BDS stems from decades of Palestinian nonviolent popular resistance, which has included boycotts since the 1920s as a means of resisting British occupation and Zionist colonisation.
In 1936, Palestinians held a six-month strike and a campaign of non-cooperation in opposition to the colonial British Mandate’s support for Zionist colonisation of Palestine, effectively bringing the mandate to a halt. This strike is still credited by many as the longest strike in history.
Sanctions have been implemented by states that opposed Israel’s colonisation since shortly after Israel’s establishment through the massive, premeditated ethnic cleansing of the majority of the indigenous Palestinians.
During the first intifada (1987-1992), Palestinian resistance factions built a mass popular boycott of Israeli goods as one of the ways in which Palestinians could take part in the mass uprising, leading to a significant drop in Israeli exports to the occupied Palestinian territories.
The concept of opposing any form of normalisation with Israel remains a vitally important one within Palestinian politics. This is the idea that there cannot be business as usual with Israel while it continues to oppress Palestinians.
Efforts to combat normalisation activities have become a key form of BDS activism in Palestine and the Arab world. Protests and campaigns against normalisation activities often win widespread support and succeed in forcing normalization events to be cancelled.