BDS For JUSTICE - International Conference on Boycott Divestment and Sanctions held at University of Malaya, Malaysia on Saturday 12 Sep 2015.
About the conference -
For close to 70 years, Israel has been violating the rights of the Palestinians with impunity. Denied their right to freedom and self-determination and subjected to ethnic cleansing and systematic discrimination. Today the world watches in horror at the genocide taking place in Gaza.
But in spite of its glaring brutal oppression of the Palestinians, Israel has hardly been rebuked, let alone held accountable for its crimes against humanity.
This led to a call by Palestinian civil societies to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel or BDS. That was 2005, nearly ten years ago. Today BDS Israel is a global movement, spanning the US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
What are the aims of BDS. Contrary to popular belief, it is more than just economics.
A Campaign of Isolation
BDS sends a clear message to the Israeli government that it is a rogue state not welcome anywhere until it recognizes the Palestinians right to self-determination and fully complies with international laws. It involves isolating Israel culturally, academically and economically.
A Moral Statement
BDS is a moral statement that says, â€œI donâ€™t consume these products because it is morally and ethically wrong.â€ It empowers consumers and reminds them that as individuals they have a choice. It is about standing in solidarity with a people under occupation for more than 60 years.
BDS creates awareness and is a reminder of the long and brutal occupation the Palestinians have been living under. Each time we see the brands or companies targeted, we will remember the occupation.
BDS is about pressuring businesses to cease their relationship or change their business policies with a government that violates the rights of an entire people.
BDS is now a global movement that involves Nobel Laureates, academicians, poets, musicians, artists, award winning journalists. It includes universities, churches, student bodies, businesses and even the government of South Africa. This is a call to stop this bully through peaceful, non-violent means.
Are we strong enough to be effective?
Boycott South Africa started in the 1950s and was the idea of a small group of activists. It took decades but eventually almost the entire world stood united and brought an end to South Africaâ€™s racist government.
Can we do it again?
In unity lies our strength. Do not make the mistake of doing nothing just because we think we can only do little. Just do what we can. Let us each act within our circle of influence.
An International Conference on â€˜Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions for Justiceâ€™ will be held on 12th September 2015 at University Malaya to plan the Malaysian BDS: A Framework of Actionâ€
We invited three icons of the BDS civil movement to share their experience and expertise. They are:
1. Anna Baltzer â€“ Activist & Author for Palestinian Rights, USA
2. Ali Hasan Abunimah â€“ Palestinian American Co-founder of electronic.infitada.net, USA
3. Samah Sabawi â€“ Palestinian/Australian/Canadian Author, Commentator & Playwright
The one day conference will consist of:
a. 2 plenary sessions
b. 1 symposium
c. 5 workshops