Commemorating 71st Nakba Day
May 15, 2019
This May 15th marks the 71st Nakba Day: 71 years since the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in order to establish the state of Israel. The Nakba is ongoing with Israel’s continued brutalization of Palestinians, its apartheid regime and its expansionist settler-colonialism. Here is the message from the Palestinian BDS National Committee on this day:
"Palestinians in the homeland and in exile are commemorating the 71st anniversary of the 1948 Nakba, Arabic for catastrophe. With hope, we continue to resist and to insist on our right to freedom, justice, equality and dignity.
We are also sending a message of distress, and an appeal for true solidarity, not charity, at this most difficult period in our struggle for liberation. Israel is ruthlessly intensifying what the late Edward Said once described as “disappearing” the Palestinian people, politically, geographically and even physically. And it is enabled by blind support from the anti-Palestinian Trump administration and the deep complicity of the European Union and other world powers….
"With more urgency than ever, we appeal to people of conscience and progressive movements worldwide to break the links of complicity that tie their respective states, corporations and institutions with Israel’s regime of oppression."
As individuals and organisations based in India, there is a lot that we can do to strengthen the BDS movement. This requires that we choose strategic targets. The BDS movement asks us to "focus on companies that play a clear and direct role in Israel’s crimes and where we think we can have an impact." Therefore, there isn't a set list of companies to target, but rather there are global and local campaigns. This is important also because while there are numerous companies that profit from their ties with Israel, we would not achieve much by going targeting all of them. On the contrary, as the movement has shown, gradual and grassroots campaigns against companies based on the extent of their complicity and the potential impact of victory, should help us decide what we target. Here are the ongoing campaigns in India that you can help strengthen:
- Hewlett Packard: US-based Hewlett Packard is deeply invested in Israel's occupation and apartheid regime. It provides computers to Israeli military, hosts the population registry for Israel, which is the backbone of its apartheid regime, and runs facilities in illegal Israeli settlements in West Bank. We launched the Boycott HP campaign in India exactly a year ago. Sign on this pledge to boycott HP and bring the campaign to your school/college/institution:
- Netafim: Netafim is an Israeli drip irrigation company, and right from its inception it has been involved in Israel's settler-colonial project, stealing land and water from Palestinians. In India, it is involved in selling equipment and running projects to promote its unsustainable agro-business model, one which has already been critiqued by Indian agriculture experts. Today it enjoys patronage from state governments. Join us in the joint struggle for sustainable agriculture and against Israeli theft of Palestinian lands.
- AirBnB: After committing to de-list rentals in illegal Israeli settlements, AirBnB went back on its word and will now continue to allow rentals on stolen Palestinian land. Send a message to AirBnB by deactivating your AirBnB account on Nakba Day. Sign on this pledge:
- Puma: Sporting brand Puma sponsors the Israeli Football Association, which includes teams in Israel's illegal settlements. Over 200 Palestinian sports clubs have written to Puma, calling on it to end its sponsorship of IFA. Similar campaigning had led to Adidas withdrawing its sponsorship of IFA. Join this campaign and get your local sports club involved too!
- Academic and Cultural boycott: Israel routinely uses art and culture to whitewash its occupation, apartheid and settler-colonial regime. In the last years, this has escalated with performances sponsored by the Israeli embassy or similar agencies being held in India, Indian artists performing for the apartheid regime in Israel and, most notably, the Hindi film industry being roped into the project of Israel's propaganda. Join us in building collective appeals for academic and cultural boycott of Israel.
- Pinkwashing: Israel's cynical use of gay rights to divert attention from its violation of Palestinian human rights, or pinkwashing, is being called out and resisted by LGBTQIA+ groups globally. In India too, the movement is gaining ground. Join us in this campaign, putting the focus back on our just struggles for Palestinians and LGBTQIA+ rights.
- Military Embargo: In the last years, India has bought 50% of Israel's weapons exports. These weapons are sold as 'field-tested' by Israel, for they have been used to kill and maim Palestinians. Israel exports its ideology and methodology of repression along with these weapons, as we have seen in Kashmir, in the repression in Thoothukudi, and beyond. We are building our campaign for Military Embargo on Israel, along with anti-militarism campaigns locally.
All these campaigns are ongoing and being strengthened day by day by conscientious individuals like you and grassroots organizations like yours. Let's continue our collective work for BDS in India, and for freedom, justice and equality everywhere.
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