BNC Statement

Indicators of the BDS movement’s global impact: Q4 2023 & Q1 2024

Since the beginning of Israel’s genocidal war on 2.3 million Palestinians in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip, the impact of the BDS movement has grown substantially and has begun to influence some states.


Over the last 18 years, the BDS movement has built a massive network worldwide, supported by trade unions, farmers’ coalitions, as well as racial, social, gender and climate justice movements, together representing tens of millions. It has had a large impact on isolating apartheid Israel, including by making large multinationals, like G4S, Veolia, Orange, HP, PUMA, and others totally or partially end their complicity in its crimes against Indigenous Palestinians. 

Since the beginning of Israel’s genocidal war on 2.3 million Palestinians in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip, the impact of the BDS movement has grown substantially and has begun to influence some states. The movement with its many partners has been intensifying pressure on policymakers to end the complicity of states and corporations in Israel’s war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide through mainstreaming its now widely accepted analysis of Israel as an apartheid state and advocating for targeted, lawful sanctions, particularly a comprehensive, two-way arms embargo, as a fulfilment of legal obligations under international law.

This impact has been accentuated by the South African case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) accusing Israel of genocide and by the subsequent ICJ ruling on 26 January 2024 that Israel is plausibly perpetrating genocide in Gaza.

On February 23rd, UN Human Rights experts issued a groundbreaking statement that references the risk of genocide to call on all states to fulfill their legal obligation by “immediately” stopping all “arms exports to Israel” and imposing “sanctions on trade, finance, travel, technology or cooperation.” This echoed demands that the BDS movement has been mainstreaming and for which it has been building mass support for many years. 

While in most of the developments below there were other influencing factors, of course, BDS has played an unmistakable, though sometimes indirect, role in realizing them.

INDICATORS OF IMPACT (a representative sampling of many similar developments):

(1) States & Local Governments:

  • Bolivia has suspended diplomatic relations with Israel, while Chile, Colombia, Chad, Honduras, Turkey, and Jordan, among others, have downgraded relations with it. 

  • The African Union has effectively suspended Israel’s observer status.

  • On February 29th, Colombian president Gustavo Petro announced the full suspension of arms purchases from Israel.

  • Belgium’s regional government of Wallonia has suspended two arms export licenses to Israel. Deputy PMs of Belgium and Spain have called for “suspending the EU Association Treaty with Israel, imposing a general arms embargo, or even imposing sanctions under the EU's global human rights sanctions regime.”

  • Chile has banned Israeli companies from its arms fair, and Israeli companies were also absent at Colombia’s arms fair.

  • On February 29th, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, the main ruling party in Spain, voted in parliament, along with other parties, in favor of an immediate suspension of Spain’s arms trade with Israel. On March 13th, the Foreign Affairs committee of the Spanish parliament voted in favor of stopping arms trade with Israel. 

  • Norway’s sovereign fund, the world’s largest, has recently announced that by November 2023 it had divested entirely its almost half a billion dollars worth of Israel Bonds. Israel Bonds have been a major target for the BDS movement since October 2023. The largest trade union federation, LO, with a million members has played a significant role in this.

  • Several Danish pension funds have excluded and divested from Israeli companies, including banks, involved in Israel's illegal settlements. 

  • The Norwegian government has advised Norwegian companies “not to engage in business cooperation or trade that serve to perpetuate the illegal Israeli settlements.”

  • On January 3, 2024, the Human Rights Commission of the Chilean Senate approved a bill to ban trade with Israeli settlements.

  • The Malaysian government has banned all ships owned by Israel, particularly those of the Israeli shipping company Zim, in response to Israel's violations of international law, a decision bolstered by the persistent efforts of BDS Malaysia.

  • The Canadian Parliament voted to end arms exports to Israel on March 18, 2024, while over 130 British MPs have called for banning all arms sales to Israel. 

  • The city of Barcelona (Catalonia) has taken a historic step by severing all ties with Israel due to its apartheid system and war crimes committed against Palestinians in Gaza, setting a precedent in Europe. This has followed a campaign led by BDS partners in Catalonia.

  • The government of Jordan has announced the rejection of an "electricity for water" deal with Israel, following significant public pressure spearheaded by BDS Jordan.

  • The New Zealand regional council of Environment Canterbury (ECan) has voted not to work with companies that do business with illegal Israeli settlements in the OPT.

  • Despite the domination of Israeli genocide-justifying propaganda in the mainstream US media, the majority of US voters now support halting or conditioning military funding and arms shipments to Israel.

  • In Turkey, the cities of Adana and Antalya have canceled their sister city protocols with Israeli counterparts, Beersheba and Bat-Yam, respectively. This followed intense campaigning by BDS Turkey.

  • On 29 November 2023, the Ghent (Belgium) city council announced it will not purchase from companies profiting from Israel’s system of occupation and oppression of Palestinians in the OPT. 

  • On 10 January, Derry City and Strabane District Council (Northern Ireland) announced plans to adopt an Ethical Procurement Policy.

  • On 25 January, Ireland’s largest party Sinn Fein announced it is working in city councils across Ireland to implement ethical procurement policies.

  • The City of Hayward, CA (US) voted to divest from four companies complicit in Israeli violations of human rights and international law on January 25, 2024.

  • More than 120 city councils in the US passed resolutions demanding a ceasefire. 

(2) Corporations:

  • In March 2024, following pressure from BDS Japan and its allies that evoked the ICJ ruling that Israel is plausibly committing genocide, two major Japanese firms, Nippon Aircraft Supply and Itochu Corporation, ended relations with Israel's largest private arms manufacturer, Elbit Systems.

  • Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest private weapons manufacturer and key enabler of its genocide, has expressed concerns about the impact of BDS campaigns against it, despite the increase in its sales of “field-tested” weapons. Elbit’s fear of BDS can be explained by the emerging trend of divestments by large banks and investment funds. On February 12, 2024, for instance, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board disclosed that it sold all 8,083 Elbit shares that it had owned in November 2023. Two days later, Bank of America Corp disclosed that it had shed more than 50% of its Elbit shares since November 2023. Even Scotiabank, the single largest foreign investor in Elbit, decreased its holdings of Elbit shares between Q3 and Q4 2023 by approximately 16%. Campaigns to push for total divestment continue. 

  • In March 2024, US fast food giant McDonald’s was forced to drop its frivolous defamation lawsuit against BDS Malaysia. The company has suffered a significant loss of revenue and share value as a result of a growing global BDS campaign, as admitted by its management. The boycott in the Arab world has played a large part in this pressure.

  • The German sportswear company Puma announced in December 2023 that it will not renew its contract with the Israeli Football Association which expires by the end of 2024, bowing to BDS pressure that has cost the company dearly in terms of reputational damage.

  • Carrefour, the French supermarket chain targeted by BDS for its complicity in Israeli crimes, has shut down four branches in Jordan, following an intense campaign led by BDS Jordan. The Jordanian Al-Ameed Coffee Company had earlier decided to shut down all its branches in Carrefour supermarkets in Jordan due to Carrefour’s complicity in Israel’s crimes.

(3) Institutions (trade unions, faith, academic, cultural, sports):

  • Major Indian trade unions representing tens of millions of workers have demanded of the Indian government to cancel an agreement to “export” Indian workers to Israel to replace Palestinian workers, urging workers to boycott Israeli products and to not handle Israeli cargo.

  • Dockworkers unions in Belgium, India, Catalonia, Italy, Greece, Turkey, California, and South Africa have taken actions against Israeli ships or arms shipments to Israel.

  • IAATW, an international worker-led alliance of app-based transport workers unions with 100k members from over 27 countries and 6 continents, has decided to boycott Chevron branded gas stations. 

  • The largest and oldest African-American church, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, with some 3 million members, has accused Israel of genocide, calling on the US to “immediately withdraw all funding and other support from Israel,” to end its complicity.

  • Heads of all Palestinian universities have called for isolating Israeli universities worldwide. 

  • Five Norwegian universities have suspended collaboration agreements with complicit Israeli universities over Israel’s Gaza genocide. 

  • The Law Faculty Council of the University of Antwerp (Belgium) has decided by consensus to halt a cooperation agreement with Bar-Ilan University over its unwavering support for Israel's military assault on Gaza. 

  • The Harvard Law School Student Government has passed a resolution calling on the Harvard Management Corporation and all institutions and organizations in the Harvard community to divest from Israel's regime of military occupation and its Gaza genocide.

  • The Academic Senate of the University of Torino (Italy) has resolved not to participate in scientific research calls with complicit Israeli institutions over Israel's #GazaGenocide.

  • The University of Girona (Catalonia) has committed to reviewing all agreements with Israeli universities; the Federal University of Ceará (Brazil) has canceled the “Innovation Challenge Brazil – Israel;” and the Humanities & Social Sciences Faculty of Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco (Argentina) has voted to support Birzeit University’s call to shun complicit Israeli academic institutions.

  • The Faculty Association at the University of Montreal, representing almost 1400 faculty, has voted unanimously for a boycott of Israeli universities, making it the FIRST in Canada to do so.

  • Students at the University of California Davis (US) have voted to divest their $20 million budget from companies complicit in the genocide and occupation. 

  • The University of Michigan (US) Faculty Senate Assembly voted for divestment on January 30, 2024. 

  • One hundred US arts organizations, including publishers, galleries, venues, magazines, bookstores, collectives, festivals and agencies, have endorsed the cultural boycott of Israel.

  • Cinema Girona has canceled the Seret Israeli film and TV festival, sponsored by the Israeli embassy and Ministry of Culture, after private engagement from Catalonian groups.

  • Eurovision: Belgium’s Ministers of Culture have called for banning Israel from Eurovision, as have 4,000+ artists including 1,000+ in host country Sweden. London’s biggest Eurovision screening party is among the events to be canceled due to Israel’s participation. 

  • More than 100 artists have boycotted South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Texas (US) over its partnership with the US military and weapons manufacturers arming Israel’s genocide.

  • Tens of thousands of artists have called for ceasefire, justice and accountability across tens of letters and initiatives, including in music, visual arts, film, literature and much more.

  • Olympics: petitions calling for banning Israel from international sports have gathered more than 280,000 signatures. Twenty six French MPs have called on the IOC to sanction Israel. 

  • FIFA: The West Asia Football Association called for suspending Israel’s membership from FIFA, and calls for excluding Israel from the Olympic Games are gaining momentum globally.

  • The executive committee of European Gymnastics has decided that Tel Aviv will no longer host the 2025 European Championships in Artistic Gymnastics. 

  • The European Water Polo Championships of 2024 has moved out of Israel. 

  • 4,000 queer artists have pledged not to perform or exhibit their works in Israel. The oldest LGBTQ+ org in the US has called for an end to Israel's #GazaGenocide. Ten queer filmmakers have withdrawn from the Israeli government-sponsored LGBTQ+ film festival. National Student Pride in the UK has dropped sponsors complicit in Israeli apartheid and genocide.


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