As genocide unfolds, what can you do? Boycott. Divest. Sanction.

Dec 3, 2023
Washington, DC, USA - August 2, 2014: Thousands march in Washington, D.C., to protest against U.S. support for Israel's offensive in Gaza, August 2, 2014. So far, Israeli attacks have killed at least 1,622 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, including 326 children.

Israeli children sing, “We will annihilate everyone” in Gaza. The song was played on Israel’s national broadcaster Kan. This fact was exposed by the Electronic Intifada – Ali Abunimah – on 19 November. It pretty well says it all. So, what can you do about it? Well, one thing you might do is support BDS.

The Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) strategy was formulated in response to the World Court’s decision in 2004 which found the separation wall in the West Bank, that is, within the West Bank, on Palestinian land, to be contrary to international law. The failure of Israel to heed the decision and to take action to comply with it resulted in a wide-ranging coalition of more than 170 organizations representing Palestinian civil society to call for a boycott of Israel until that country complied with international law.

Such a campaign was used to good effect against the apartheid South African regime. It is undertaken by you, the individual, boycotting consumer goods. It is undertaken by unions initiating industrial bans, by bodies such as universities ceasing contact with similar institutions in the country or countries the target of the campaign. Pressure from a mass movement of grassroots activists will ultimately lead to governments initiating sanctions against Israel.

Trade unions played a substantial role in fighting apartheid in South Africa. The emphasis on international workers solidarity was, and is again, a real rallying cry against apartheid in Israel.

Not to become a part of the campaign is to be and remain an accomplice in the crime that is apartheid. Do not give credence to any suggestion that BDS is anti-Semitic. The focus of BDS is on Israeli apartheid, not on Jewish people or Judaism.

How then do we implement it? A refusal to buy products is enhanced by making it known why you are doing such. Tell the store affected, and ultimately refuse to frequent it if it continues to promote the product. Encourage your family and friends to follow your example.

Not just products – seek to extend your boycott to sporting and cultural events. Australians of my age will recall the boycotting of the South African rugby team in Australia in 1971. Recall the controversy over the Eurovision Song Contest being held in Israel, and the boycotting of same by some participants, and many, many, would-be voters.

Divestment targets Australian companies that do business with Israel. Cease to buy shares in that company and encourage others to do likewise. Call upon your pension fund to place no investment in Israeli companies or Australian companies that do business with Israel or Israeli companies. A prime example of such divestment has been Elbit Systems, the Israeli defence contractor, the subject of divestment by Deutsche Bank and sundry pension funds.

Finally, call upon your local MP, your political party, your government, to sanction Australian governmental dealings with Israel.

The role of BDS has changed. When it commenced BDS targeted Israel’s industrial zones within the Occupied Territories. It sought to render settlements unproductive. Today BDS must extend to all of Israel’s production. It is not just the settlements that are abhorrent. Apartheid Israel is abhorrent. But it must go further. BDS must attack the US/Israeli entity. It must attack Israel’s enabler, the US.

So what should we target?

For the individual it is always advisable to be aware of the Israeli barcode – beginning 729. But then just know the following connections:

  • Max Brenner Chocolate
  • Puma
  • Motorola
  • Estee Lauder
  • Sodastream, and
  • Hewlett Packard.

As for the US companies, some prominent companies with strong Israeli connections include Starbucks, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, and Nescafe. But because the message is ultimately to the US government there is not a need for the boycott of US companies that have a connection to Israel. So that you might consider companies such as Amazon, KFC, Hungry Jacks, and as many others as you can think of.

And how should we go about it? Be up front. Tell your friends, tell your workmates, tell your union reps, tell retailers that you deal with – and finally, tell your politicians.
And when apartheid Israel collapses, be proud that you are responsible.

You might also be interested to read:

Seeking justice in the name of hate: In Defence of BDS

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