8 August 2014
VPM UNEQUIVOCALLY ENDORSES & SUPPORTS BDS - BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT & SANCTIONS.
IT IS MORALLY & ETHICALLY THE RIGHT THING TO DO
THE GLOBAL BDS CAMPAIGN SIGNALS THE RISE OF THE NEW SUPER POWER – PEOPLE POWER
JOIN THE BDS MOVEMENT AND BOYCOTT ISRAEL
IT ENDED APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA, AND SO WILL IT END APARTHEID ISRAEL
For the past 66 years since the creation of Israel in 1948, she has been violating the rights of the Palestinians with impunity. Israel has denied the Palestinian right to freedom and self-determination and subjected them to ethnic cleansing and systematic discrimination. And for the third time since December 2008, the world watches in horror at the genocide taking place in Gaza.
But in spite of her glaring brutal oppression of the Palestinians, Israel has hardly been rebuked, let alone held accountable for its crimes against humanity.
In 2005, Palestinian civil societies called upon the world to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel or BDS. BDS is very similar to the anti-apartheid movement of the 1980s which led to the boycott, sanction and isolation of racist, white South Africa. It ended Apartheid South Africa and so will it end Apartheid Israel.
Today BDS Israel is a global movement, spanning the US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The global BDS campaign heralds the rise of the new super power – people power!
And contrary to popular belief, it is more than just economics. It is morally and ethically the right thing to do.
BDS is a global campaign of isolating Israel culturally, academically and economically. It sends a clear message to the Israeli government that it is a rogue state not welcome anywhere until it recognizes the Palestinians right to self-determination and fully complies with international laws.
Stephen Hawkings, the world's most famous scientist, boycott of the Israeli president's conference hit Israel where it hurts most, science and technology which drives its economy. Hawking's decision threatened to open a floodgate with more and more scientists coming to regard Israel as a pariah state.
Hawking's public refusal follows that of prominent singers, artists and writers, from Brian Eno to Mike Leigh, Alice Walker and Adrienne Rich, all of whom have publicly rejected invitations to perform in Israel.
Sixty four public figures, including 7 Nobel Peace Prize winners, published a letter in the British Guardian newspaper calling for an international arms embargo on Israel for its “war crimes and possible crimes against humanity” in Gaza.
In an open letter to the Lancet, twenty four doctors and scientists who have worked in and known the situation of Gaza have written “on the basis of our ethics and practice, we are denouncing what we witness in the aggression of Gaza by Israel.”
More recently, the University of Malaya rolled out a petition among the nation’s academicians, staff and students to express their outrage and condemnation of the Israeli atrocities, stating “Neutrality and silence in the face of such ongoing and irrefutable barbaric crimes is not an option. The time to be silent is over and the time to speak out is now.”
BDS creates awareness and is a grim and gruesome reminder of the long and brutal occupation the Palestinians have been living under. Each time we see the brands or companies targeted by the BDS against Israel campaign, we will remember the occupation. Each time a consumer reaches out for the boycotted product, he will picture the savage killings of innocent children, women and the elderly.
Thus, anyone can be part of the BDS movement. It is a personal choice to become a conscious consumer. It is about standing in solidarity with a people under occupation for 66 years. BDS is a personal political statement that says, “I don’t consume these products because it is morally and ethically wrong.” It empowers consumers and reminds them that as individuals they have a choice. Similarly, any organization can endorse the BDS campaign and make the advancement of BDS part of their organization's program and agenda.
The BDS campaign against Israel is peaceful in nature. The recent press reports of destruction of cars and premises displaying or selling the targeted products are criminal acts of vandalism and do not embrace nor demonstrate the non-violent spirit of the BDS campaign.
The BDS consumer boycott against Israel is not only about refraining from purchasing products of an Israeli company or products of international companies that are complicit in Israel's occupation and Apartheid. It also invites one‘s active participation in the campaign. BDS is not only about "refraining from products of an Israeli company" but also about "campaigning for stores not to stock those Israeli products". This pro-active and strategic approach has been successful in forcing supermarkets and stores across the world to terminate relations with Israeli companies or change their business policies with a government that violates the rights of an entire people.
BDS Israel is now a global movement that involves Nobel Laureates, academicians, poets, musicians, artists, award winning journalists and the lay public. It includes universities, churches, student bodies, businesses and even the government of South Africa. BDS Israel is a call to stop this bully through peaceful, non-violent means.
Boycott South Africa first conceived in the 1950s was the idea of a small group of civil society activists. It took decades but eventually almost the entire world stood united and brought an end to South Africa’s racist government.
Can we do it again?
In unity lies our strength. Do not make the mistake of doing nothing just because we think we can only do little. Just do what we can. Let us each act, each within our circle of influence to impact change. We boycott because it is morally and ethically the right thing to do. We call on you to be a part of this global movement, a part of the new super power called PEOPLE POWER.
We call on you to Boycott Israel.
Dato’ Dr Musa Mohd Nordin
Chairman, Viva Palestina Malaysia