I was honored when my dear friend and inspiring colleague Anna Baltzer asked me to write a few words on what the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation means to us in the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee (BNC). As the largest coalition of U.S. organizations working for the comprehensive, UN-stipulated rights of the Palestinian people and towards ending U.S. complicity in Israel’s regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid which denies those rights, the US Campaign is simply the BNC’s most important strategic ally and partner in the U.S.
The widely recognized growth of the BDS movement and its impact across the U.S. today can be largely credited to US Campaign-affiliated organizations and groups. The US Campaign and its affiliates are home to many of the brightest, most principled and sophisticated human rights activists promoting Palestinian freedom, justice and equality in everyday U.S. towns and cities, churches and interfaith groups, in academic associations, on campuses, among cultural workers and far beyond.
In a few days, as we receive the New Year, many of us will look back at 2013 and remember the horrors of Israel's ongoing siege of Gaza; loved ones who were victimized by Israel's relentless belligerence and criminal actions; homes that were demolished; and whole Palestinian communities who were ethnically cleansed and others who are waiting for the all-too-familiar yet still chilling guillotine to fall.
But many of us in the BDS movement will also remember 2013 as the year when Stephen Hawking decided to respect our boycott picket line and boycott a conference in Israel and the Asian-American Studies Association, the American Studies Association, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association and the Association for Humanist Sociology joined the academic boycott of Israel; when SodaStream felt the heat of boycotts and protests worldwide, including by the first U.S. interfaith boycott coalition; when the French company and occupation profiteer Veolia was compelled to both terminate its settlement bus lines services on West Bank apartheid roads and to withdraw from a major project in the U.S. under pressure from a broad coalition of groups in St. Louis, and retirement giant TIAA-CREF divested its own Social Choice Fund from Veolia; and when Students for Justice in Palestine across the U.S. succeeded in passing student council resolutions supporting divestment from companies involved in Israel's occupation and violations of human rights.
In so many of these bright instances, the US Campaign helped provide critical leadership and/or supported its affiliates holding the torch. But the US Campaign cannot continue its work without the support of people like you.
Read more at: http://www.endtheoccupation.org/