Whilst browsing the internet to write a piece on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), today I conveniently found myself staring at a rather new press release; Agrexco, the largest Israeli exporter of fresh produce in illegal settlements had gone into liquidation. This has to be by far one of the best BDS victories, and one that should be celebrated and bragged of. Carmel Agrexco, before its meltdown happened to be the strongest arm of Israel’s economy accounting for 70% of produce exports, with 50% owned by Israeli government, and a revenue of $560 million. Hearing this simply fuels hope for the liquidation of Veolia, the French waste and water company, which has already lost a net of $67.2million providing infrastructure for illegal settlements. It additionally failed to secure a contract with Ealing Council in London, worth £300 million, thanks to dedicated individuals who had several meetings with the council to discourage the apartheid tainted deal.
These are not only great victories of the BDS movement, but solid examples of success, and why boycotting places like Waitrose selling fresh produce labelled ISRAEL on its strawberries, or a red Coca-Cola can with large shares belonging to Zionists, is crucially important. Let this be a reminder for the cynical who dismisses the act of BDS as insignificant for the plight of Palestinians, let this be a reminder for the cynical who argues that BDS is not a solution to the occupation, that it doesn’t tackle the root thus ineffective. Let this be a reminder that boycotting isn’t merely a method to solve the problem but an underlying act of resistance and solidarity. Let this be a reminder that as Palestinian youth continue to throw stones at the occupation, we can slowly carve and depict apartheid’s economy.
BDS is one of the easiest, yet most ignored action against apartheid. Ideally we should be boycotting all American and British- in fact all large bloodsucking corporations, for its destructive Capitalism and military occupation in places like Afghanistan (Starbucks serving troops). BDS actually becomes a small ripple, a little domino effect. Boycotting Israeli goods touches the boycott of these American-Zionist corporations that do exploit children in Coca-Cola factories in Brazil, that do contaminate its waters in India.
For instance, every year Coca-Cola bankrolls the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce Awards which honours companies that have contributed most to U.S.-Israel business relationships by generating both jobs and investment in Israel. Coca-Cola also owns dairy farms in the illegal Israeli settlements of Shadmot Mechola in the Jordan Valley and a plant in the industrial zone of Katzerin in the occupied Golan Heights. It’s pro-Israeli activities are absolutely endless.
Has it become so difficult to say no to ethnic cleansing related consumerism? Has it become so difficult to express some humanity by refusing to buy a ridiculous overpriced cup of Starbucks, a bitter sweet brew of imperialism, occupation, and exploitation, served with whipped cream on top? Are such requests necessities we cannot live without when Caterpillar bulldozers demolish homes at 6am leaving dozens of families homeless? Have we become such consumers shaped by our individualism to the tragic point of indifference, that we cannot show simple solidarity? I often wonder how these luxuries are more powerful than the moral’s it crushes.
“The issue of a principled commitment to justice lies at the heart of responses to the suffering of the Palestinian people and it is the absence of such a commitment that enables many to turn a blind eye to it.” – Desmond Tutu
When Chief Albert Luthulimade a call for the international community to support a boycott of apartheid South Africain 1958, the response was a widespread and dedicated movement that played a significant role in ending apartheid, and in 2010 South Africa collectively launched the BDS campaign. Though it should not be perceived that BDS is just consumer boycotting of the few companies mentioned above. BDS includes a cultural and academic boycott movement recognised globally, with many universities, firms and organisations taking part. Such activity draws attention not only to BDS, but the refusal of being part of the brutal Israeli occupation. BDS is necessary because the international community has failed. Because the Palestinian ‘Authority’ has failed. Because people everywhere continue to fail Palestinians. The basic boycott of Israeli products has become a moral obligation above all.
We must never underestimate small acts done in the name of resistance as empty attempts for justice, for however small, they are victories of humanity’s conscience.