Here are 70 highlights of solidarity and BDS for Palestine in 2018. We highlight 70 moments of hope on this year marking theÂ seventieth anniversaryÂ of the ongoingÂ Nakba, or âCatastrophe,â wherein indigenous Palestinians faced mass expulsion from their homes to establish a Jewish-majority settler-colonial state.
Many of the responses below followed Israelâs massacre of 60 Palestinians in Gaza on May 14, 2018, as the world watched Israeli snipers gun down Palestinian demonstrators simply for asserting their right as refugees to return home and to live in freedom.
Amidst this tragedy and ongoing Israeli repression, we take great heart in the fact that calls to stop arming Israel and to hold it accountable for its crimes are growing stronger in the grassroots and also entering the mainstream.
Governments, city councils, Members of Parliament and political parties in several countries work to impose a military embargo on Israel, as was done against apartheid South Africa. Others seek to revise or stop arms sales and training with the Israeli military.
After Israelâs massacre of 60 Palestinians in Gaza on May 14, 2018, influential US Senator Patrick LeahyÂ demandsÂ that the State Department âpromptly determine if individuals or units involved in the [Israeli] shootings should be prohibited from receiving US training or equipment, consistent with the Leahy Law.â
Socialist International, anÂ association of 140 global political parties, including 35 parties in government, adopts BDS and calls for a military embargo on Israel until it ends its violations of Palestinian rights and apartheid system.
US Congresswoman Betty McCollum says,Â âWe must ensure that no US tax dollars are supporting the mistreatment and abuse of Palestinian children.â She urges her colleagues to co-sponsor H.R. 4391: a bill to âprohibit US funds from supporting Israelâs violent military detention and abuse of Palestinian children.â She says âthis abuse must stop.â
TheÂ UKâs Labour Party leader Jeremy CorbynÂ reiterates his partyâs commitment to âreview the sale of arms [to Israel] that could be used in violation of international law,â while other Members of Parliament, such asÂ Andy SlaughterÂ andÂ Caroline Lucas, explicitly call on the UK government to #StopArmingIsrael.
“Following the massacre of unarmed Palestinians by Netanyahuâs apartheid regime, is it not time to support the boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign until such time as Israel complies with its obligations under international law? If that is a step too far, will the Minister at least press for a review of the arms export licence criteria, because they are clearly not satisfactory if they allow us to continue selling arms to Israel, given the appalling events that we witnessed yesterday?â
In the Spanish State, the progressive partyÂ PodemosÂ demands a military embargo on Israel, whileÂ one of Brazilâs fastest growing leftist parties PSOLÂ calls for suspending all military and diplomatic relations.
TheÂ Green Party of Canada saysÂ Canada âmust suspend all military trade with Israel.â It describes how Israel’s military in Gaza is âshooting … unarmed civilians in a peaceful protestâ in âa clear violation of all accepted international norms.â
In a historic vote, theÂ Irish Senate passes a billÂ prohibiting the import of goods and services produced in illegal settlements built on stolen land. Senator Frances Black, who introduced this Occupied Territories Bill 2018, says that the demand to end trade in settlement goods âis not a radical demand: it seeks consistency in [Irish] foreign policy and disassociation from clear breaches of humanitarian law.â
California DemocratsÂ vote to endorse an important bill that would prevent US tax dollars from supporting the Israeli militaryâs ongoing detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children. They also voted to oppose bills that seek to silence supporters of the BDS movement for Palestinian rights.
French parliamentarianÂ asks âWhy does France not condemn the illegal blockade of Gaza?â She calls for solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza and says âthe French government must put an end to Israelâs impunity.â
TheÂ BDS movement is nominated for the Nobel Peace PrizeÂ by a Norwegian parliamentarian, with the support of his progressive RĂ¸dt (Red) Party. He says BDS âshould be supported without reservation by all democratically-minded people and states.â
Durham, North Carolina becomes theÂ first US city to ban its police department from participating in international exchanges with the Israeli military or police.Â In a unanimous vote, Durhamâs City Council banned police exchanges with any international agencies that would give Durham officers âmilitary-style trainingâ contrary to the city’s vision for community safety.
AÂ wave of major cities across the Spanish stateÂ express strong support for Palestinian rights. They all denounce President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and slam Israel’s latest massacre of Palestinians in Gaza. Many call for an arms embargo on Israel and urge governments to ensure its implementation.
The City Council ofÂ BarcelonaÂ votes for a comprehensive military embargo on Israel with the support of an overwhelming majority of its members. Ada Colau,Â mayor of Barcelona, tweetsÂ that the city government will ask the federal government and all political factions to stop military trade with Israel, in line with calls from Amnesty International.
Four major Italian cities call for an arms embargo on Israel, in support of Palestinian rights. Naples and Turin join Florence andÂ Bologna. Additionally, the City Council of San Giuliano Terme in the Pisa area not only calls for an end to arms sales to Israel, but also endorses the BDS movement.
