The first thing we can do to stop oppression is to stop aiding it. I would like to tell you to boycott taxes, but the movement is just not there yet. The best strategy at this point is to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global boycott movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa.
In July 2005, a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on “people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.” The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions–BDS for short–was born.
And the time has come… People of good conscience have chosen to boycott israeli products and companies supporting the zionist entity. Others can also show their opposition to israel’s project by participating in a consumer boycott of Israeli goods and services. A consumer boycott works in two ways: firstly by generating bad publicity for the offender and secondly by applying economic pressure for change.
Raise awareness among consumers about the consequences of buying Israeli goods and services. Pressurise supermarkets and shops into removing goods with barcode 729 – denoting Israeli origin – from their shelves. Encourage companies who make use of Israeli technology and components to find alternatives and join the boycott. Focus the attention of the world on Israeli occupation and apartheid and expose those who bankroll the Israeli regime; and to foster an environment in which it is unacceptable to promote Israeli policies.
Individual consumers can show their opposition to Israel’s project by participating in a consumer boycott of Israeli goods and services. A boycott can also put pressure on companies whose exports are linked to some of the most evident aspects of the Israeli occupation and apartheid.
Agrexco export fruit and vegetables for sale all over Europe and the US under the trade name Carmel. Much of its produce is grown on confiscated Palestinian land in the Jordan Valley, and the Israeli government owns 51% of the company. Jaffa Oranges were famous for centuries before Israelis successfully colonised the Palestinian name along with the city of Yafa.
Motorola, as well as producing mobile phones, also manufacture wireless data networks for military bases and battlefield communications systems. Much of the cutting-edge technology contained in products such as mobile phones, computers and software is developed in the manufacture of military services and goods. Products developed to meet the needs of the Israeli military have a reputation for reliability, having been tried and tested on Palestinians.
Tel-Aviv is the global hub of a trade with considerable moral and ethical implications having consistently fuelled conflicts, wars and oppression throughout Africa. Many of the globes major dealers use Tel Aviv as the processing point for a trade which makes a major contribution to the Israeli economy. Consumers in Arab countries have begun to raise their voices in recent years. Tired with their US-backed governments, they have taken the isolation of Israel into their own hands – creating enormous losses especially for US producers complicit in the occupation of Palestine. In the West, consumers are growing more and more aware of the products they buy and the food they eat. In the UK a survey conducted in 2005 for the Co-Op bank revealed that over half of the questioned consumers stated that they had avoided buying products from a company on the basis of its reputation. Boycotts are big business, and it is vital that the international public are made aware of the moral and ethical dimension of buying Israeli goods.
Do it yourself
Avoid goods produced by companies with a significant business interest in Israel or containing parts produced by Israel. It includes boycott of companies whose management uses the profits and the power of the company to promote Israeli colonial policies of occupation and apartheid. This approach was used successfully by consumers opposing apartheid in South Africa. By the time Barclays’ Bank (UK) had pulled out of apartheid South Africa, its share of the student market had plummeted from 27% to 15%. A boycott must focus on strategic targets of particular significance, such as: Produce that is symbolic of its origin from Israel e.g. fruit, vegetables, cut flowers.
1. Don’t buy Israeli goods
This is easier than it sounds and a list of common products from Israeli companies can be found on a series of websites listed in the Resource section. You could also send a letter to the supermarket, the media and local political parties in your country informing them of your decision and the reasons.
2. Identify and lobby retail outlets that stock Israeli goods
Outlets that stock Israeli goods can be lobbied to break off such business relations in response to Israeli policies. You can send letters to local shops and large retailers asking them to de-shelve Israeli products. Find organizations and networks that would be willing to endorse the letter in order to achieve a more powerful effect.
3. Boycott and picket outlets that do not respond to lobbying
Where outlets continue to sell Israeli goods, go a step further and write informing them that you will no longer shop there. Organiza a picket of the shop and distribute campaign materials informing people of the BDS campaign.
4. Set up a local campaign and website promoting the boycott
Spread the word about the BDS campaign. Useful material, fact sheets and resources can be taken straight from the BDS website for you to set up your own local campaign. You could also provide a blacklist of outlets in the local area that are refusing to stop selling Israeli goods.
5. Further steps
Organise pickets and blockades of the transportation of Israeli produce; Encourage shop workers, dockworkers and others to refuse to handle Israeli goods; Putting out public information about companies’ use of Israeli technology and components; Create a Buycott alternative, promoting ethical alternatives to Israeli goods and reward companies who publicly distance themselves from the Israeli economy with greater levels of trade.