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Green Is The New Black

OPINION: #FreePalestine: Palestinian history, present and what you can do to help

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Palestine green is the new black

The #FreePalestine movement has been front and centre over the past few weeks. Its regained momentum because of viral videos and a growing, international social media campaign. More and more are standing in solidarity with Palestinians. Whether you’ve been following or not, here’s a deep dive into what’s going on. We touch on Palestinian history, the present situation and, as always, a list of resources and actionables. Because we need to carry this momentum forth towards Palestinian liberation from oppression.


Palestinian history and present, an introduction

Before diving into and analysing what’s happening today, it’s worth at least contextualising the Palestinian movement. For that, the author has turned to a condensed version of Palestinian history: the DecolonizePalestine website’s introductory articles. The author has also further condensed this condensed version down into a Google Doc for the convenience of readers. But the author recommends a full read on the original website. (Additionally, the author and this article does not claim to be an expert nor an authoritative source on the Palestinian question. The author defers to Palestinians—a list of Palestinian accounts are below—for this. And the author welcomes corrections on any and all factual errors and/or problematic misinterpretations. Please reach out via Instagram if you have any concerns.)

In case you have questions on the reliability of the source, here are a few notes. The website, run by two Palestinians living in Ramallah, is independently created. They produced the content after over a year of dedicated research and writing. As far as objectivity and neutrality go, the information is objective, but not neutral. As they explain: “There is a common misconception, that in order to be objective you need to be neutral. Having two points of view does not automatically mean that both points of view are equally legitimate or based in reality, or that the truth has to be located somewhere in the middle.”

“For example, you can of course bring two opposing sides to discuss if climate change is real or not, but treating them both as equally valid and of equal worth when one is backed by scientific consensus and the other isn’t is not a fair and balanced representation of reality.” Thus: “Similarly, Israeli colonialism and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is an objective fact. Maintaining a neutral position on this war crime is not only immoral but enables Israel to commit further heinous acts in the future. Therefore, we take a very clear position: For the liberation of Palestine. However, all of our information and sources are objective and based on rigorous academic scholarship and testimonies.”

And again, it bears repeating: what you will be reading is a condensed version of an incredibly wealthy resource. This Google Doc will provide the context you will need for understanding what’s happening today. But the reading doesn’t stop here. For further reading, there’s a list of additional resources listed below at the end of the article. 


What’s happening today?


Sheikh Jarrah

The Palestinian movement (re-)gained worldwide attention two weeks ago. Why? Because of viral videos of Palestinian families being illegally evicted by Israeli settlers, enabled by the Israeli courts. (If you haven’t seen the viral explanation video by Subhi Taha yet, he breaks the situation down simply here.) What seems to be a one-off case, however—especially for those who have never been exposed to (the truth of) Palestinian history—is actually a repeated pattern. It’s also a symptom and continuation of the Israeli state’s settler colonialism and ethnic cleansing. 

As one resident of Sheikh Jarrah, Lucy Garbett, who’s also a researcher at the London School of Economics and Social Science based in Jerusalem, explains in her account for The Guardian, it’s not just a “real estate dispute”. Garbett speaks of a Sheikh Jarrah today that “smells of dirty socks and rotting flesh. Israeli police vehicles, known as “skunk trucks”, have been spraying Palestinian homes, shops, restaurants, public spaces and cultural institutions with putrid water at high pressure. The water causes vomiting, stomach pain and skin irritation, and was originally developed by an Israeli company to repel protesters.” 

“Protestors” is a term that hardly encapsulates what’s going on. In fact, it might be misleading. These Palestinians are protesting harassment from settlers and police for simply living in their homes, as Garbett explains. And the reason why it’s not just about “real estate” is because Sheikh Jarrah is a microcosm of life in Jerusalem. What does that life look like? Full of discriminatory policies—including maintaining a ratio of Jews to Arabs in the city, which the Israeli state reduced from 70:30 to 60:40. And settlers, extremists, and the government that enact them, legally or otherwise. 

