As the conflict between Palestine and Israel continues, it seem resistance is growing through targeted boycott campaigns spearheaded by movements such as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). Globally, BDS has been very vocal about their support for the Palestinian people through various initiatives. One specifically aims to mobilise the public to boycott Israeli products in the South African market. The BDS organisation is marking its 11th anniversary this year.
Speaking to VOC, Kwara Kekana of the South African branch said the call to “boycott, divest and impose sanctions” against Israel will be intensified until the Zionist state complies with international law. BDS is modelled on the same tactic used by the anti-apartheid movement, which initiated isolation campaigns through sports boycotts, academic boycotts, cultural boycotts, economic sanctions and military embargoes to seclude South Africa until it complied with the international law.
The anti-apartheid movement took over 40 years; however, the BDS movement has an advantage as they look to the history and lessons of the anti-apartheid movement.
“The benefit of the BDS movement is that one; it is riding off the history and the lessons of the anti-apartheid movement and the tactics of the anti-apartheid movement,” said Kekana.
One of the successful movements were the sport boycotts that took place during the late 1970’s, where South Africa was isolated from almost all the international sporting codes such as cricket, boxing, fencing and the Olympics. This was all due to the unity of the people of the world and the BDS movement is based off the anti-apartheid movement.
BDS globally faces its fair share of issues on a political front. The Israeli regime for one has embarked on a counter strategy called ‘law fare’ where they are using legal action to ban BDS activity. The countries that have banned BDS activity are violating the rights of their people who are given the right to freedom of speech and expression by their constitution, said Kekana.
“The civil panic is an indication that the BDS movement is gaining strength and the kind of victories the BDS movement is achieving every single day is an indication that slowly but surely Palestine will be free,” she said. VOC (Ammarah Qureshi)