Two Jewish-American women displayed a controversial “Boycott Israel” banner at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem on Tuesday. For Jews, the Wailing Wall, otherwise known as the Kotel or Western Wall, is one of the most sacred holy sites in the world. The banner declared: “American Jews Support BDS”. Additional placards read “#BoycottIsrael” and “Praying for an end to the Israeli Occupation”.
The Jewish women, Ariel Gold of New York and Ariel Vegosen of Californi) both belong to the human rights organziation, CODEPINK. According to a statement released by CODEPINK, the purpose of the action “was to express Jewish opposition to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and endorse the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as a nonviolent strategy to bring about a just peace in Palestine and Israel”.
“We know that the root cause of the [Israeli-Palestinian] violence is Israel’s occupation, dispossession, and violence against the Palestinian people and that America’s financial and political support is instrumental in allowing this to continue,” said one of the Jewish-American activists, Ariel Gold, following the action.
“We support of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) as a nonviolent strategy to bring about a just peace and full equality for all people in Palestine and Israel. We call on all people to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and boycott Israel until Palestinians have equal rights and occupied lands are returned by Israel.”
Gold and Vegosen were in Israel-Palestine for a week long CODEPINK delegation to the West Bank to participate in the Palestinian olive harvest . During their delegation, along with helping Palestinian farmers with their olive harvest, the group witnessed Israel’s apartheid system of different roads, services, and laws for different people. They experienced major restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement, the massive growth of illegal Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land, and numerous human rights abuses against Palestinians.
Israel/Palestine is currently experiencing a serious escalation of violence to which Palestinians are bearing the brunt of the casualties, injuries and arrests. From October 1 until now, Israeli forces have killed at least 78 Palestinians and injured an estimated 2,500 including unarmed protesters. At least nine Israelis have been killed. CODEPINK recognizes that the occupation is the root cause of all of the violence currently been seen in Palestine and Israel.
According to BDS South Africa, there is a growing number of Jewish-Americans, Jewish South Africa as well as Jewish Israelis who are increasingly critical of Israel’s oppressive policies against the indigenous Palestinians and who support the non-violent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign. They follow in the footsteps of Beyers Naude, Joe Slovo, Ruth First and other white South Africans who opposed Apartheid South Africa’s oppressive policies during the 1980s. VOC