Sep 17, 2010

#BDS: August 12 Olympia Center forum on the Oly Food Co-op boycott

I remember when I first learned of the conflict in Israel/Palestine. I was a child, about the age of 10, sitting in the living room of my Palestinian friend's home. They were discussing how they missed and feared for their families who were still in Palestine; about how their family's farm had been destroyed, their lands taken, and their home demolished, again. I remember wondering how anyone could do such a horrible thing to such wonderful people. I was not able to understand why nothing was being done to stop these atrocities.

Over thirteen years have gone by since that day, and since then I have been involved in Palestinian solidarity work in a number of different ways. I have lobbied the government, protested in the streets, participated in dialogues, as well as other forms of non-violent action. As the years went on, I watched as multiple peace talks failed. I watched as countless UN resolutions and international laws were broken. It slowly became very clear to me that all of these efforts seemed to make no tangible difference in the policies of the Israeli government towards the Palestinian people.

I began to seriously question the strategies that I had been using and began to search for a viable alternative, an alternative that has been proven to work in the past to bring about social change. I also knew that whatever the alternative was, it had to be a strategy that allowed me, an ordinary citizen, to take matters into my own hands. This factor was especially important to me because we are living in a country whose government has remained complacent on these issues. That is when I first learned about the Global BDS movement. The Global BDS movement has been gaining momentum since July 9, 2005 when a group of over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations issued a call for boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) towards the state of Israel until the government of Israel chooses to comply with international law and end its occupation of Palestine. The movement is based upon the success of the BDS movement to end South African apartheid. Since the call was issued, thousands of individuals and organizations have endorsed the call including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Naomi Klein, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb and several others.

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