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Handbook on Israeli Apartheid

change-your-lifestyleIn July 2005, a coalition of 171 Palestinian Civil Society organizations created the global BDS movement - for "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights" for Occupied Palestinians, Israeli Arabs, and Palestinian diaspora refugees.

Since 1948, dozens of UN resolutions condemned Israel's colonial occupation, decades of discriminatory policies, illegal land seizures, settlements, international law violations, and harsh oppression. They called for remedial action.

Nothing so far worked. Palestine remains occupied. Its people keep suffering. Their human rights are denied. Gaza's suffocating under siege. Abuses this extreme can't be tolerated.

In solidarity, people of conscience demand justice and "call upon international civil society organizations and (supporters everywhere) to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to (apartheid) South Africa."

Pressure's needed for "embargoes and sanctions....for the sake of justice and genuine peace."

Corporate Watch recently published a volume titled, "Targeting Israeli Apartheid: A Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Handbook."

Calling it a "guide many of us in the movement have been waiting for," it "demystif(ies) and expose(s) the daily reproduction of the occupation of Palestine."

Clear forensic evidence shows how colonization continues. The guide lists "names, addresses, profit margins, and zones of activity of the corporate web that sustains this injustice."

Through understanding comes better ways to intervene. Activists are given detailed information in nearly 400 pages. The material exposes the anti-Semitism canard. Occupation, repression and exploitation have no religion or ethnicity.

Decades of colonization continue because it's profitable. The guide frames it as "an international economic and cultural dynamic that we can identify in our own countries, on our streets and in our own homes."

Nonetheless, resistance offers hope and change. "(I)nformation is action." Grassroots solidarity can end Israeli apartheid, militarism, occupation and repression. BDS activism unites global civil societies to do it collectively. It explains:

"The key lesson learned from South Africa is that, in order for world governments to end their complicity with Israel's grave and persistent violation of human rights and international law, they must be compelled to do so through mass, well organized grassroots pressure by social movements and other components of civil society."

"In this context, BDS has proven to be the most potent and promising strategy of international solidarity with the Palestinian people in our struggle for self determination, freedom, justice, and equality."

It holistically targets decades of repressive occupation and Israeli Arab marginalization. Targeting state criminals and profiteering corporate interests are key to ending this decades long nightmare.

International companies like Deutsche Bahn pulled out. Companies with stakes in the Dutch Dexia banking group sold shares. The Israeli conglomerate Africa Israel said it won't work in settlements. Moreover, since Cast Lead, Israeli companies saw exports drop, especially to Europe.

The guide focuses on profiteering. Exposing it shines light where it's needed. Targeting corporate bottom lines matter most, beginning with tarnishing their image.

Three parts comprise the volume:

(1) Israel's economic sectors, their relative importance, and corporate profiteers in them.

Detailed information is provided on Israel's export trade, how BDS activism affects it, holding companies, banking and financial services, agriculture, extractive industries, energy, telecommunications, tourism, freight and public transport, academia, manufacturing, occupied industrial zones, military industry, high-tech business, diamonds, drugs, construction and real estate, and franchises.

(2) Geographical case studies examine exploited areas, including Syria's Golan, the Jordan Valley, East Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and the Naqab (a semi-desert region in southern Israel.

(3) A special focus highlights Britain, its arms and munitions industry, retailers, investors, Israeli companies with UK shareholders, banks, pension funds, universities, and complicit charities.

Detailed maps are provided of the Gaza Marine Zone, Separation Wall, Golan, Jordan Valley, the 1967 Allon Plan (cynically proposing maximum land with minimum Arabs, as well as annexing Palestine's choicest areas), East Jerusalem, and the Naqab.

Corporate Watch calls itself a "research group exposing the environmentally destructive and socially divisive projects of corporations and dragging the corrupt links between business and power, economics and politics into the spotlight."

Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

Its research "intends to strengthen and provide a resource for the growing BDS movement and the wider (supportive) international" effort.

It also examines the oil industry, globalization, genetic engineering, agribusiness, toxic chemicals, migration, privatizations, and other areas to catalogue corporate crimes.

It works cooperatively with peace campaigners, environmentalists, trade unionists, NGOs, journalists, British MPs, and other members of the public.

It targeting Israeli apartheid document focuses on:

(1) Israeli companies profiteering from Palestine's economy and people. For example, agribusiness established farms on stolen land. As a result, they crippled Palestinian agriculture with militarized help.

(2) International corporations exploiting Palestinian suffering. Arms companies provide Israel weapons and munitions. Construction companies build illegal settlements, Israel's Separation Wall, and Jews-only commercial development. Others take advantage the same way.

(3) Foreign states setting up illegal industrial areas on stolen Palestinian land. For example, Japan plans a Jordan Valley one working cooperatively with Israeli and international companies. Britain, Germany, France and other governments expressed interest in establishing their own.

A Final Comment

Colonialism, apartheid, and militarized occupation constitute serious international law breaches. It's long past time they ended. World leaders show no resolve. Grassroots activists must do it on their own until Israel:

  • recognizes Palestinian self-determination within 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital;
  • respects international law;
  • ends its illegal occupation, including Gaza;
  • dismantles its Separation Wall;
  • grants Israeli Arabs equal rights as Jews; and
  • complies with UN resolution 194, affirming the right of Palestinian refugees to return home or be fully compensated for losses.

Sustained grassroots activism for the long haul, including a vibrant BDS movement, has the best chance to achieve it. It won't happen another way.

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