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Palestine: 6 simple acts of international solidarity

Jenny Nelson looks at what you can do to help the people of Palestine

July 18, 2014
4 min read

Jenny NelsonJenny Nelson is a Red Pepper web editor.

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gaza-protestPhoto: Haydn Jones/Flickr

1. Support the BDS campaign

Almost 10 years ago Palestinian civil society issued a call for a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights. It involves boycotting goods of Israeli companies, particularly those operating from settlement land, as well as international companies involved in Israel’s human rights violations. Many experienced campaigners believe this campaign is key to bringing about change. Products to watch out for include Ahava cosmetics, SodaStream drinks machines and Eden Springs bottled water. Here are 9 ways to support the BDS campaign.

2. Hear from people on the ground

Read and share this recent statement from dozens of Palestinian civil society groups. “We Palestinians trapped inside the bloodied and besieged Gaza Strip call on conscientious people all over the world to act, protest and intensify the boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel until it ends this murderous attack on our people and is held to account…” You can also follow minute-by-minute updates on Twitter from doctors, journalists and civilians.

3. Challenge media bias

It could be in the statistics, when the death of one Israeli is reported with greater gravity than numerous Palestinian deaths. Or it could be the way a report is framed, for instance when an aggressive military superpower is described as ‘defensive’ or ‘retaliatory’ while bombarding an impoverished refugee camp. Write to news outlets and sign this letter to the BBC, supported by Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, Ken Loach and Jeremy Hardy.

4. Join a group and take to the streets

There could be an active group on your campus or in your local town. In the last week there have been protests across the UK, including mass gatherings outside BBC offices, disruptions at the Sainsbury’s AGM and a cosmetics shop selling goods from occupied Palestine in Manchester was closed by local campaigners. For opportunities to protest, hold fundraisers and meet local campaigners try your local Palestine Solidarity Campaign branch.

5. Listen to dissenting Jews and Israelis

Remember not all Jewish or Israeli people support the recent attacks on Gaza. There has been protest in Israel and there are long-term active Jewish groups for peace around the world. For instance Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-Big) say many Jews are involved in the BDS campaign. Co-founder Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi stresses that the global boycott movement, started by the Palestinians themselves, does not target individual Israelis — and certainly not Jews as Jews.

6. Confront the arms trade

Israel is one of the most heavily militarised states on earth with arms companies, such as Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries, playing a leading role in the export of drones globally. War on Want call on the EU to assure that Israeli arms companies do not receive subsidies from European taxpayers. Campaign Against the Arms Trade provide a map of the UK revealing the arms trade on your doorstep, in this case your nearest company supplying arms to Israel. They also ask you to sign their petition to the UK Foreign Secretary.

Are you concerned that Israel is being singled-out from all of the other violent regimes around the world? Read Mike Marqusee’s response, where he dispels some common myths about the BDS campaign.

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Jenny NelsonJenny Nelson is a Red Pepper web editor.

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