Since 1967, the Israel state has stripped an estimated 14,500 Palestinians of their residency status. While the state steals their homes right in front of their eyes, “Israeli mobs with police complicity march in the streets chanting “death to Arabs”,” Garbett notes. “Palestinians are enduring erasure, marginalisation and displacement, and they are prevented from the basic right of returning to their original homes and properties.” This is what they’re protesting.


Bombing in Gaza

More alarmingly, however, you’ve probably seen the escalation of events happening on social media. According to Al Jazeera’s live updates, from May 10th to May 18th alone (i.e. the past week), we’ve seen 217 killed (including 63 children), 1,500 injured, 58,000 displaced and over 500 homes destroyed in Gaza, via Israeli air and ground strikes. In Israel, the numbers are 12 killed (including 2 children) and 564 injured. This is not a numbers game. And certainly, Israeli citizens are suffering too. But the attacks on Palestinians, in light of the ongoing ethnic cleansing and oppression that’s defined recent Palestinian history, are inhumane and downright cruel. 

This is especially so when we consider the most recent update on the situation. Israel struck Gaza’s limited health services. It’s left hospitals “badly struggling” and destroyed Gaza’s only COVID testing laboratory. Israel justifies this by saying, first, that fighters with militant groups rely on civilian hospitals for treatment. And that second, the Hamas government runs the ministry of health in Gaza. They further say that Hamas has used medical facilities as a cover for its activities. But international humanitarian law protects medical facilities. And in any case, no one should be bombing medical facilities. Especially considering the current circumstances. As reporter Nora Barrows-Friedman tweets: “Israel [has bombed] the streets leading to al-Shifa hospital, Gaza’s main trauma center. Which has already been operating at unbearable levels of distress during the fucking pandemic. Chronic lack of supplies, including meds and anesthetics. And now this.” 

This, by the way, comes after the bombing of a tower block in Gaza City housing the offices of the Associated Press and Al Jazeera. Unsurprisingly, this has been decried “an attack on press freedom”. Such an attack is also in violation of international humanitarian law. International law also protects journalists, like hospitals and medical staff. (There’s a bigger statement to be made here about how the Israeli state and military are afraid of the press—showing that speaking truth to power is powerful—but more on that later.)

Further, it’s the Israeli state that is conducting attacks on Palestinian citizens. Whereas there is no such Palestinian state doing so on Israelis. The most recent round of attacks on Gaza have been “unusually brutal”. And analysts on the ground say that the middle class is being hit far harder than in previous rounds. They also say that this is a tactic, to push influential Palestinians to pressure Hamas to stop firing rockets towards Tel Aviv. This brings us to a wider discussion that must be had on Hamas, and again, the reality of the history of attacks on Palestinians.

First, to clarify: what is Hamas? Hamas, otherwise known as the “Islamic Resistance Movement”, is a Palestinian Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist, militant, nationalist organisation. Hamas emerged soon after the first Intifada. And in 2006, it won the Palestinian legislative election, eventually becoming the de facto governing authority of the Gaza Strip. Several countries, most notably the US and Israel, consider Hamas a terrorist organisation. There is little information out there about Hamas, and the extent to which Palestinians support Hamas—there is this one popular tweet that says “the majority of Palestinians are not Hamas”—but there’s a bigger conversation to be had here about the Hamas talking point. 


Leila Khaled palestine green is the new black

IMAGE: via @theslowfactory | IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A still from “Hijacker” (2006) a documentary on Palestinian liberation fighter Leila Khaled by Lina Makboul, here they are doing a sit-down interview; subtitles on screen read “As far as I’m concerned, occupation is terrorism”


Media bias

Often, as American investigative journalist and founding editor of The Intercept, Jeremy Scahill notes, people bring up Hamas attacks to say that “Israel has a right to self-defense […] to give Israel a shield of impunity and to justify its crimes against humanity.” And yet, “anyone who speaks of the horrors meted out against the overwhelmingly defenseless Palestinians is presented with a demand to denounce the firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel. It is an effort to “both sides” what is an asymmetric campaign of terror waged by a nuclear power against a people who have no state, no air force, no navy, and an almost nonexistent civilian infrastructure.”

