Feb 14, 2011

#BDS: Levelling the Scales by Force: Thoughts on Normalisation in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict


"The BDS campaign, then, is the only way for the Israeli community – and the world – to truly see, experience, and know what their government is doing in Palestine. Our responsibilities to the truth, both as Palestinians and Israelis, are both collective and deeply personal; 
anti-normalisation work is a way to honour and act upon those responsibilities. It is powerful – and powerfully nonviolent – resistance, with human solidarity as a tactic as well as a goal.

Anyone with any exposure to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will also be exposed to certain oft-repeated words and phrases that are woven through it like threads – or which are deployed around it like firecrackers. These words become markers, signals, and judgments. They are written and spoken all the time, but not always clearly defined – despite being among the most important ideas to truly understand.

One such word is normalisation. When actors in the Palestinian struggle for a just peace use this term, what do they mean? What is the reasoning behind a refusal to work with an individual or group because of a “normalising” attitude or act? And why is normalisation so damaging to achieving justice?

In order to clarify this goal – justice – it’s also important to clarify normalisation. I’d like to start with a straightforward definition of normalisation as expressed by the first Palestinian BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) conference, held in Ramallah in November 2007:"

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