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[Opinion] Boycott for the Right Reasons

[Opinion] Boycott for the Right Reasons

BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.

Professor Mohd Nazari Ismail, Ph.D.
Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (Malaysia)

The savage and inhuman bombings of Gaza by the Israeli military have resulted in the death of hundreds of civilians including women and children. The objective is obviously to make Hamas and its supporters capitulate.

However, it has also succeeded in making people around the world realise the nature of the Israeli state and society. The priority of Israelis is the well-being of their own people.

Freedom, justice, and human rights, especially those of Palestinians, are secondary considerations.

Actually, that is also the main reason why the problems in Palestine exist in the first place.

Zionists from Europe came to Palestine in droves in the early 20th century with the objective of setting up a homeland for the Jews.

In their quest, they decided that there is no place for non-Jews in that homeland, and without any regard for justice and human rights, they set about to kill and expel the indigenous Palestinian population.

Unfortunately for them, the Palestinians resisted their attempts till today, hence the ongoing savagery towards the Palestinians in historic Palestine, the West Bank, and also Gaza.

Now that the picture of who the oppressors are and who their victims are is becoming more obvious, people around the world are eager to contribute to the cause of justice for Palestinians.

They have also realised that governments around the world, including from Muslim countries and even the Palestinian Authority, seem not too interested to do much.

Realising this, Palestinian civil societies in 2005 started a movement for freedom, justice, and equality for Palestinians called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions or BDS.

BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.

It is inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement and the main focus is to engage in actions to pressure Israel to comply with international law.

BDS is now a global movement made up of unions, academic associations, churches and grassroots movements across the world. The main demands of the BDS movement towards Israel are:

  1. End its occupation and colonisation of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall
  2. Recognise the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality
  3. Respect, protect, and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194

As long as the above conditions are not fulfilled, BDS calls on the people of conscience all over the world to boycott Israel, Israeli companies as well as companies that are complicit with Israel in committing human rights violations towards Palestinians.

The choice of companies to be boycotted must be based on their complicity and not simply because they are American or European companies.

Moreover, since this is an issue of human rights violations and not a religious conflict, there is no question of boycotting companies simply because they are owned by non-Muslims.

The struggle for freedom, justice, and equality in Palestine is now a global effort supported by people from all over the world. Any attempt to hijack and change it to a narrow racial or religious conflict must be condemned in no uncertain terms.

Professor Mohd Nazari Ismail is the Chairman of Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (Malaysia). All opinions here are his own and do not necessarily reflect the stand of TRP.
For more information regarding BDS, you can visit the BDS Movement website.

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