Gaza Roundup 15: R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to Palestinians

And while you’re at it, remember these other three letters: BDS. They’re short for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Three things the Israeli Knesset is now trying to make illegal, worldwide. Why? Let Palestinian activist Hind Awwad explain:

It took the South African BDS campaign 25 years to achieve what we achieved in five years. That is what South Africans and anti-apartheid activists tell us. And we see [new tactics] of BDS activities by the young generation with flash mobs, actions in supermarkets, dances and songs. It takes the BDS campaign to new levels. A growing number of Palestinian trade unions signed the BDS call [and] trade unions in France, Scotland and Ireland are considering ending their relationship with the Israeli Histradut trade union.

Students are active on campuses in the UK and the US. The students of the University of California at Berkeley made us very proud with their amazing fight for divestment of university funds from General Electric and United Technologies. Palestinian youth in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and in 1948 [historic Palestine] closely followed the events at Berkeley. Another important development is possibly my favorite. Recently, the Israeli Foreign Ministry announced [the cessation of] speaking tours of Israeli officials to the UK and the US, because of the protests they expect.


I think the BDS campaign has done a lot … it has ended the Israeli left’s domination of the discourse which was limited to the occupation, dismissing the rights of Palestinians in Israel and the rights of the refugees. BDS has allowed us to set the terms of the discourse and define our rights. We work towards a complete rights-based solution. It keeps us going. It shows there is hope in the midst of home demolitions, land confiscations, violations of rights and discrimination in Israel. Every victory of the BDS movement feels like we are a step closer. We are not alone in ending the oppression. It has a huge impact.

And that’s why. BDS spells serious. Like all exporter nations, Israel has a lot of money riding on the global goodwill of others. If that goodwill were to evaporate…say, over an unprovoked attack on an international flotilla of peace activists...well, a lot of Israeli producers would find themselves suddenly hurting. Maybe not manufacturers of weapons, which find plenty of tyrannical takers around the globe, but those who turn out other, more mainstream consumer products, such as Jaffa oranges and AHAVA cosmetics, definitely.

And that goodwill is certainly not guaranteed. The world is watching what the Israelis are doing in the wake of the Mavi Marmara murders, and so far, all indications are that they are only serious about one thing, and that’s CYA–short for Cover Yer Ass. Did you know that the Israeli judge who is to chair the panel on the flotilla attack isn’t serious about his own appointed duty? It’s true! All the more reason the international community should be in charge of this one (hello, UN!)–Israel can’t be trusted to do anything even remotely resembling due diligence. They won’t even talk honestly about what weapons they used against the virtually defenceless flotilla. (Yeah, surprise, even “harmless” paintball guns can shoot a person’s eye out at close range, and if a modest-sized passenger ferry like the Mavi Marmara isn’t what you’d call close range, you must be blind.)

In the meantime, the B, D and S all are fully justified. Because where Israel is concerned, for Palestine, there is no R-E-S-P-E-C-T forthcoming.

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