TheÂ Regional Council of Los Rios, one of the 15 regional governments of Chile, approves a resolution that calls on the national government to âcondemn the military repression against Palestinians in the Gaza Stripâ and to ârevise the cooperation agreementâ between the Chilean army and the Israeli army until it is sure that Palestinian human rights are respected. The city of Valdivia, the capital of Los Rios, also calls for the revision of military agreements and for an end to âall economic negotiations and treaties with Israel.â
In Scotland,Â Glasgow City Council promisesÂ supporters of Palestinian rights that it will no longer sponsor arms fairs featuring Israeli weapons manufacturers and will ensure that the city’s guidelines for hosting events reflect that âGlasgow is a human rights respecting city.â
Monaghan County CouncilÂ becomes the fifth Irish local authority to support the BDS movement for Palestinian rights. It follows Dublin, Derry, Donegal and Galway, and takes another step towards making Ireland an Israeli Apartheid Free Zone.
Natalie Portman publicly refuses to travel to IsraelÂ for the Israeli Genesis Prize, which is directlyÂ connected to the Israeli prime ministerâs office, leading the entire ceremony to be canceled. Portmanâs representativesÂ wroteÂ on April 2: âWe have followed the recent news from Gaza with growing worry, and we are concerned that it is not appropriate to hold a ceremony given the governmentâs actions and the latest escalation.â
Tiago Rodrigues, theÂ director of Portugalâs national theater, cancels his participation in an Israeli festival and joins the cultural boycott of Israel, becoming the first director of a national theater in Europe to ever do so.
Jean-Luc Godard and 80 other artistsÂ in France issue aÂ joint letterÂ denouncing France-Israel Cultural Season 2018, a joint cultural initiative sponsored by both the French and Israeli governments. Signatories refuse to participate in events organized within this framework.Â
TheÂ Tunisian General Labour UnionÂ adopts BDS andÂ Tunisian civil societyÂ calls for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel on the seventh anniversary of the Revolution of Freedom and Dignity in Tunisia. Participants include prominent academics, well-known artists and important political and labor union leaders.
Six artists withdraw from the Israeli embassy-sponsored Pop-Kultur music festival in Berlin. World renowned musicianÂ Brian EnoÂ condemns this collaboration in a video interview. The UK bandÂ Shopping,Â singer-songwriter Richard Dawson, Welsh musicianÂ GwennoÂ and American artistÂ John MausÂ were the first to to withdraw from this year’s festival. Two progressiveÂ Jewish groups in GermanyÂ also said they would boycott Pop-Kultur as long as it crosses the BDS picket line.
Prominent cultural figuresÂ including Massive Attack, Angela Davis, Patti Smith, Danny Glover, Viggo Mortensen, Peter Gabriel and Tunde Adebimpe condemn Ruhrtriennale arts festival in Germany for initially dropping the band Young Fathers over its support for Palestinian rights. They welcome the German festival’s decision to re-invite the band and defend BDS as a lawful exercise of freedom of speech.
As part of the sports boycott, overÂ 30 Italian cities and towns protestÂ along nearly every stage of the Giro dâItalia cycling race starting in Jerusalem. The president of theÂ Italian Football CoachesÂ association announces his boycott of the race. Â
British author Kamila Shamsie respects Palestinian BDS picket line andÂ refuses to publish in Israel, citing the lack of an Israeli publisher âwho is completely untangled from the stateâ and its violations of Palestinian rights. She is one of a growing number of authors.
Amnesty International calls for anÂ arms embargoÂ on Israel and releases thisÂ powerful videoÂ to promote its call. It slams the United States and the European Union for their military deals with Israel and holds them responsible for âfueling mass violations” of Palestinian human rights.
Human Rights WatchÂ documents Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians in Gaza and says officials responsible should be held accountable. The group calls for âsanctions against officials implicated in ongoing serious human rights violations.â An earlier report by HRW exposes howÂ Israeli banks bankroll and profit from illegal settlements.
42 civil society organizations from 6 countries in AsiaÂ Â (Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, India & Pakistan) call on the United Nations to publish its database of companies operating in illegal Israeli settlements built on stolen Palestinian land.
In aÂ major free speech victoryÂ litigated by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a federal court strikes down a Kansas law that sought to silence human rights defenders who boycott Israel because if its violations of Palestinian rights. The court ruled that the law is an unconstitutional denial of free speech. After being defeated in court,Â Kansas changes its lawÂ and no longer requires individuals paid by the state to certify that they do not boycott Israel or its illegal settlements.
Defenders of free speech and Palestinian human rights winÂ a victory in the Massachusetts legislatureÂ when a key committee refuses to advance a bill that would have prevented the state government from signing contracts with those who support an economic boycott of Israel.