Scahill further writes: “There are Palestinian activists and citizens who have spoken out against Hamas and made the case that its actions hurt the Palestinian cause of liberation and aid the propaganda campaign waged by Israel and its powerful allies. These voices must be heard, for they have the absolute moral right to decide the tactics of their resistance because they live with its consequences. But Western journalists, analysts, politicians, and commentators who obsess exclusively over Hamas’s actions while ignoring, minimizing, or justifying the overwhelmingly disproportionate bombardment and displacement being waged by Israel are playing defense for the war crimes of a nation state against a destitute and abused population.”

There are a few critical points here Scahill is making. The first is that it’s inappropriate for us—onlookers, witnesses, the international community—to make a moral judgement on whether or not Hamas is right. That’s for the Palestinians themselves to speak out about. The second point is perhaps more important. And it’s that it is disturbing that the media chooses to play up the Hamas angle… when they’ve downplayed the history of the Israeli state’s (war) crimes, and continue to report one-sidedly even today. 

That one-sided reporting is why some people might have heard about the Hamas rockets. Without hearing about the original “source” of the current violence. As American author and prominent thinker Shadi Hamid notes for The Atlantic: the source of the current violence was a heavy-handed police raid at Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque, “during the final days of Ramadan and at such a sensitive site”. Yet, there was only “minimal coverage in mainstream outlets”. Hamid rightfully points out, “The tragedy, upon other tragedies, is that the world seems to pay attention to Palestinians only when they use violence. Nonviolent activism goes largely ignored.”

There’s other evidence too of the media bias in terms of reporting. If you’ve been following social media, you’ve probably been seeing the ongoing exposé of poor coverage of the Palestinian movement. (If you’ve not, here’s a snippet of the most viral posts on this issue. This New York Times headline and this other New York Times headline, this New York Times commentary, this interview by CNN and this interview by the BBC). This links back to what Scahill was explaining about how the media is trying to “both sides” a “conflict” that really doesn’t have two sides. (The paradox here is that the media, in trying to “both sides” this struggle, is really being quite one-sided in its approach.) 

As this Instagram post calls out: Anglo-Western media routinely omits the status of Israel as occupier and Palestinians as occupied. And the international law that Israel violates. And the international consensus that declares Palestinians’ right to return. This is the failure of media production processes that follow an operative definition of journalistic “objectivity” as merely presenting two sides without overtly taking sides. When, again, one side is clearly more powerful, historically and presently, than the other. (The fact that Palestinians have no state nor army in itself should be enough to explain why this is so.) This media bias, as the post explains, only serves Israeli interests. Which is to perpetuate the conflict and expropriate more Palestinian land, using “ongoing” violence “of Palestinians” as the pretext. The confusion of the international community because of episodic media is extra convenient in this regard. 

Thankfully, however, with the increasing call-outs by the international community via social media, media platforms are becoming more sensitive and accurate, as this Instagram guide notes. This demands a wider discussion about how, firstly, us merely talking about Palestine and amplifying the right voices helps. And secondly, how social media helps in this movement. But more on that later. For now, it’s important to remember that to attempt to “both sides” a struggle is not only doing a disservice to speaking truth to power, it is also harmful and insidious. Even more so, when the ones attempting to “both sides” this are mainstream media outlets—and quite recently, celebrities (most notably Rihanna)—who have immense power. 


“Violence isn’t the answer”?

Relatedly, the confusion that comes about from media bias, worsened by the idea that we should always understand “both sides” equally, has been used by people who don’t understand the history of the Palestinian movement to claim that violence isn’t the answer. In other words, these are people, who aren’t Palestinians, making a judgement on how Palestinians should respond to their oppression. Putting aside the facts, who are we to be policing how the oppressed fight back? 

As Scahill puts very plainly: “Anyone who asks “But what about Hamas’s rockets?” has a moral obligation to put themselves in the shoes of the Palestinians of Gaza and do some very serious soul-searching.” (It’s worth also reading this Twitter thread, which asks us to think more critically. With Palestinians facing unending violence, every day in various forms, and not being heard unless the violence surges, what other answer is there? Indeed, as political philosopher Frantz Fanon wrote, decolonisation is always a violent phenomenon.)  

Further, what is the effect of us policing Palestinians? What does it actually add to the conversation? In saying “violence isn’t the answer”, considering our positionality, what are we really doing? Perhaps a better way to understand this is to ask the reverse. What are we not saying? What are we not doing? As Instagram user @valentine2fine shared on their Instagram story in response to, and echoing, this tweet: “Every time you say “violence isn’t the answer” to people being killed and oppressed and disenfranchised, you support and endorse the violence of the underlying systems that create these scenarios.” 

In other words, instead of speaking out against the oppression of the Palestinians, which we could be doing, and should be doing—in fact, solidarity is just about the least we could do right now—we’re choosing, by saying “violence isn’t the answer” not to stand against the disproportionate amount of violence that the Palestinians have had to put up with over the past few decades. Instead, what we could be doing is condemning the violence of the Israeli state. And standing with Palestinians to free Palestine. (We can say the same about those adopting positions like “I am not “against” either side”. Neutrality in this case harms. Because history plainly lays out the truth. There is the oppressor and there is the oppressed. And further so because the history has been, and continues to be, covered and muddled up for so long.)

To be clear, all of this is not to say whether or not Hamas rockets are “right” or not. As Sachill says, it’s not up to us to say either way. But rather, it is to say that first: we should not be policing the reactions of the oppressed. And that second: if we’re going to say something about the Palestinian movement, as the international community, we shouldn’t be falling into the biased media’s trap of Hamas and militant reactions. Instead, we should be speaking truth to power. We should be speaking about the Israeli state’s historic and continued oppression and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Truths which the international community continually fail to understand. And why is that so? Here’s why… 


Why aren’t more people talking about it?

For one, there’s a claim that the story is too complex for most to understand. The claim has actually made people unwilling to learn about the history of Palestine. And worse, unwilling to take a stand on what’s happening. Indeed, people frame most topics as complex to commence deepened entry into the topic. But when it comes to Palestine? The claim that it’s too complex “is almost never the beginning of a quest for more knowledge and better learning.” 

Yet, as seen from the historical retelling mentioned earlier, the Palestinian question, according to those who created the Decolonize Palestine website, “is a remarkably simple story of settler-colonialism and resistance to it”. Climate justice and human rights non-profit organisation Slow Factory echoes this sentiment, in a viral Instagram post that opens with this. “What is happening in Palestine is not complicated; it’s settler colonialism and ethnic cleansing.”

(Relatedly, another claim that has added to the confusion is the claim that concerns religion. People who perpetuate this claim perceive the Palestinian question as a question about religion. To this, the creators of the website say that the “holy war” talking point is a sign of a person being misinformed or purposefully misleading. The point is, the Palestinian struggle is a result of “settler colonialism infused with reactionary ethno-nationalism, both relatively new concepts originating in the last couple of centuries.” Any other lens would produce a flawed understanding of the facts on the ground. And distract from what we need to talk about—liberation from oppression.) 


palestine edward said green is the new black

IMAGE: @parari_muhsin | IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A quote by Palestinian-American cultural critic, public intellectual, founder of the academic field of postcolonial studies, Edward Said, in text form here


Back to the first claim about complexity… Of course, it is complex to some degree. That’s why there are entire books on the subject. And we shouldn’t be rushing to take a stand because we feel pressured to do so. That would be performative activism, and it’s not helpful to the Palestinian liberation movement, nor activism in general. However, we also need to note that “the claims of exceptional complexity are often employed in an effort to obfuscate the reality on the ground and limit discussion”, This is discussion that needs to be happening… not least because talking about it matters and actually seems to be helping.  

Indeed, as noted earlier, the narrative around Palestine is changing. Social media accounts pushing back against headlines and interviews is making mainstream media more cautious. Amani al-Khatahtbeh, activist and founder of online platform Muslim Girl, tweets loud and proud: “For the first time mass media can’t control the narrative around Palestine. No one can hide the abuse from social media. Our phones have become our biggest weapons. The power is shifting right before our eyes.” 

It’s worth noting also that the Israeli state certainly is watching. It is becoming afraid of the power of social media. As this tweet points out: “Israel is running a whole social media PR campaign w multiple accounts dedicated to justifying their attacks. that + their pm mentioning twt by name a couple days ago means they’re threatened.” The official Twitter account of Israel has also even resorted to cyberbullying Bella Hadid, who has spoken up at length for Palestinians. If that’s not evidence of social media being powerful, then what is?  

So, in the balance, we need to hold both. That we don’t want people, the international online community, posting without thinking or without putting in the effort to learn about the movement. But also that we need people to do those things if they can, because these efforts do help the movement. (Oh, and especially so in light of the ongoing online censorship of Palestine, across Big Tech platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Instagram’s censorship, by the way, is happening simultaneously with the launch of the pronouns feature on the app… which should serve as a reminder that these platforms have a long way to go with true activism.)  


How should we talk about it?

If you’ve followed social media accounts recently, there’s been quite a bit of talk about how to be more sensitive about the issue. Here are a few things to note. And when in doubt, look towards those speaking up for guidance. (Again, there are resources below.) 


Using the right terminology

We’ve highlighted this earlier already, but it bears repeating. One of the biggest concerns is the way the Free Palestine movement is framed. Specifically, it’s framing as a “conflict”, which, again, doesn’t express the struggle accurately. As the creators of the Decolonize Palestine website clarify, the term “conflict” “holds within it connotations of symmetry, of two conflicting and equal parties, rather than a case of an indigenous population resisting colonial dispossession and ethnocide”. 

To be absolutely clear, let’s make note of the reality of the Palestinian movement being one against settler colonialism. It is “a case of foreign settlers seizing land to construct an exclusivist ethnocracy at the expense of the natives”. Settler colonialism, by its definition, is unequal. There is the oppressor, and there is the dispossessed. (Read more about the concept of settler colonialism here.) Hence, we shouldn’t speak about the Palestinian struggle and movement without understanding and noting this basic fact. 


Avoiding anti-Semitism

We must remember that one very important point to note is that it is absolutely possible to speak out against the violence of the Israeli state on Palestinian peoples without being anti-Semitic. For one, when speaking up about the history of Palestine, speak specifically about Zionism. The Zionism that led to the creation of the Israeli nation-state, which came at the expense of Indigenous Palestinians. Being anti-Zionist is not anti-Semitic. Not all Jews are Zionists! Be careful not to conflate. Secondly, when speaking about the Israeli state or government’s crimes, don’t equate its crimes to that of the Jewish people. We can speak against Israel without discriminating against Jews. 

This is especially important because Jews have been historically and systematically persecuted. They continue to face discrimination today all around the world. In standing against Zionists, against Israel, we must stand with Jews. Not against them. Palestinian liberation leaders, advocates and activists have been able to do so. (On that note, there are Jewish groups who are actively working towards the liberation of and justice for Palestinians. Two notable ones are Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow. So again, it bears repeating: don’t be anti-Semitic.) 


Why should we care?

In the words of the creators of the Decolonize Palestine website: “The liberation of all oppressed peoples should always be “relevant” to people of conscience.” While we should absolutely normalise not having to “relate to” or see ourselves in the oppression of other peoples—we should be able to care regardless—it is worth noting that, as the creators write “the same imperialism oppressing Palestinians in Palestine is also oppressing you at home. The same forces of colonialism, supremacy, patriarchy and capitalistic exploitation that committed genocide against the natives, and repressed social justice and liberation movements all over the world are still alive and well, and are always looking for ways to maintain the status quo.”

This is what is meant by internationalist solidarity. As defined by the international organisation and progressive left-wing global front Progressive International: internationalism is “a strategy for survival, for salvation, and for victory over the forces of reaction everywhere”. Slow Factory further explains: “In the movement for global liberation, internationalism recognizes that the freedom of the other is bound in our own freedom, and vice versa. It mandates us to join forces and act as a united front to dismantle the systems of oppression and white supremacy.” 

Further, as mentioned earlier, the global movement working to rewrite the narrative? To push back against the false stories and propaganda we have been told about Israel and Palestine? Our effort matters. As the creators highlight: “If the Palestinian question was truly something in the past, there would not be so much effort on part of Israel to censor and penalize solidarity actions, such as the BDS campaign all over the world.” If international solidarity doesn’t matter, then Israel wouldn’t be cracking down on social media posts that are in solidarity with the freeing of Palestine. 

Haven’t ever cared or shown up before? Now is as good a time as ever to start.


What can we do?

If you’ve been researching the Palestinian movement, then you’ve definitely heard of the BDS movement. (Which, by the way, most Palestinian civil society and the general Palestinian populace support.) BDS stands for Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS). It’s a non-violent campaign started in 2005, by over 170 Palestinian NGOs, unions and civil society groups. Its aim? To protect and fight for Palestinian rights. Through applying international pressure on Israel, until it complies with international law. 


The three demands of the BDS movement

The movement is pushing for Israel to meet three demands. First: ending its occupation and colonisation of all Arab lands (the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Syrian Golan Heights). And dismantling the Wall. (Israel claims the Wall would only prevent Palestinians without permits from entering Israel from the West Bank. However, today, it’s helping Israel further violate multiple human rights of Palestinians living on either side of the Wall. “Among other things,” Israeli human rights group B’Tselem writes, “it curtails their freedom of movement, consequently impinging upon their rights to work, education, medical care, family life, earning a living and an adequate standard of living. The Palestinians’ collective right to self-determination is also violated, as the winding route of the barrier cuts into Palestinian space and breaks up the population living there.”)

The second: recognising the fundamental rights of Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality. A fifth of Israel’s citizens are Palestinians. And as explained earlier, discrimination by law impacts every aspect of their lives. Further, as is happening right in front of our eyes, the government continues to forcibly displace Palestinian communities in Israel from their land. And the final demand: respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties. There are now over 7.25 million Palestinian refugees. Because the violent establishment of the Israeli state involved the forced ethnic cleansing and displacement of Palestinian peoples. Today, the Israel state continues to deny their right to return, repeatedly and viciously.


The three actions of the BDS movement

As to the execution, the movement is quite self-explanatory. It has three calls to action. The first is boycotting: refusing to buy, use or participate as a form of protest. It’s often in relation to the goods and services produced by the said company, country, institution, etc. In this context, the movement encourages people to stop buying Israeli products, or engaging with Israeli services. The second is disinvesting: withdrawing investments. In this context, the movement encourages institutions and organisations to sell their stock in companies that profit or benefit from Israeli oppression of Palestinians. Alternatively, the opposite works too. That is, refusing to invest in complicit companies. And finally, sanctioning. This is perhaps the most intense action of the three, as it involves pressuring Israel by limiting or stopping trade, cutting off aid, etc. It may, however, prove to be the most effective form of pressure. 

You may be asking, why this form of campaigning, in this context? The founders of the BDS movement explain. “[S]ince 1948, hundreds of UN resolutions have condemned Israel’s colonial and discriminatory policies as illegal and called for immediate, adequate and effective remedies”. Yet, “all forms of international intervention and peace-making have until now failed to convince or force Israel to comply with humanitarian law”. Hence, the BDS movement seems to be the only way forward. The inspiration for the movement came from the successful BDS against Apartheid South Africa. (See here for the comparison of the Israel state to an Apartheid state by the creators of the Decolonize Palestine website. International NGO Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem have both also come out to call Israeli and Apartheid regime.) 


