EJJP:s BDS deklaration

European Jews for a Just Peace, 29 January 2010

No Support for the Israeli Occupation! In Defence of International Law and Human Rights: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.

For forty-three years massive land and water confiscation, roadblocks, extrajudicial killings, closures, curfews, and collective punishment have taken place in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, in contravention of international law. Oppression, segregation and humiliation, house demolitions, and the construction of the Annexation Wall in the West Bank and the blockade and war on Gaza determine the daily life of the occupied Palestinian people.

The Israeli government, throughout the years of Occupation, has felt entitled to breach International Law, the Charter of the United Nations (U.N.), and the U.N. Bill of Rights, the Fourth Geneva Convention, and even the decisions of the International Court of Justice with the tacit acceptance of much of the international community.

The U.N. and the international community as a whole have failed to implement any effective sanctions against Israeli breaches of International Law. Citizen action throughout Europe is therefore called for to stop (remove comma after “for”) governments from using double standards and continuing to appease Israel.

The 2010 Annual Meeting of the EJJP

Recalls that:
The fulfilment of the principles of the U.N. Charter requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace between both Israel and the future Palestinian state.

All Member States of the U.N. in their acceptance of the Charter are committed to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter.

The maintenance of an international system of justice, its authority and meaning for the international community requires that Israel must be compelled to end the Occupation.

Israel, as a powerful state occupying the land of another people, is an equal member of the international community and must be held accountable for its policies and actions in the light of accepted international norms, as are all other nations. Any other approach to the State of Israel is discriminatory, selecting it out, without justification, as a special case from all other countries.

For all these reasons we consider the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian land to be an international issue.

We all have a stake in ending it.

We are not willing to accept the blindness of the so called super powers, the indolence of the U.N., the apathy of the “Quartet”, and finally, the indifference of the states of the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

We are not willing to be silent about the fact that the occupying power, Israel, claims to speak for Jews world-wide and to be acting on behalf of our ancestors, many of whom were victims of the Nazi genocide, and supposedly for the sake of all victims of anti-Semitism and racism.

We are not willing to witness passively a policy course that has already caused too many casualties, unbearable destruction, and constant pain.

As European citizens and, hence, believing that Human Rights is the political basis of European civil society, we share the responsibility for peace and justice with our friends and sister organizations in Israel, in Palestine, and in all countries of the international community.

We are determined to take a major stand against the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian territories, i.e. against the course of hatred and hostility that could culminate in a catastrophe - for Palestinians and Israelis.

We are convinced that the Israeli leadership and decision makers, as well as most of Israel’s civil society, have the power to alter the intolerable situation, but are reluctant and/or unwilling to do so. For this reason, it is impossible to end the Occupation without pressure from outside. International non-violent but effective pressure such as the BDS campaign, in support of the Palestinian struggle against the Occupation is a crucial way to break through this deadlock.

The 2010 Annual Meeting of EJJP notes

• The "Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Human Rights" that was launched by representatives of Palestinian civil society in May 2005;

• The Bilbao initiative from 31 October 2008 calling to "raise awareness about and implement the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign against Israel, based on the 2005 Palestinian civil society BDS Call, in a gradual, sustainable manner that is sensitive to context and capacity." with, among others, the explicit aim of "demand the compliance with the 2004 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice – condemning Israel's Wall and colonies built on occupied territory";

• That many Israeli organizations opposing the Occupation have joined the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions including: The Coalition of Women for Peace (New Profile, Woman in Black, Bat Shalom, The Fifth Mother, Machsom Watch, Noga, NELED, TANDI, WILPF, Bat Tzafon), ICAHD (Israeli Committee Against House Demolition), Anarchists Against the Wall, Matzpen (Israel/International), AIC (Alternative Information Center) that are all part of the Boycott from Within movement;

• That several Jewish organizations have joined the BDS campaign including: Not In Our Name (NION - Canada), Palestinian and Jewish Unity (PAJU - Canada), Judar För Israelisk Palestinsk Fred (JIPF- Sweden), Union Juive Francaise pour la Paix (UJFP – France), Jüdische Stimme für einen gerechten Frieden in Nahost (Austria), Union des Progressistes Juifs de Belgique (Belgium), Rete 'Ebrei Contro l'Occupazione (Italy), Jüdische Stimme für einen gerechten Frieden in Nahost (Germany)...;

• That prominent members of the Israeli, Palestinian and International academia and sphere of culture have called for academic and cultural BDS actions.

