Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Campaigns
The Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign Demands: Stop Punishing Those Who Are Trying to Expose Israel’s Crimes, Start Holding Israel Accountable through Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Campaigns
Activism, PENGON/Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, January 20th, 2005
The Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, which represents a number of major Palestinian civil society organizations and over 50 regional popular committees, protests the arrest of two members of the Palestine 33 Committee in France. We call upon all other organizations and individuals dedicated to supporting the Palestinian struggle against Israeli Occupation and Apartheid to join us in condemning this attempt to stifle Palestine 33’s legitimate protest.
The two members of Palestine 33 are charged with placing stickers on products that were made in Israel in a supermarket in Bordeaux. The stickers call upon consumers to boycott Israeli products. The two members of the group, Sakina and Philippe Arnaud, were handcuffed, placed in custody, and searched as a result of this “crime” and charged with causing “severe damage” to the supermarket. They even had their computers confiscated from their homes by the police for further analysis.
Palestine 33 is one of many groups throughout France, Europe, and the world involved in a boycott campaign against products made in Israel, as a protest against Israel’s innumerable violations of international law. As a Palestinian Campaign involved in the struggle against Israeli Occupation and Apartheid, we know that such boycott campaigns are the only way to force the international community to act, in order to hold Israel accountable for its crimes.
Palestine 33 has declared that they and other groups want to inform consumers of the facts about products made in Israel. They note that the International Court of Justice has declared Israel to be in violation of international law in its building of the Apartheid Wall, as well as in its settlement and occupation policies; that products produced in Israel settlements—settlements that are all illegal under international law—are illegally important under free trade agreements into the EU; and that the European Parliament has asked the EU to suspend its trade association deal as long as Israel is in violation of international law.
The call for a boycott is the most effective way in which individuals can obbey international law and provide pressure in order to end Israel’s violations and hold it accountable for its crimes. But instead of joining to condemn Israel for its crimes against the Palestinian people, the French government has shown itself willing to remain complicit with these crimes. It claims that those who are merely trying to expose and protest Israel’s crimes are the “criminals.” By arresting activists for doing no more than informing the public about products made by Israeli Apartheid and calling upon them to boycott these products, the French government shows itself willing to make any act of protest a crime. Further, it shows that it is more ready to continue to defend Israel’s crimes against the people of Palestine than it is to listen to its own citizens, who are calling for an end to support for these crimes and demanding that Israel at last be held accountable.
We at the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign thank Palestine 33 for their actions and support and condemn in the strongest possible terms these attempts to silence and intimidate those who continue to protest against Israel’s crimes. We express our appreciation for the grassroots support of groups in France, and throughout the world, who are initiating boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaigns against Israeli Apartheid and Occupation. It is upon this grassroots support that the people of Palestine can draw for our struggle.
We call upon all organizations and individuals throughout the world dedicated to justice in Palestine, and to social justice in any form, to protest against this attempt by the French government to try to stop the boycott campaign led by groups such as Palestine 33. As the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa taught us, such efforts to stifle or shut down such campaigns can never succeed, just as apartheid can never last, if we join together in the struggle to expose Israel’s crimes, demand accountability for these crimes, and bring them to an end.
Please send letters of support and letters of protest addressed to the French authorities to the Palestine 33 Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, please see: http://palestine33.free.fr/