In 2005 the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli apartheid, occupation and colonialism started with a call by Palestinian civil society. The initiative is based on the understanding that once the profits Israeli economy reaps from the occupation, a new process of resistance and of change will have started.
ONE OF THE greatest free speech threats in the West is the growing, multi-nation campaign literally to outlaw advocacy of boycotting Israel. People get arrested in Paris — the site of the 2015 “free speech” (for Muslim critics) rally — for wearing pro-boycott T-shirts. Pro-boycott students on U.S. campuses — where the 1980s boycott of apartheid South Africa flourished — are routinely sanctioned for violating anti-discrimination policies. Canadian officials have threatened to criminally prosecute boycott advocates.
Update 4pm 10 May: The Israeli government has confirmed that Omar's "residency is under review by the attorney general". An Interior Ministry spokeswoman told AFP that the Interior Minister is considering Omar's permanent residency status and that “His (BDS) activities are also part of this.” This shows that the measures being taken against Omar are deeply political.
In 2005, a draft, working definition of antisemitism was circulated by the European Union’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). To the dismay of its critics, the document confused genuine antisemitism with criticism of Israel, and was repeatedly, and erroneously, promoted by Israel advocacy groups as the EU definition of antisemitism.
By 2013, the EUMC’s successor body, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), had abandoned the politicised definition as unfit for purpose.
During their National Gathering on April 8-10 in St. Louis, the Alliance of Baptists affirmed the use of nonviolent boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) strategies and comprehensive education and advocacy programs to end the 49-year Israeli military occupation of Palestinian land. The Justice in Palestine and Israel Community presented the statement.
Affirming this bold and courageous statement coincided with the 68th commemoration of the Dier Yassin Massacre, which occurred in 1948.
As Israel is increasingly unable to defend its regime of apartheid and settler colonialism over the Palestinian people and its regular massacres of Palestinians in Gaza, it is seeking supportive governments in Europe and the US to undermine free speech as a way of shielding it from criticism and measures aimed at holding it to account for its gross violations of international law.