It declares:

• That the EJJP recognises the value of the BDS call from Palestinian civil society as a useful non-violent tool in its struggle against the Occupation.
• That EJJP joins the BDS to pressure the European Parliament and each European government to live up to their obligations towards International Law and Human Rights.
• That the EJJP decision to join the BDS movement will also provide moral support to the Israeli progressive peace movement that has already largely joined the BDS and will give impulse for wider support to the BDS movement internationally, making BDS an effective tool.
• That the situation in the different countries of Europe varies, so that different country groups of EJJP will need to decide the most appropriate form of BDS actions within the framework of their local/national situation noting that the longstanding call for boycotting products from the Occupied Territories promoted by Gush Shalom and other organizations is also a form of BDS.
• Every specific BDS decision by national groups should be taken after evaluating each specific case. Guidelines for such judgement could follow these criteria:
Against the Occupation or in favour of it?
Against the siege on Gaza or in favour of it?
Oppose settlements and the wall or support them?
Support equal rights for Palestinians inside Israel or oppose them?
Oppose Israeli attacks on Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza 2008/09 or support them?
Representing an official Israeli institution or not?
• That there is nothing anti-Semitic in implementing BDS campaigns against Israel. Indeed we are undertaking such action in the belief that the continuation of the Occupation is destructive for the Israeli people and can endanger Jews all over the world.

That the Federation of the European Jews for a Just Peace will join the BDS campaign.

Suggested Actions

1. We believe that a variety of interwoven measures targeted specifically at the machinery of Occupation and the Israeli military - industrial complex that is linked to it will generally be appropriate. We will work with other organisations in the field and include in our activities actions against:

• the sale of weapons and parts to and from Israel;
• the sale and servicing of equipment for use in the Occupation;
• the training and testing of Israeli military personnel and weapons in any part of the EU;
• training and advice by Israel of police and military personnel from EU countries;
• state and private cooperation with institutions and/or companies that develop military and/or security equipment and/or systems.

2. Divestment from companies supporting the Israeli Occupation directly or indirectly. Working with local, Palestinian and Israeli groups and divestment campaigners to identify appropriate targets such as companies that are engaged in the construction of the Wall and settlements or the destruction of Palestinian homes and land.

3. Campaigning to get importers, wholesalers and retailers not to sell Israeli products that contribute to the Israeli Occupation. Supporting consumer boycotts of such products by publicising a consolidate list in conjunction with Israeli anti Occupation organisations, Palestinian organisations and local solidarity groups, using the EJJP website.

4. Linking with other groups in compiling and updating information and in campaigning for divestment and consumer boycotts. This could help stem the fragmentation of political solidarity campaigns with the Palestinian People.

5. Israeli academic and cultural institutions are mostly state controlled and the vast majority of Israeli intellectuals and academics have either contributed directly to maintaining, defending or otherwise justifying the Israeli Occupation policies, or have been complicit in them through their silence. We urge academics and cultural workers to disassociate themselves from the Occupation and from the Israeli destruction/obstruction of Palestinian cultural, educational and academic infrastructure and institutions to avoid the possibility of boycott.

6. We call for a focus on Jewish donations. We will publicise and condemn any organisation which contributes to the Occupation by calling for donations; act against such activities and we will propagate alternatives. We call for donations and support for institutions and organizations that actively take a stand against the Occupation.

The time has come to translate our criticism of and opposition to the Israeli governments and policies into effective, non-violent actions like the BDS campaign. While the effect may seem symbolic in the first instance, such actions will activate a citizen base which will put pressure on the EU and national governments and Israeli society and government.