TheÂ Movement for Black LivesÂ in the United States releases a powerful statement of solidarity with the Palestinian people in the aftermath of Israel’s latest May 14 massacre in Gaza and demands that the US government stop arming Israel. It objects to the $3.8 billion in taxpayer dollars given to Israel so it can âpurchase military arms from US corporations that are used on Palestinians.â
Black cultural figures in the United States, including Jesse Williams, Rosario Dawson, Tom Morello, Michelle Alexander, Danny Glover, Vic Mensa, Angela Davis and Talib Kweli, endorse aÂ Dream Defenders letterÂ that calls on all US representatives to sign H.R. 4391. The bill, which would prevent US tax dollars from supporting the Israeli military’s ongoing detention and abuse of Palestinian children, has 22 co-sponsors and counting.
40 Jewish social justice organizations across the globeÂ recognize that the BDS movement for Palestinian rights has a proven commitment to âfighting antisemitism and all forms of racism and bigotry.â From the United States to South Africa to Canada to New Zealand to Germany, Brazil, the UK, France, Australia, Israel, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Argentina and beyond, they condemn attempts to stifle criticism of Israeli policies and systems of injustice.
150 trade unions, parties, NGOs & faith groups across 16 European countriesÂ call on the European Union to stop funding Israeli arms companies until Israel ceases its egregious violations of Palestinian rights
TheÂ Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) votesÂ to fully support the Irish Congress of Trade Union (ICTU) position on Palestine, including full support for the BDS movement for Palestinian rights.
AdidasÂ stops sponsoring the Israel Football Association (IFA), which includes teams based in illegal settlements built on stolen Palestinian land. More than 130 Palestinian sports clubs hadÂ appealedÂ to Adidas to cancel its sponsorship deal with the IFA.
French car rental giant EuropcarÂ shuts down rental facilities run by its Israeli franchisee in illegal Israeli settlements built on stolen Palestinian land. It follows a growing number of companies that have divested from Israel’s military occupation.
AnotherÂ French firm, Systra, promises human rights defenders that it is pulling out of a project to expand Israelâs âJerusalem Light Railâ linking illegal Israeli settlements to Jerusalem. Human rights defenders call the railway âa tool of Israelâs settlement policy and of its annexation of Jerusalem, in complete violation of international law.â
AÂ Jordanian construction companyÂ refuses to sell materials to build a gas pipeline linking Jordan with Israel. A company representative said the business refuses to work with the Israeli government.
Hewlett Packard (HP) companies face $120 million in potential lossesÂ in India due to their complicity in Israelâs violations of Palestinian human rights. This comes after Indiaâs largest, four million-strong student association, joins the BDS movement and pledges to boycott HP companies over theirÂ well-documentedcomplicity in Israelâs grave violations of Palestinian human rights.
Roberts made clear that he wouldn’t have agreed to participate in the first place if he’d known that the race was initially set to take place in an illegal Israeli settlement in occupied Palestinian territory.
TheÂ Olympia Food Co-op, the first grocery store in the United States to boycott Israeli goods in support of the BDS movement, wins an important legal victory when a Washington State court dismissed an Israeli government-backed lawsuit against it.
Students atÂ Barnard College (Columbia University) in New York vote overwhelmingly in support of a BDS resolutionÂ to divest from companies profiting from Israel’s violations of Palestinians right. Reports say that âboth opponents and supporters of the BDS movement believed that Barnard could be a bellwether.â
The student government ofÂ California State University – East Bay votes unanimouslyÂ in favor of a resolution calling the university to divest from corporations that profit from the illegal military occupation of Palestine.
At the University of Chile,Â 90% of the Philosophy and Humanities Faculty studentsÂ vote to support the academic boycott of Israeli institutions and universities.Â Students also occupy the University’s main buildingÂ to protest the ongoing Palestinian Nakba and Israel’s recent massacre in Gaza.
Sabra is jointly owned by PepsiCo and Strauss Group. Strauss invests in and supports the Golani Brigade of the Israeli military, responsible for egregious violations of Palestinian human rights. These include arbitrary killings, assaults, incarcerations, evictions, arrests of children, and the use of chemical weapons such as white phosphorus.
TheÂ South African Students Congress (SASCO)Â notes Israelâs massacre of more than 60 Palestinians in Gaza on May 14, 2018, and affirms its support for BDS and the academic boycott of Israel. It also calls on South Africaâs foreign ministry to immediately implement the governing partyâs resolution for the âunconditionalâ downgrade of the South African embassy in Israel to a liaison office until Israel respects international law.
Students at George Washington UniversityÂ vote to divest from companies complicit in violations of Palestinian rights. They demand their university divest from corporations that âprovide goods and services to Israeli military forcesâ used âto bomb hospitals in Gaza, bulldoze Palestiniansâ homes, construct illegal Apartheid walls, and further suppress and violate Palestinian human rights.â
TheÂ Union of Students in IrelandÂ (USI), the umbrella body for student unions, votes to endorse BDS, following National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG), Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD) student unions.
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian rights.
Human Interest 08/04/18Â Palestinians Call for Boycott of Meteor Music Festival in Israel
Christopher Carlson is a full-time student of Religious Studies at Mount Mercy University, USA. He has been with the IMEMC since 2013. (firstname.lastname@example.org)