Why does Israel fear the BDS movement so much?

Why does Israel fear the BDS movement so much?
From Al Jazeera - January 8, 2018

New York City - Donald Trump's declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel seemed to confirm a long-held suspicion among many long-time observers: The United States is not interested in a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli impasse that adheres to international law, instead supporting Israeli demands to annex more Palestinian land and create an ethnonationalist state with as few Palestinians as possible.

Meanwhile, Palestinians continue to be forcibly removed from their homes in East Jerusalem to create "facts on the ground" that serve as Israeli talking points for why Jerusalem is already Israel's de facto capital.

With both Trump and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley displaying just how far they are willing to bully other nations into falling in line, ordinary activists are left to contemplate how they can force Israel's hand to abide by international law.

Here is where the BDS movement comes in. It was launched in 2005 by more than 250 Palestinian civil society organisations calling for the international community to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel. The movement's founders closely studied the Boycott Apartheid South Africa movement that was launched in the 1950s and gained traction in the '80s.

While that movement grew for 30 years before reaching global prominence, BDS for Palestine has significantly affected the global conversation on Israel's occupation in just 12 years.

Its success is partly due to a focus on tactics rather than a clear-cut "solution", giving ordinary citizens of any country the ability to participate without trapping themselves within the parameters of the media's controlled discourse of "the peace process".

This is not to suggest the BDS movement does not have broad goals. Its three demands are an end to the occupation of Palestine, equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the right of return for all Palestinian refugees to their homes.

In contrast to the endless, abstract debates of one-state versus two-state solutions, the BDS movement highlights the most pressing reality of the conflict: the suffering of a population at the hands of a government intent on denying them rights on the basis of their ethnicity.

This emphasis on Palestinian human rights has allowed the movement to build alliances with local movements across the world.

There are prominent examples, such as the alliance with the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, but also many others worldwide.

In Rio de Janeiro, I saw local BDS activists team up with a movement from Brazil's favelas to protest the use of the caveirao, an armoured military vehicle that Brazilian police special forces use when entering impoverished neighbourhoods.


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