Five tangible things you can do to support the people of Gaza, and the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem from the Palestinian BDS National Committee. The BNC’s statement in response to the beginning of the bombing on November 15 is also below.

As this new aggression on the people of Gaza shows, Israel will continue its belligerence and state terrorism unless it is made to pay a heavy price for its crimes against the Palestinian, Lebanese and other Arab peoples.

Palestinian civil society has called for a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) as the most effective way for international civil society and people of conscience around the world to show solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and hold Israel – and all complicit institutions — accountable for its occupation, colonization and apartheid. The global, Palestinian-led BDS movement has achieved inspiring and spectacular success, causing economic damage to companies that support Israel’s crimes, persuading artists not to perform in Israel, winning support from major churches, trade unions and social movements, as well as pressuring governments to take action.

Here are five BDS ways to effectively express solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza and elsewhere:

1. Boycott Israel! Don’t buy Israeli goods!

Profits from exports from Israel help to fund the Israeli government and its crimes against the Palestinian people. Refuse to buy Israeli goods and tell retailers that you are doing it. Persuade friends and family to stop buying any Israeli products too!

Brands to avoid include Ahava, Jaffa oranges, Sabra and Tribe hummus and SodaStream.

2. Join an active BDS campaign or start a new one

Initiate action in your institution, union, group, etc., against the companies and organisations that support and profit from Israel’s system of oppression over the Palestinian people.

For example, in the US, campaigners have pressured major pension funds to divest from Caterpillar, a company that provides bulldozers used to destroy Palestinian homes.

Public bodies across the world have been successfully pressured to stop awarding contracts for public services to Veolia, a company that provides infrastructure to illegal Israeli settlements. Veolia has lost contracts worth more than $14bn following BDS campaigns.

Campaigners recently persuaded a major bank to divest from G4S, a private security firm involved in Israel’s crimes against Palestinian prisoners, including children.

You can find out more about campaigns taking place in your area by contacting your local Palestine solidarity organisation. There’s a great online database of Palestine solidarity groups here or contact us for advice on whom to contact or on how to start a new BDS campaign.

3. Organise a BDS protest action

Demonstrations, banner drops and flashmobs are great ways to raise awareness of the boycott of Israel. Some actions target particular products, like the actions against Israeli cosmetics company Ahava, while others take place in supermarkets and remind shoppers not to buy Israeli goods or to target complicit companies.

There’s a useful guide to planning a BDS action here. The guide is written specifically for the Ahava campaign, but it’s full of useful ideas for similar campaigns too.

4. Urge organisations that you are a member of to divest from Israel

Trade unions, student unions, faith groups and other organisations all over the world have passed BDS-related resolutions calling for divesting from companies profiting from Israel’s occupation.

The US Quakers’ investment entity recently sold its shares in Hewlett Packard and Veolia, two companies supporting and profiting from Israeli violations of international law, after having divested from Caterpillar a few months ago for the same reasons.

Student unions around the world have voted to support divestment and have successfully campaigned to have companies like Sabra Hummus and Eden Springs removed from their campuses.

Trade unions can participate in BDS campaigns and sell any investments they may hold in Israeli companies or raise rank-and-file awareness about Israeli products to boycott.

Ask organisations that you’re a member of to hold a meeting to discuss education about and support for the BDS campaign, and find out if it’s possible to pass a resolution to support BDS when the time is right.

5. Pressure your elected officials to impose a military embargo on Israel

Military ties with Israel feed and encourage further Israeli violence. Israel wouldn’t be able to maintain its occupation and apartheid system over the Palestinian people if it wasn’t for the military aid it receives from the US or the military trade it conducts with countries around the world. Urge your government and elected representatives to support a military embargo on Israel.

Stop a New Israeli Massacre in Gaza: Boycott Israel Now!
Statement by the Palestinian BDS National Committee

Occupied Palestine, 15 November 2012 – On November 8, Israel carried out an attack on civilians in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip, shooting 13-year-old Ahmad Abu Daqqa while he played football with friends. By November 14, Israel had intensified its attacks on Gaza and begun to implement an intensive plan of aggression that at the time of writing has killed at least 15 Palestinians, including at least 6 children, and injured over 150, predominantly civilians.

Despite biased Western media reports to the contrary, it is clear that Israel has initiated and escalated this new assault [1] on the eve of its upcoming parliamentary elections, underlining the time-honoured Israeli formula of Palestinian bodies for ballots.[2]

It is worth noting that a great majority of the Gaza population are refugees ethnically cleansed by Zionist militias and later the state of Israel during the 1948 Nakba and denied by Israel their UN-sanctioned right to return to their homes of origin.

This belligerent aggression is the most murderous and inhuman Israeli attack on the Palestinian people since the Gaza massacre of 2008-09, which killed more than 1,400 and injured more than 5,000 Palestinians, mainly civilians. The US and Europe have so far been successful in preventing Palestinian recourse to international justice mechanisms for Israeli crimes against humanity that took place during the massacre and that were documented by a UN Fact Finding Mission as well as a team of international law experts commissioned by the Arab League. Urgent action must be taken to prevent Israel from acting with such impunity again.

The 1.6 million Palestinians in Gaza have endured the worst of Israeli impunity and violence including being placed under a medieval siege, being subjected to deliberately created food insecurity and frequent acts of Israeli  state terrorism. It is the duty of all supporters of international law and universal human rights to hold Israel accountable through effective measures, such as those called for in the global, Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the broadest coalition in Palestinian civil society, including all major political parties,  trade unions, social movements and NGO networks, calls on:

– People of conscience around the world to intensify BDS campaigns to hold Israel accountable, and to pressure their governments to immediately suspend arms trade with Israel, implement trade sanctions, and bring to justice all Israeli officials and military personnel who took part, at all levels, in Israel’s crimes against Palestinians in Gaza.

– Civil society organisations, including trade unions, universities, trade unions, student groups and NGOs, to boycott Israeli goods, divest from all Israeli and international companies that are complicit with Israel’s occupation and apartheid, and call for governments to implement military embargoes and trade sanctions on Israel.

– Governments, especially Arab and friendly governments, to respect their legal obligation to protect the Palestinian right to life and self-determination and to impose sanctions on Israel to immediately end its assault on, and cease its illegal siege of the occupied Gaza Strip and its policies of colonialism and apartheid that oppress the Palestinian people.

As this new attack on the people of Gaza shows, Israel will continue its belligerence, aggression and state terrorism unless it is made to pay a heavy price for its crimes against the Palestinian, Lebanese and other Arab peoples. As the last seven years of the global BDS movement and the long history of past international solidarity with the struggle against apartheid in South Africa have shown, the most effective, sustainable and morally consistent form of solidarity with the oppressed is for international civil society and conscientious people around the world to apply boycotts, divestment and sanctions against the oppressor and all institutions that collude in maintaining and justifying its oppression. It is high time for BDS against Israel.  This is the clearest path to freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians and the entire region.

BDS National Committee (BNC)

Spanish translation: http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=159250

[1] For a timeline that explains how Israel has initiated this new attack, see  http://imeu.net/news/article0023227.shtml

[2] http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/11/15/bodies-for-ballots.html

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