Friday, July 17, 2015

BDS: 10 Years On

From the Mondoweiss interview (9/7/15) with Omar Barghouti, author of the BDS manifesto, BDS: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights (2011):

"BDS has played a critical role in changing the discourse on the question of Palestine after more than two decades of a fraudulent 'peace process' that undermined Palestinian rights and served as a fig leaf for the expansion and entrenchment of Israel's regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.

"Today, Israel recognizes BDS as a 'strategic threat' to its entire regime of oppression for several reasons. BDS is mainstreaming the quest for the UN-stipulated but long-ignored rights of the entire Palestinian people and is gradually and methodically succeeding in isolating Israel academically, culturally and, to a lesser extent, economically as well.

"Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid struggle, BDS is also succeeding in exposing the toxicity of the 'brand' Israel. The impact of the non-violent, Palestinian-led, global BDS movement has grown steadily since BDS was launched in 2005. But in the last two years it has accelerated for various reasons. When you plant seeds and nourish them with care and consistency, they will eventually yield good fruits. We are now beginning to harvest the fruits of 10 years of strategic, morally consistent and undeniably effective BDS human rights campaigning.

"BDS is winning the battles for hearts and minds across the world, despite Israel's still hegemonic influence among governments in the US and Europe.

"The impact of BDS at 10 is now recognized by top Israeli political, security and business leaders and even a former CIA director.

"A just published UN report shows that direct foreign investment in Israel has dropped by 46% in 2014 as compared to 2013. An Israeli co-author of this report has attributed this sharp decrease partially to BDS.

"A recent Rand study estimated Israel's economic losses in the coming 10 years if BDS continues at $47 billion. Thus the panic you see in Israel's establishment.

"Since June 2013, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has effectively declared the BDS movement a 'strategic threat' by assigning overall responsibility for fighting BDS to the ministry of strategic affairs.

"Israeli president Reuven Rivlin has recently characterized the academic boycott of Israel as a 'first-rate strategic threat' to Israel's regime of occupation and apartheid.

"The former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit is convinced that BDS has become a 'critical' challenge to Israel, while the former prime minister Ehud Barak admits it is reaching a 'tipping point.'

"Israel's election of the most extreme, far-right government in its history, shedding its last democratic pretenses and adopting unmasked colonial policies, will increase Palestinian suffering without doubt. But it will also enhance the already impressive growth of BDS.

"The BBC Globescan poll of international public opinion has consistently shown in the last few years Israel competing with North Korea in popularity around the world, including among Europe's largest nations."

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