The global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights was initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005. BDS is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice.
The campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is shaped by a rights-based approach and highlights the three broad sections of the Palestinian people: the refugees, those under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Palestinians in Israel. The call urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:
Building and strengthening a global BDS movement has become a core aim for many involved in today’s solidarity work for Palestine, including CJPP.
Boycotts can be consumer, sporting, cultural or academic. Boycotts are an important tool in the overall BDS strategy because they generate increased media coverage for the issue, they generate public discussion and debate allowing opportunities to educate and provide better knowledge and understanding of the situation of the Palestinian people. Boycotts make it clear that Israel’s behaviour, in particular its blatant disregard of the norms of international law, is not acceptable. The success of boycotts must be measured against these criteria much more than against any economc impact.
Divestment (or disinvestment) means targeting companies/corporations which are complicit in the Israeli Occupation of Arab lands and ensuring that investments funds, such as university investments or superannuation/pensions funds, are not invested in such companies.
Sanctions are an essential method of demonstrating disapproval of a country’s actions. Sanctions may be implemented at a state, regional or institutional level.
International sanctions are imposed where the UN Security Council (UNSC) has determined the existence of a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or an act of aggression, the UN can decide on measures to be taken to maintain or restore international peace and security. Members of the United Nations are then legally bound to accept and carry out these measures. Those measures that do not involve the use of armed force are known as “sanctions” and can encompass military, trade and diplomatic ties.
The Australian Government also has the option to impose its own “autonomous sanctions” against another state (outside of those measures the Government is obliged to take by virtue of a UNSC resolution). Autonomous sanctions are an independent foreign policy response to situations of international concern. Autonomous sanctions are punitive measures not involving the use of armed force that the Australian Government chooses to take to apply pressure on other states to desist in the repression of human rights and democratic freedoms, or the pursuit of internationally or regionally destabilising policies (such as WMD proliferation), or to prevent regime leaders using Australia as a haven for misappropriated state or other funds. Currently, Australia subjects the countries of Syria, Burma (Myanmar), Fiji, Iran, North Korea, the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Zimbabwe to autonomous sanctions.
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