The BDS Movement
On the 9th July 2005, 170 Palestinian civil society organisations, including trade unions, refugee rights associations, charitable organisations, academics and cultural groups, called for an international movement to impose boycotts, divestment and sanctions on the state of Israel. This nonviolent tactic was inspired by a similar boycott campaign that was used against Apartheid South Africa to isolate the then white supremacist government. Similarly, this boycott campaign is aimed at forcing Israel to guarantee Palestinians their inalienable human rights.
Israel’s systematic destruction of the Palestinian economy, its discriminatory and racist laws and its restrictions on freedom of movement and association have a huge impact on the rights and working conditions of Palestinian workers. Palestinian trade unions have long been at the heart of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality. In 2011, Palestinian trade unions came together to issue an appeal for international trade unions to join the BDS movement and form the Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS (PTUC-BDS). Palestinian unions are urging trade unions across the world to launch effective boycott campaigns and to boycott the Histadrut, the Israeli trade union that played a key role Israel’s early colonisation of Palestine and continues to play a vital role in Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.
BDS actions unions can take:
Pass a BDS resolution through your local union branch
Working towards passing a resolution in support of BDS through your local union branch is a great way to build awareness about the struggles of Palestinian workers and the BDS movement. Make sure to spread the word about any resolution that you pass!
Build solidarity links with Palestinian trade unions
Building solidarity links and communication with Palestinian trade unions can make a real contribution to their struggle and help to build support for BDS.
Organise for your union to support a local BDS campaign
Trade unions can put pressure on companies and public bodies and to end their support for Israel’s violations of international law and can play a key role in community BDS campaigning.
Ensure your union observes the boycott
Many trade unions unwittingly source products and services from companies targeted by the BDS movement, such as G4S and HP. Getting your union to publicly announce it won’t deal with such companies can be a powerful way to end corporate complicity with Israeli apartheid.
Campaign for your union to divest from Israeli apartheid
Trade unions that have their own investments or pension funds may be invested in companies targeted by the BDS movement.