Thanks to Nada Elia for her article “A Turning Point in the US Solidarity Movement” (16 September 2009) and for her important role in cogently laying out the rationale for engaging in cultural and academic boycotts of Israeli institutions during the 8th Annual National Organizers’ Conference of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
Indeed, as Elia states, we broke new ground at this conference by voting to expand the scope of our boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) work to encompass both cultural and academic boycotts of Israeli institutions and campaigns against Israeli corporations profiting from occupation and apartheid. Up until this conference, the US Campaign focused its BDS efforts on confronting US corporations that profit from Israeli occupation and apartheid. While this expanded commitment is new, the US Campaign’s commitments to BDS and organizing within an anti-apartheid framework are longstanding.
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation actually began an early BDS campaign in 2002, with the creation of our Divestment Task Force during the US Campaign’s first year of existence. We endorsed the Palestinian civil society call for BDS campaigns shortly after it was issued in 2005, and within one month had chosen Caterpillar as the first BDS priority for the coalition. And in 2007, we voted to add to our work a new BDS campaign against Motorola during our 6th Annual National Organizers’ Conference.
In 2006 we adopted the anti-apartheid framework to shape all of our work challenging Israeli policy towards Palestinians. This has resulted in the US Campaign producing numerous educational materials about Israeli apartheid and a major national anti-apartheid speaking tour in 2008 featuring Diana Buttu, former Palestine Liberation Organization legal advisor, and Eddie Makue, Secretary General of the South African Council of Churches.
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has been and will continue to be committed to the Palestinian civil society call for BDS and to opposing Israeli apartheid policies toward Palestinians. For additional information about our BDS and anti-apartheid work, please visit our website at: http://www.endtheoccupation.org.
David Wildman and Amie Fishman
Co-Chairs, Steering Committee
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation