Before we start talking about it, we need to know what boycott actually means. A boycott is a nonviolent act of expression towards a person, organisation, or a country by not dealing with them either by buying or selling services or products in exchange.
So why are we talking about boycotts now? Did something happen all of a sudden?
Well yes, have you heard about the BDS movement by The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) that calls for a boycott of Israeli and international companies that are complicit in violations of Palestinian rights? That movement has made Israel spend millions and millions of dollars just in the US to get the decision makers to have bills set up that go against anything that makes the boycott a reality. They are trying all they can to even have people suspended from their workplaces if they are caught supporting the movement. Imagine, first you take over a country and call it your own, and then you go to the US and start dictating your own laws.
So again, does boycott help?
Yes, it does. I import various Palestinian products and have a strong knowledge of how things work when it comes to purchasing one product over the other. When you go for a certain brand from Palestine, it’s first of all extremely difficult to find “100% palestinian” but only certain brands are known to be of that, especially those from Jericho, like Yaffa which is run by Palestinians. Since we are talking about dates, stay away from King Solomon dates, as they are 100% Israeli product.
According to the authors of a UN report, BDS was a key factor behind at 46% drop in foreign direct investment into Israel in 2014 compared to 2013. The World Bank partially attributed a 24% drop in Palestinian imports from Israel to boycott. Reports by the Israeli government and the Rand Corporation have predicted that BDS could cost the Israeli economy billions of dollars.
Major European companies Veolia, Orange and CRH have all exited the Israeli market after high profile campaigns over their complicity with Israeli violations. Veolia sold its businesses in Israel and ended its role in infrastructure projects for illegal Israeli settlements after boycott campaigners persuaded local councils to drop Veolia from public contracts worth at least $20bn.
What can you do to make a mark?
Well, instead of that question, what would you want me to do if you were the subject of humiliation day and night, stopped at checkposts every few meters, your family was killed, your home destroyed and you were just a walking body without any rights or identity at all. Would you not be wondering why is a certain country prospering and everyone is watching it grow, while you are being pushed to a corner to die?
Let me guide you as to what you can do to make a mark in this whole campaign. What you can do first of all is to talk with the decision makers in your city/country. Talk to various shops, shopping centers and those responsible for bring in products from other countries. For example, to get Israeli products blocked from your neighborhood, look for fruits and vegetables, check their labels, and when unsure, talk to those importing them or buying them. If no one buys the products, they will feel it where it hurts.
Remember that the Palestinian issue is not a religious issue anymore, it’s a humanitarian issue that has turned a country that was given the land of someone else into an apartheid state. Don’t forget that not everyone in Israel is evil, and we can definitely say the same about Palestine where over 50% of the population is small children. Ever wonder how come? Well, when you kill their fathers, what else do you expect?
So start campaigning, and make a difference!