Israel has killed over 21700 Palestinians since October 7, 2023, in its genocidal campaign in Gaza. Most of the Palestinians martyred include children and women in this massacre. As per reports, almost 92 journalists have also been killed in this recent war between Israel and Hamas. The United Nations and many human rights organizations around the world have called for humanitarian peace in Gaza. However, this appeal has been rejected and vetoed by Israel and the United States respectively. The latter, along with many of its allies, is, unequivocally, supporting Israel’s war crimes in Gaza. As the war is raging on, many international brands, corporations, and companies are also being drawn into it through boycotts due to their political stance in support of Israel. The support of major Western powers to Israel has rendered the people of the world, especially the weak nations, helpless. This led to renewed attention to the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” (BDS) movement.
This movement seeks to pressure Israel financially to end its violation of human rights, follow International law, and accept UN resolutions on the Palestine issue. The movement was established in the year 2005 as a result of the coalition between 170 civil society groups in Palestine. However, its ideological roots are much older as it is inspired by a historical political campaign, the South African apartheid movement. Israel has been violating the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people for decades. It has been involved in forcefully displacing the native people and occupying their homes. Israel has also violated Resolution 194 of the United Nations by denying the Palestinian refugees their right to return to their native homes.
In response to all these atrocities, the BDS movement urges educational, religious, and business companies to cease their operation in Israel until it complies with the UN resolutions and stops its human rights violations in Palestine. For weak nations of the world, the BDS movement provides a viable mechanism to protest and counter the despicable activities of Israel. The boycott part of the movement calls for withdrawing all sorts of support to the apartheid regime of Israel. Thousands of academics and universities around the world have signed agreements supporting the academic boycott of this apartheid state. The movement also urges banks, pension funds, local councils, and churches to withdraw all of their investments from pro-Israel companies and the state of Israel to put economic pressure on it under the divestment campaign. Moreover, the sanctions part of the BDS movement urges international governments to pressure Israel to end its atrocities against the Palestinians by ending all free-trade and military trade agreements with it.
According to international law, Israel has illegally occupied Gaza, the Syrian Golan Heights, and East Jerusalem. Even before the October 7 incident, Israel was involved in violating the fundamental human rights of the citizens of Gaza as they had to pass through numerous security checkpoints and watchtowers. It’s horrible to imagine yourself being monitored, inspected, and harassed every time you visit a nearby market for some routine affairs. Israel is conducting genocide in Gaza under the veneer of its operation against Hamas. However, its indiscriminate bombing in Gaza, especially of hospitals, churches, and several refugee camps, demonstrates that Israel has some other clandestine ambitions behind this operation.
Many experts hold that Israel seeks to occupy Gaza and displace the native people to achieve its economic ambitions. Reports demonstrate that Israel is planning to build the Ben-Gurion Canal around the Gaza Strip to gain hold of the sea route and to decrease the significance of the Suez Canal. This will also be helpful for the United States and other Western allies of Israel as it would decrease their dependence on the Egypt-controlled Suez Canal. Furthermore, Israel also seeks to exploit Gaza’s offshore gas reserves. It will provide billions of dollars of economic benefit to Israel. Israel’s unprecedented atrocities have resulted in the deaths of thousands of children. Reports show that Israel is destroying Gaza at a much faster pace than the carpet bombing of Germany during World War 2.
All this has sparked outrage all around the world. People around the world are protesting against Israel’s massacre in Gaza. They are calling for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. The United Nations has called for a peaceful ceasefire multiple times. However, the United States has vetoed these attempts to pass a resolution for a humanitarian truce in Gaza. Amidst all this situation, the BDS movement provides a great and viable option for the individuals and weak nations of the world to stand against Israel’s genocide in Gaza. People around the world are boycotting pro-Israel brands including McDonald’s, Zara, Starbucks, PepsiCo, KFC, and many other such brands. Recently, Starbucks has faced economic losses of $11 billion due to this boycott. Moreover, McDonald’s is also facing boycott in different countries, which has caused a significant drop in its sales. Consequently, McDonald’s is devising different strategies to uplift its sales. Recently, McDonald’s Pakistan has slashed its prices by 60 percent to increase its sales in the country. Banning international brands that support Israel is also helping in boosting local brands and industries in different countries. People around the world can support Palestinians by pressurizing Israel economically through the BDS movement.
Abbas Hashemite – is a political observer and research analyst for regional and global geopolitical issues. He is currently working as an independent researcher and journalist, exclusively for “New Eastern Outlook”.