Commemorate Land Day 2011 by Joining the Global BDS Day of Action
30 March 2011
The BDS National Committee (BNC) is calling on you to unite in your different capacities and struggles to join the Global BDS Day of Action on Land Day, 30 March 2011, in solidarity with the Palestinian people’s right to self determination on their ancestral land.
Inspired and buoyed by the popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia and their unique manifestation of courage, dignity, civility and determination, we stand resolutely with worldwide struggles for self determination, freedom, democracy, social justice and equality, and we call for intensifying BDS actions globally as the main form of solidarity with Palestinian rights.
The Palestinian Land Day commemorates the day in 1976 when Israeli military forces shot and killed six young Palestinian citizens of Israel. These brave youth were among thousands protesting the Israeli government’s expropriation of Palestinian land to build new Jewish-only colonies and expand existing ones. Today, Land Day symbolizes Palestinian resistance to Israel’s ongoing land expropriation, colonization, occupation and apartheid. We salute and stand with the similarly popular and determined Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings, confirming that struggles for freedom, justice and equal rights everywhere are one. To the people of Tunisia and Egypt we say: „Your struggle is ours, as ours is yours. Your freedom is ours, as ours is yours.“
At this time, we are also reminded of the 20th anniversary of the failed attempts that started in Madrid in 1991 to make peacewithout justice and human rights. The recently revealed „Palestine Papers“ have confirmed beyond any doubt what has already been known to many: Israel refuses to comply with international law and rejects all forms of just peace, regardless of any steep concessions offered by unelected and unrepresentative Palestinian officials. As in the heroic struggle for freedom and against apartheid in South Africa, it is evident today that only sustained, effective and morally consistent international pressure — especially in the form of creative, context-sensitive BDS campaigns — can compel Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and respect Palestinian rights, foremost among which is our right to self determination and freedom.
Inspired by a century of Palestinian civil resistance, the South African anti-apartheid movement, and the intifada of the Egyptian and Tunisian peoples, the BNC calls on people of conscience all over the world to join the global BDS Day of Action through engaging in effective, creative and visible actions. We specifically call on you to:
1. Launch and support divestment initiatives to encourage and pressure individuals, pension funds, institutions and corporations to shed their investments in Israel that feed and profit from Israel’s war, occupation and apartheid economy;
2. Take initiatives to boycott products and services of Israeli and international corporations that sustain Israel’s apartheid, colonialism and occupation;
3. Pursue legal action towards ending Israel’s impunity, including by investigating and prosecuting in national courts and international tribunals Israeli war criminals and corporations that are complicit in Israeli violations of international law.
4. Urge artists to join the spectacularly growing cultural boycott of Israel by refusing to provide a cultural fig leaf for Israeli apartheid. Artists and cultural figures in South Africa, Ireland, the UK, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, India, Australia, the U.S., Brazil, Norway, Sweden, among others, have heeded the PACBI-led and internationally endorsed call for a cultural boycott, thus sending a clear message to Israel that its occupation and discrimination against Palestinians are unacceptable. Far from being „above politics,“ many in the cultural world now recognize, Israeli cultural institutions play a key role in the „Brand Israel“ campaign of the Israeli foreign ministry, aimed at diverting attention from and whitewashing Israel’s colonial policies and war crimes;
5. Initiate and promote incremental academic boycott initiatives leading to termination of all institutional links with Israeli universities: including petitions, statements and awareness raising campaigns to highlight the role played by these academic institutions in planning, justifying and perpetuating the state’s colonial and apartheid policies.
We also urge all partners and activists to focus on ensuring media coverage to reach a wider audience, by publishing BDS articles in your local and national press; briefing journalists on your BDS activities; staging media-focused public actions, such as direct action and high profile flash mobs; publicizing legal actions; exposing violators; promoting fair public debates; and using alternative media to mark and document your actions.
The 2005 Palestinian Civil Society call for BDS is now being answered by mainstream and influential actors worldwide. Superstars, award-winning authors, global financial institutions, major trade unions, faith groups, political parties, governments, and individuals of conscience of every kind are beginning to take action. Five years after the Palestinian Civil Society BDS call, we see signs that the unconditional support given to Israel over the decades by the international community to protect it from censure and accountability to international law is showing cracks. BDS shows the way for translating words into deeds and emotional support for justice into actions that can truly end injustice.
Join the Global BDS Action Day on Land Day, 30 March 2011!
For information on how to join this global event and how to develop ongoing BDS action in your country, organization and network, please contact the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) at: [email protected].
For more information see: http://bdsdayofaction.net
The first Global BDS Day of Action was announced by Palestinian civil society with overwhelming support at the 2009 World Social Forum in Brazil. The day of action was held on March 30 to coincide with the Palestinian Land Day, a major symbol of Palestinian resistance and the struggle for land, freedom and rights.
The BDS Call asserts the primacy of the right to self-determination and addresses the fundamental rights of the three main components of the Palestinian people: to live free from Israeli occupation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; to end Israel’s system of institutionalized racial discrimination against its Palestinian citizens; and for the Palestinian refugees and internally displaced, who constitute the great majority of the Palestinian people, to exercise their UN-sanctioned right to return to their homes of origin and to receive reparations.
The announcement of the first Global BDS Day of Action came in the wake of Israel’s 23 day military offensive, “Operation Cast Lead,” during which it killed more than 1400 and injured over 5000 Palestinians in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip. Two years after, Israel continues its criminal and immoral siege of the Strip, in grave violation of international law. It continues its military occupation and its extensive colonization, aimed at the gradual ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinians in the Naqab (Negev), occupied Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley, as well as in other parts of the occupied West Bank. It continues to construct its Wall, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004, and to arrest and repress Palestinian popular resistance activists struggling to implement the ICJ ruling to dismantle the Wall, in light of the utter failure of the „international community“ to enforce that advisory opinion.
These grave violations of international law must be seen in the context of decades of Israeli impunity, afforded to it by Western governments and, lately, the United Nations. Since the Nakba, Israel’s establishment through the dispossession and ethnic cleansing of a majority of the indigenous Palestinian people, Israel has been allowed to deny over 6 million refugees their UN-sanctioned right to return to their homes of origin. In the same period, Israel managed to get away with its system of legalized and institutionalized racial discrimination that conforms to the definition of apartheid under the 1976 International Convention for the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.[i]