained

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Israel’s violence in Gaza is giving new life to the movement.

With gruesome images of Israel’s lethal crackdown on Gaza spread across the world, Palestinian activists are calling for a renewed push around a hard-hitting pressure tactic against Israel: Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). European and Arab leaders are harshly criticizing Israel for killing dozens of Palestinian protesters in Gaza. Now Palestinians and their supporters are hoping the outcry will lead to more support for their campaign to boycott Israel and turn the country into an international pariah.

At issue is the pro-Palestinian BDS movement. Its supporters, who take inspiration from the campaign that international activists used to pressure South Africa to end apartheid, work to punish Israel economically and isolate it politically because of its continued occupation of the West Bank, de facto control of Gaza, and mistreatment of Palestinian citizens of Israel.

BDS has had some high-profile successes in recent months, such as when the pop star Lorde canceled a concert in Tel Aviv in December in response to pressure from BDS activists.

Now pro-Palestinian activists online are calling for an escalation in international BDS campaigns in response to the killings in Gaza. Mustafa Barghouti, a member of the central council of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, told BBC’s Newshour on Monday that BDS and popular nonviolent resistance are “the best two instruments to force Israel to change its policies.”

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