BDS: Upholding our Rights, Resisting the Ongoing Nakba
May 15, 2017 marks the 69th anniversary of the 1948 Nakba, the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland. Between 1947 and 1949, Zionist paramilitaries, and subsequently Israeli forces, made 750,000 to one million indigenous Palestinians into refugees to establish a Jewish-majority state in Palestine.
The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) calls on people of conscience the world over to further intensify BDS campaigns to end academic, cultural, sports, military and economic links of complicity with Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid. This is the most effective means of standing with the Palestinian people in pursuing our inherent and UN-stipulated rights, and nonviolently resisting the ongoing, intensifying Nakba.
The Israeli regime today is ruthlessly pursuing the one constant strategy of its settler-colonial project —the simultaneous pillage and colonization of as much Palestinian land as possible and the gradual ethnic cleansing of as many Palestinians as practical without evoking international sanctions.
Following in the footsteps of all previous Israeli governments, the current far-right government, the most openly racist in Israel’s history, is heeding the words of the Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky who wrote in 1923:
Every native population in the world resists colonists as long as it has the slightest hope of being able to rid itself of the danger of being colonised. [...] Zionist colonisation must either stop, or else proceed regardless of the native population. Which means that it can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population—behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach.
Sixty-nine years after the systematic, premeditated uprooting and dispossession of most of the indigenous Palestinian Arabs from the land of Palestine at the hands of Zionist gangs and later the state of Israel, the Nakba is not over. Israel is intent on building its “iron wall” in Palestinian minds, not just our lands, through its sprawling illegal settlements and concrete walls in the occupied Palestinian territory, its genocidal siege of over 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, its denial of the Palestinian refugee’s right to return, its racist laws and policies against Palestinians inside Israel, and its escalating, violent ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and the Naqab (Negev). It is sparing no brutality in its relentless, desperate attempts to sear into our consciousness the futility of resistance and the vainness of hope.
The present mass hunger strike by over one thousand Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and the grassroots support that it has triggered give us hope.
The growing support for BDS among international trade unions, including the most recent adoption by the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) -- representing over 910,000 workers -- of an “international economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel” to achieve comprehensive Palestinian rights, gives us hope.
The fact the none of the 26 Oscar nominees offered a free, $55,000-valued trip by the Israeli government accepted the propaganda gift and that six out of eleven National Football League players turned down a similar Israeli junket gives us hope.
The BDS movement has succeeded in sharply raising the price of corporate complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. It has compelled companies of the size of Orange and Veolia to end their complicity and pushed global giant G4S to begin exiting the Israeli market. Churches, city councils and thousands around the world have pledged to boycott Hewlett Packard (HP) for its deep complicity in Israel’s occupation and apartheid. This gives us and many human rights campaigns around the world great hope.
The Barcelona municipality’s decision to end complicity with Israel’s occupation, coming on the heels of tens of local councils in the Spanish state declaring themselves “Israeli apartheid free zones,” give us hope.
The divestment by some of the largest mainline churches in the US, including the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church USA and the United Church of Christ, from Israeli banks or complicit international corporations gives us hope.
The spread of remarkably effective BDS campaigns from South Africa to South Korea, from Egypt to Chile, and from the UK to the US gives us real hope.
The growing intersectional coalitions that are emerging in many countries, organically re-connecting the struggle for Palestinian rights with the diverse international struggles for racial, economic, gender, climate and indigenous justice give us unlimited hope.
In 1968, twenty years after the Nakba but unrelated to it, Dr. Martin Luther King said, “There can be no justice without peace and there can be no peace without justice.” For seven decades, and against all odds, Palestinians have continued to assert our inalienable right to self-determination and to genuine peace, which can only stem from freedom, justice and equality.
But to reach that just peace we realize that we must nourish our hope for a dignified life with our boundless commitment to resist injustice, resist apathy and, crucially, resist their “iron walls” of despair.
In this context, the Palestinian-led, global BDS movement with its impressive growth and unquestionable impact is today an indispensable component of our popular resistance and the most promising form of international solidarity with our struggle for rights.
No iron wall of theirs can suppress or overshadow the rising sun of our emancipation.
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Visit www.bdsmovement.net and follow @BDSmovement