BDS movement criticism, and its effectiveness

Of course, there have been critiques against BDS, which you can read about here. One of the more harmful misconceptions, however, is that we shouldn’t support BDS because it harms sympathetic Israelis. But as the creators of the Decolonize Palestine website explain: “the BDS movement does not target random Israeli individuals. BDS targets the Israeli government, as well as institutions, organizations and their representatives which are complicit in the repression and dispossession of Palestinians.” 

Is the BDS movement effective? Truthfully, it’s hard to measure the effectiveness of the movement. Because its effects are meant to be non-material. (One study by the RAND corporation estimates that if current trends continue, BDS will escalate in the next decade to cost Israel close to 2% of its GDP. Though they calculated this in opportunity costs rather than direct damage.) But there are signs that there are non-material effects too. These include: changing the branch of government responsible for combating the campaign from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Ministry of Strategic Affairs (which tackle Israel’s national security). Pro-Israel mega donors hosting secret conferences all over the world to ideate and fund strategies to combat BDS. And the existence of Israeli lobbying groups pushing for the criminalisation of BDS in some American states. 

Further, as the creators of the Decolonize Palestine website add, BDS is not, and was not ever going to be, the only strategy. Therefore, the true effectiveness of BDS lies in its ability to raise awareness, and speak truth to power. This is why, according to the official BDS movement’s website, there are five ways you can take action


BDS movement actionables

1. Work with progressive networks to pressure parliaments and governments to end all military-security cooperation, trade, funding etc. with Israel, ban goods and services of companies operating in Israel’s illegal settlements, and demand a UN investigation of the Israel apartheid. (The US, by the way, under the Biden administration, just approved the sale of $735 million in weapons to Israel. Many have written about the US and Israel alignment, under Trump and now under Biden, but we’ll highlight one thing—the fact that like Israel, the US is also a settler colonial state. This funding from the US is just a manifestation of this fundamental truth: that the same structures that oppress Palestinians, oppress people around the world too.)

2. Mobilise pressure in your community, institution or organisation to declare it an Apartheid Free Zone, and ending all relations with apartheid Israel and complicit countries.

3. Personally boycott, and/or mobilise institutional pressure to divest from, Israeli and international companies and banks complicit in Israeli crimes against humanity. Check out the list of companies the movement encourages to boycott here.

4. Cancel academic, cultural, sports and tourism engagements in Israel or supported or sponsored by Israel (or its lobby groups and complicit institutions). 

5. Join a BDS campaign of a strategic Palestine solidarity group near you.

Finally, the movement also calls for the international community to channel your anger and mobilise to dismantle all forms of racism and oppression all over the world. These are intersecting, and constantly reinforcing. We must unlearn to relearn this and work against these forces. Indeed, without doing so, we will all not be free. The sooner we stand in solidarity together and recognise that all oppression stems from the same source, the sooner that collective liberation can arrive. 


Additional actionables and resources

Solidarity with Palestine doesn’t end here. If you can, donate to on the ground efforts. If not, there are non-monetary ways to be in solidarity too. Keep your eyes on Palestine by following voices from the ground, and/or actual Palestinian accounts. Check out @eye.on.palestine, @theimeu, @letstalkpalestine, @landpalestine, and @middleeasteye. Read further about Palestinian history and about the Israeli settler-colonial state. Check out alternative accounts of history here and here. And if you’re curious, read about how it all connects to liberation movements around the world. And don’t forget to read about myths surrounding Palestinian history, and listen and learn about anti-Palestinian talking points.


FEATURED IMAGE: via Unsplash | IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A man waving the Palestinian flag

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Tammy is an environmentalist and social media advocate who believes in thinking bigger and deeper about climate change. She hopes that with her actions, we will all grow to become environmentally conscious citizens (not consumers) with hearts for this beautiful planet we call home.