Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Online

On 9 July 2008, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) launched a major new online resource for the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. BDSmovement.net will bring together news, campaign materials and resources from Palestinian and global activists in a single site to support, coordinate, and provide information, updates and analysis about the international BDS movement.

It has been three years since over 170 Palestinian organizations, movements, parties and unions came together on 9 July 2005 to launch the unified Palestinian civil society Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, offering a new way forward to challenge Israel's multiple forms of colonial and racist oppression of Palestine's indigenous people. Since it was issued, the Call has reverberated throughout the solidarity movement. BDS initiatives have been gradually and persistently spreading all over the world and BDS has become a key tactic for solidarity with the Palestinian people.

 BDSmovement.net draws on the full range of actions and initiatives, to bring together Palestinian and international actors striving to strengthen the movement. As a shared space for the exchange of ideas and experiences, it gives an overview of the Palestinian calls for BDS, the myriad local initiatives and online resources, and a wide range of background information and analyses.

 At the center of the site is the Palestinian BDS Call, which has proven to be a watershed for the Palestine solidarity movement worldwide. This call has guided the movement by promoting effective, context-sensitive and proven pressure tactics that people around the world can adopt creatively to contribute to the cause of just peace in Palestine and the region. According to the Call, Israel is to be isolated زuntil Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:

 1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

 The BNC, which is drawn from the major Palestinian political and social forces, mass organizations and unions, was formed to serve as the Palestinian reference and coordination point for the BDS and anti-normalization movement. Its statements will be published on the site, to set the agenda for the ongoing campaign. The site, which reflects the diversity of the global BDS movement working within the framework of the Palestinian Call, will promote a range of diverse approaches taken up internationally. The BNC believes that this website can help bridge the geographical and political distances between BDS activists to find common ground for global action. The unified Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions forms the backbone of the site's editorial policy.

 We are closely working with other website initiatives for BDS around the world to ensure that the site brings the efforts together, instead of fragmenting the movement and its resources. The International Coordination Network on Palestine (ICNP) has endorsed the site as a tool to support efforts of networking and coordination. The website content will be developed and updated by activists and organizations in Palestine and around the world. Palestinian groups will provide updates on work in Palestine and the diaspora. Global activists will contribute news and share information on BDS tactics. Special sections have been developed for trade unions and faith based groups. The BNC urges activists globally to support the site by linking to it, publishing the RSS, and sharing information about BDS actions and initiatives for publication on the site. There is already an extensive 'activist material' section to support global BDS initiatives.

 BDSmovement.net needs to constantly grow and develop. Different language sections are currently under construction; sections detailing the corporations and companies that support the Israeli occupation are under development. We are hoping that the site will develop into a space where we can identify the targets for BDS on an ongoing basis. The BDS campaign is developing rapidly, and we need the input of Palestinian and global activists to ensure that the site is responsive to the needs of the initiatives developed on the ground.

 Thank you to the many BDS activists from Europe, the Americas, South Africa and Asia who have contributed with ideas, comments and suggestions to the framework of the site. A special thank you has to be given to the group of Indian and other solidarity activists who contributed financially and volunteered months of hard work to make this website a reality and the Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign for taking the initiative to develop the site.