The following statement was issued by the Boycott National Committee:
Occupied Palestine, 31 March 2012 – Supporters of Palestinian rights across the world have taken action in support of the campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law to mark Palestinian Land Day on March 30.
Land Day, the day of Palestinian resistance in commemoration of the killings during the 1976 protests against Israeli land confiscation, was marked in Palestine with demonstrations and marches on Jerusalem. In addition to the Global March to Jerusalem, the day saw international mobilization for the fourth annual BDS Global Day of Action. Over 50 actions took place in 23 countries.
Just days before Palestinians marched on Jerusalem to protest against Israel’s illegal annexation and closure of the occupied city, campaigners in Hastings, UK, announced that they had successfully pressured local government officials to exclude Veolia from a public tender. Veolia helped to construct and now operates the Jerusalem Light Rail, a key infrastructure project in support of the Israeli colonisation of occupied East Jerusalem. Veolia has lost more than US$13 billion in contracts following BDS campaigns around the world and has been forced to admit the financial damage the campaign is causing it.
The Day of Action took place against a backdrop of inspiring resistance and hunger strikes from Palestinian political prisoners. In Denmark and Sweden, meetings were held and actions were taken on Land Day in support of the campaign against G4S, the private security company that is contracted to provide equipment to Israeli prisons.
Other highlights included:
- A letter published by leading UK actors, directors and writers in The Guardian challenging a prominent theatre over its invitation of the Israeli National Theatre
- The announcement that National Movímíento Estudíantíl Chícan@ de Aztlán (M.E.Ch.A), the largest association of Latino youth in the US, voted to support BDS in a landslide ballot. March 30 is also annual César Chávez Day, which honours the inspiring American civil rights, Latino and farm labour leader who mobilized for the rights of the oppressed using boycotts and other tactics.
- A Twitter action which saw the hashtag #BDSIsrael trend globally for more than an hour and an online call for @Macys to drop the sales of Israeli settlements products Ahava and SodaStream.
- Actions at retailers that stock Israeli goods across Australia, France, Germany, the UK, the US
- Street theatre and BDS shout-outs in Ireland, Australia and Poland and BDS banners on demonstrations across the world
These actions show once again the truly global growth of the BDS movement and its effectiveness to hold Israel accountable for persistent violations of international law and oppression of the Palestinian people.
During the week leading up to the Day of Action, Africa’s largest trade union federation – ITUC-Africa – representing 15 million workers from 56 African trade union federations in 45 countries passed a resolution calling for the “active participation and intensification of the implementation of the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, including a boycott of Israeli goods and the immediate ending of diplomatic relations between African countries and Israel.”
BDS hit the mainstream in the US when the New York Times and other large media outlets reported on the Park Slope food co-op vote on BDS, a major Norwegian retailer announced a decision to stop selling products from illegal Israeli settlements and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd spoke of his support for the World Social Forum Free Palestine, due to take place in Brazil in November 2012.
The Day of Action followed the largest ever Israeli Apartheid Week, an annual series of events at universities that raise awareness of the analysis of Israel as an apartheid state and builds the BDS movement. IAW took place in 116 cities around the world, including in Palestine and across the Arab world.