BDS-Related Responses to Israel’s Freedom Flotilla Massacre

June 8th, 2010 | Posted in Boycott, Canada, Palestine
    download document from Omar Barghouti May 31 2010


Photo Gaza sign in Bosnia day after the Israeli massacre of the freedom flotilla.

Only a few days since Israel’s illegal and fatal act of aggression against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla,, BDS-related reactions around the world were quick and qualitatively consequential.

Building on 5 years of international BDS activism since the Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS was launched on 9 July 2005, a year and a half since Israel’s war crimes in Gaza, when its base criminality and status was revealed to the world, and months after the watershed UN Goldstone report, international civil society’s tolerance of Israel’s impunity and war crimes has grown very thin.

The fact that this latest attack was categorically illegal, immoral and unjustifiable, that it targeted civilian ships in international waters, that it led to the murder and injury of tens of humanitarian relief workers and civilian activists from many countries, that among the siege-breaking activists were prominent intellectuals, a Nobel Peace Laureate, a Holocaust survivor, European and other parliamentarians, a former senior US diplomat, representatives of international media, etc., all triggered mass anger around the world and, unprecedentedly, widespread calls for boycotting Israel as a pariah state.

Below are some of the most significant developments that have every potential to carry the global BDS movement to the next qualitative level.

Beyond Israel’s direct criminal responsibility for this massacre, several governments around the world have some of the blood of those international aid workers and activists on their hands. Their shameful complicity is precisely what has afforded Israel its criminal impunity before international law, nourishing its pathological and extremely dangerous feeling of being invincible and beyond world reproach. When such a high degree of impunity is mixed with colonial hegemony, almost unparalleled racism, and a distinct system of apartheid, as is the case in Israel, the concrete danger to the region and indeed the entire world cannot be underestimated.

States, institutions and even individuals that have been complicit in supporting, justifying, whitewashing or otherwise abetting Israel’s crimes and grave violations of international law carry some of the moral and/or legal responsibility for “preparing the scene” for this Flotilla massacre.

This includes the states that voted to accept Israel’s accession to the OECD.

It includes the EU countries that continue business as usual with Israel under the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

It includes Mercosur countries who are in the process of ratifying their free trade agreement with Israel.

It includes India which has turned from a world leader of the non-aligned nations to the second largest importer of Israeli weapons, “field-tested” on Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

It includes the Egyptian and other autocratic Arab regimes that have aided in maintaining the siege or failed to contribute to ending it.

Turkey cannot ignore its own share of the blame, in fact. By speaking loudly against Israel while buying Israeli drones field-tested in Gaza and continuing military cooperation with Israel, it has also aided in creating this monster that is now out of control.

It most certainly includes the South African government which has refused to heed the massive calls from civil society there to cut relations with Israel or lead the way in isolating Israeli apartheid.

If for nothing else, the SA government owes this much to the Palestinian people which, along with the Cubans, had led international efforts to support the anti-apartheid movement even much before it became strong and popular.

It includes international artists and writers, including Margaret Atwood, Amitav Ghosh and Elton John, whose “performances’ in Israel — in Sir Elton’s case, still to come — put narrow personal interest ahead of principle, making them accomplices in whitewashing Israeli crimes.

It includes academics who still find excuses to participate in conference held at or sponsored by Israeli academic institutions whose complicity in the state’s occupation, colonization and apartheid are now well documented and beyond any reasonable doubt.

It includes corporations, like Veolia, Alstom, Elbit, Motorola, Caterpillar, Boeing, Intel, Ahava, Agrexco-Carmel, Teva, etc. who directly or indirectly profit from Israel’s colonial oppression and its trampling of Palestinian rights.

It includes faith-based organizations, civil society associations and unions that still invest their pension and other investment funds in companies violating human rights and international law.

It includes the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and other unions that have joined the Histadrut in effectively justifying and whitewashing Israel’s latest atrocity.

BDS is about ending ALL these forms of complicity. As we learned from South Africa, only thus can we beat the beast.

Omar Barghouti
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

download document from Omar Barghouti May 31 2010 on BDS-related responses to Israel’s freedom flotilla massacre.

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