The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)-movement for Palestinian rights was, this week, formally nominated for this yearâ€™s Nobel Peace Prize by the Norwegian MP BjĂ¸rnar Moxness (RĂ¸dt).
The BDS National Committee has released a short list of its top achievements for the year 2017.
GOVERNMENT & POLITICAL PARTIES
AÂ UN-commissioned reportÂ established that Israel has imposed a system of apartheid on the entire Palestinian people and called for BDS measures to end this apartheid regime.
South Africa again gave the world a lesson in how to concretely resist injustice when its rulingÂ African National Congress (ANC)Â unanimously voted, at its general conference, for downgrading South Africaâ€™s diplomatic ties with Israel.
The 25,000 strongÂ Democratic Socialists of AmericaÂ declared its full support for the Palestinian struggle and endorsed the BDS movement.
TheÂ Spanish parliamentÂ affirmed that the right to advocate for Palestinian rights through BDS is protected under freedom of speech and association. Hundreds of elected officials in the Spanish state endorsed BDS for Palestinian rights.
TheÂ Barcelona city councilÂ decided to support Palestinian rights by adopting ethical procurement guidelines which exclude companies involved in Israelâ€™s military occupation. In the past year, dozens of city councils across the Spanish state declared themselves Israeli â€śApartheid Free Zones.â€ť
TheÂ UK governmentÂ was defeated in court by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and its allies in a ruling that deems it unlawful for the government to restrict the right of local authorities to divest from companies complicit in Israelâ€™s violations of Palestinian human rights.
TheÂ Swiss parliamentÂ blocked Israel lobby efforts to criminalize support for BDS.
CULTURE,Â SPORT & MUSIC
Six National Football League (NFL) players in the United StatesÂ turned downÂ an Israeli government-sponsored, all-expenses paid, propaganda trip organized to improve Israelâ€™s fast deteriorating image.
Grammy-award winning artist LordeÂ canceledÂ her concert in Tel Aviv, and so did rapper and young feminist icon Princess Nokia (Destiny Nicole Frasqueri), following calls from BDS activists to respect the Palestinian picket line. More thanÂ 100 prominent artistsÂ wrote in support of Lordeâ€™s right to follow her conscience and exercise her right to boycott.
Wave of boycotts hit Israeli LGBT film festivalÂ & showed growing respect for Palestinian BDS picket line.
Nine musical acts withdrew from the Pop-Kultur festival in BerlinÂ after supporters of Palestinian rights highlighted that the festival violated the Palestinian BDS picket line.
Prominent Portugues photographersÂ launch a pledge to refuse professional invitations or financing from Israel and to refuse to collaborate with Israeli cultural institutions until Israel “complies with international law and respects the human rights of Palestinians.”
The South African Council of Churches (SACC) and theÂ Council of African Independent ChurchesÂ (CAIC), representing more than a million Christians in South Africa, announced their support for the Palestinian struggle and the BDS movement.
TheÂ Mennonite Church USAÂ voted by an overwhelming 98% majority to divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation, following several mainline churches that adopted similar policies in recent years, including theÂ Presbyterian Church USA, theÂ United Church of ChristÂ and theÂ United Methodist Church.
Twenty-threeÂ US churches have declared themselves HP-freeÂ after calls from Palestinian Christians to boycott the company for its complicity in Israelâ€™s violations of Palestinian human rights.
TRADE UNIONS & SOCIAL MOVEMENTS
Norwayâ€™s largest trade union federation, LO, representing close to a million workers, endorsed a full boycott of Israel to achieve Palestinian rights under international law.
AÂ 16 million-strong national farmersâ€™ union in India, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), joined the BDS movement.
TheÂ largest Canadian workersâ€™ unionÂ in the private sector (Unifor), representing more than 310,000 members, endorsed the right to boycott and to deploy BDS tactics to end Israeli military occupation.
BDS Gulf held itsÂ firstÂ regional anti-normalization conference in Kuwait City, with a broad participation of speakers, organizations, activists and political figures from the entire Arab Gulf region.
Major Colombian social movements, organizations and unionsÂ joined the BDS movementÂ and called for parallel support for their own struggle for freedom and human rights.
More than 200 Latin American organizations, coalitions, social movements and personalities published a letter addressed to the Board of Directors of the Mexican multinational company Cemex, calling on its members to end the companyâ€™s complicity in Israelâ€™s human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Â Their efforts are part of a growing #StopCemex campaign.
G4S suffered more losses around the world due to its ongoing complicity in Israeli crimes.Â UN WomenÂ became the fifth UN agency in Jordan to drop its contracts with G4S following a campaign by BDS activists there, andseven private and public companies in Jordan discontinued their service contracts with G4S.
TheÂ Lebanese doctorsâ€™ syndicateÂ dropped G4S, following a campaign by boycott activists in Lebanon. G4S also suffered its first lossÂ in Ecuador, where a research institute dropped its contract with the company following a BDS campaign.
AÂ California transportationÂ board dropped its contract with G4S after a human rights and labor coalition, including BDS activists, highlighted the companyâ€™s role in violating human rights in Palestine and the United States.
Denmark’s third largest pension fundÂ â€śSampensionâ€ť excluded four Â Â banks and companies from its portfolio, citing their investments in illegal Israeli settlements.They were identified as two Israeli banks, Hapoalim and Leumi, the German construction company HeidelbergCement, and Bezeq, Israelâ€™s largest telecommunications company, which owns telecommunications equipment installed within settlements.
Israelâ€™s largest public transportation operator â€śEggedâ€ťÂ lost a 190 million euro contractÂ to run public transportation in the Netherlands.
Air CanadaÂ ended a maintenance contract worth tens of millions of dollars with the Israeli arms firm â€śIsrael Aerospace Industriesâ€ť two years before the contractâ€™s end date.
One of the largest aeromedical organizations in the world,Â Australiaâ€™s Royal Flying Doctors (RFDS), refused servicesÂ from the Israeli military and tech company Elbit Systems. Elbit Systems produces 85% of the drones used by the Israeli military, including those used to attack Palestinian civilians in Gaza from 2009 to 2014.
South Africaâ€™s largest residential university,Â Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), with over 60,000 students, endorsed the academic boycott of Israel.
Seven US student governmentsÂ voted to divest from companies profiting off Israeli occupation. These include Tufts University, theÂ University of Michigan, California State University at Long Beach, De Anza College, Â Pitzer College, University of South Florida, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Search IMEMC: “boycott”
Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.