How is the BDS Movement connected to international law?
for all refugees
from occupation and apartheid
for all people living under Israeli control
What is the law? To be effective, advocates will need some familiarity with international law and how it applies to Israel/Palestine.
Starting a BDS campaign with the list of 112 companies that the UN has identified as profiting from Israeli human rights violations.
Here are the areas in which Israel violates international law in Palestinian lives: social, economic, health, and political arenas.
Using the law as a weapon of war: Israel advocates around the world have been using the law and the courts to make pro-Palestine advocacy illegal.
School and university campus advocacy and actions, sporting events and cultural events are a context for BDS and are also subject to legal and policy issues.
Israel has been formalizing and codifying anti-Palestinian language into its laws, discriminating against Palestinians "legally" through its laws.
BDS involves solidarity actions which cover a number of human rights issues under international law, as noted previously. Deciding which aspects of BDS to engage in within your context can be further enhanced by knowing what other legal debates or cases and advocacy on human rights concerns are important in your country’s history or current situation. Use those to your advantage when exploring the legal issues of BDS advocacy.
Do not allow legal intimidation or chilling tactics to stop your group’s research, education, advocacy or partnership on boycott, divestment or sanctions. Be strategic and careful but direct and firm when intimidation occurs.
Seek out lawyers who have human rights, investment, taxation, constitutional rights and protections expertise in your country/context as much as possible, including those who have worked on other areas of civil society and rights or freedom of speech, boycott, economic resistance and freedom of religion areas.
Do the research and engage informed and supportive legal opinions on laws and policies in your specific municipality and nation related not only to BDS but to a wide variety of human rights and freedoms as defined within the body of law and cases related to your context.
Know your individual rights in your country, region or municipality related to freedom of speech and assembly, in particular, and other policies that may come into play as your group plans and enacts boycotts, advocates for divestment or seeks sanctions related to international law violations related to Palestine and Israel.
Solicit advice with regard to laws related to investments and financial instruments or corporations as economic tools according to your country’s legal and judicial history. This is part of understanding how those investments impact Palestinian rights and the calls for justice under international law.
While BDS advocacy and actions are very much shaped by local law and legal history or contexts, engage with activists globally for support and strategic wisdom in handling these issues.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is an expression of non-violent resistance in response to the colonial settler policies of the State of Israel, including military occupation as defined by international law, land annexation, refusal to recognize the rights of refugees and apartheid laws in both the occupied territories and applied to Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel.
LEARNING THE LEGAL LANDSCAPE THROUGH BDS VICTORIES
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) are successful tactics in a larger movement for equal rights. BDS impacts policies, products and perceptions on Palestine and the violations of international law by the State of Israel.
How does a group decide what to focus on in a BDS action?
Growth of a Movement
Explore the actions that have shaped the Palestinian-led, global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for freedom, justice, and equality by using a powerful visual timeline tool by Visualizing Palestine showing the victories by BDS.
Open Timeline Tool. (large data file, opens slowly)
Your organization can use this tool to see some of the global wins and challenges over the last eight years. Move the cursor over the dots or by clicking on the other icon next to the green dot on the downloaded page, a case-by-case listing of victories drop down. Take the time to study some of the cases as your group is considering what BDS advocacy it wants to undertake.
See Visualizing Palestine for more tools on resistance.
There have been many victories in the fifteen years since the civil society call to BDS was issued. What the Palestinian solidarity movement has learned in those years is: BDS works!
Extraordinary efforts on the part of Israeli and international Zionist organizations to pressure governments into challenging or legislating against only demonstrate how effective it has been in resisting and raising awareness of the apartheid policies of the State of Israel.
Mapping the growth of the movement shows that BDS can be taken up in a variety of ways:
“We need a more robust Palestinian politics that guides [the law] and is able to articulate what freedom is, what the future is and to use the law in the service of that vision.” ~ Noura Erakat
Palestinian American legal scholar and human rights attorney
-see full interview in The New Arab.