The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement has gained worldwide momentum, serving as a potent tool to back the Palestinian people’s pursuit of freedom, justice, and equality. One of the most effective ways to actively contribute to this cause is by engaging in a BDS campaign in your city or country.
This article provides valuable insights into how to connect with BDS organizations in the United States and grasp the focal points of the BDS movement.
Getting Involved in BDS Campaigns
The BDS movement is a global network of thousands of organizations and groups tirelessly working towards justice for Palestine. To become an active participant in this worldwide movement, you can utilize a tool to connect with organizations that are key partners of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the most extensive coalition of Palestinian networks leading and supporting the BDS initiative.
It’s important to note that certain groups, such as the “Canadian BDS Coalition” and “BDS Boston,” are not affiliated with the core BDS movement led by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC). The BNC has urged these groups to remove “BDS” from their names to prevent confusion.
Understanding What to Boycott
One of the primary tactics of the BDS movement is targeted consumer boycotts. These campaigns have effectively pressured retailers worldwide to stop selling products associated with companies profiting from Israel’s actions. Many Israeli exporters have reported difficulties in exporting their products due to these boycotts.
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) specifies a range of Israeli and international companies complicit in violations of Palestinian rights. While most Israeli companies are connected in some way to Israel’s occupation and apartheid, the BDS movement focuses on a limited number of companies and products to maximize its impact. These targets are selected based on their direct involvement in supporting Israel’s violations, where the BDS movement believes it can make a significant difference. You can stay informed about the brands being targeted in your community by checking with BDS organizations in the United States.
Participate in the following quiz: Should I lend support to Palestine or Israel?
Current BDS Targets
The BNC is currently advocating for consumer boycotts of several products and brands:
- HP (Hewlett Packard): HP plays a crucial role in running the biometric ID system used by Israel to restrict Palestinian movement. For more information, you can visit BDS Movement HP page.
- Siemens: Siemens is complicit in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise by planning the construction of the EuroAsia Interconnector, connecting Israel’s electricity grid with Europe’s. This allows illegal settlements on confiscated Palestinian land to benefit from Israel-EU electricity trade produced from fossil gas. The hashtag #StopFuelingIsraeliApartheid is associated with this campaign.
- AXA: AXA invests in Israeli banks that finance the theft of Palestinian land and natural resources. The BDS movement encourages individuals not to buy insurance policies from AXA and, if they currently have a policy with them, to explore the possibility of canceling it. For more information, visit BDS Movement AXA page.
- Puma: Puma sponsors the Israel Football Association, which includes teams located in Israel’s illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Additional information can be found at BDS Movement Puma page.
- Israeli Fruit and Vegetables: Products like fruits, vegetables, and wines from Israel are often mislabeled as “Produce in Israel” even when originating from Palestinian land. The BDS movement encourages individuals to boycott all produce from Israel in local supermarkets and demand their removal from shelves.
- SodaStream: SodaStream is actively complicit in Israel’s policy of displacing indigenous Bedouin-Palestinian citizens in the Naqab (Negev). The company has a history of mistreatment and discrimination against Palestinian workers.
- Ahava: Ahava cosmetics has its production site, visitor center, and main store located in an illegal Israeli settlement.
- Sabra: Sabra hummus is a joint venture between PepsiCo and the Strauss Group, an Israeli food company that provides financial support to the Israeli army.
FAQs About BDS
Below are some frequently asked questions and brief answers about the boycott:
Besides boycotting Israeli goods, what else can I do?
The BDS movement extends beyond consumer boycotts. It involves campaigns to pressure institutions, unions, companies, and academic, cultural, economic, and military isolation of Israel. It’s crucial to explore various avenues and collaborate with others to promote BDS initiatives.
What about long lists of boycottable products?
While there are numerous companies with links to Israel due to the global nature of today’s economy, the BDS movement focuses on a select few strategic targets to maximize impact. The goal is to have consumer boycotts that are easy to explain, possess wide appeal, and hold potential for success. Context sensitivity plays a role, allowing activists in specific contexts to decide the most effective targets based on BDS guidelines.
Do the barcodes on Israeli products start with 729?
Barcodes beginning with 729 typically indicate an Israeli product. However, this is not always a foolproof method. The most reliable way to determine a product’s origin is to look for a “Product of Israel” label or inquire with the retailer.
Does the BDS movement call for a boycott of all Israeli products or just those from illegal settlements?
The BDS movement calls for a boycott of all products from Israeli and international companies involved in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights. Although many campaigns focus on companies operating in illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem due to their potential for widespread support, other campaigns address broader Israeli human rights violations.
Participating in a BDS campaign in your local community or country is a powerful way to support the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom, justice, and equality. By staying informed about targeted products and brands and collaborating with BDS organizations in the United States, you can make a significant impact and contribute to the ongoing fight for Palestinian rights.
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