Earlier this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state of New York would stop doing business with anyone who supports the anti-Israeli BDS movement. In effect, Cuomo pledged to boycott anyone who boycotts Israel.
In today's Seeker Daily report, Jules Suzdaltsev looks into the history and purpose of the growing BDS movement.
First off, that acronym: BDS stands for "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions" and it's a global campaign to increase economic and political pressure on the nation of Israel to change certain policies. The goal of the movement is to hold Israel accountable for alleged human rights and international law violations in regard to the Palestinian conflict.
The campaign is similar to the 20th-century divestment movement to end apartheid in South Africa. The BDS movement has three stated goals: It wants Israeli to end its occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights; to grant full equality to Arabic and Palestinian nationals; and to acknowledge the Palestinian right of return cause.
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Primarily, the BDS movement pursues these goals by organizing demonstrations and boycotts against companies that do business with the Israeli government or military. Movement leaders also target any companies that have a direct interest or presence in the controversial Israeli settlements.
The BDS movement also pressures other world governments to levy sanctions on Israel, focusing on military partnerships, economic trade agreements and diplomatic relations. Today the BDS movement is endorsed by more than 170 international pro-Palestinian organizations. While the BDS campaign has had increasing success in the private sector, no country has yet to implement official sanctions against Israel.
Still, the BDS movement is definitely gaining momentum in recent years. In 2014, the influential publication The Economist acknowledged that the movement had earned significant mainstream support. Several major banks have begun to liquidate their holdings in Israel and some larger corporations have canceled contracts with Israel -- all in direct reaction to pressure from the BDS campaign.
-- Glenn McDonald
BDS: Palestinian BDS National Committee
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