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What is BDS Movement

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement is a grassroots initiative led by Palestinians, aimed at achieving freedom, justice, and equality. It calls for upholding the principle that Palestinians deserve the same rights as any other human being.

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Understanding BDS

Israel’s occupation and colonization of Palestinian territory, its discrimination against Palestinian citizens, and the denial of the right of return to Palestinian refugees have been key issues. Inspired by South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, BDS urges action to compel Israel to adhere to international law.

For over seven decades, Israel has denied Palestinians their basic rights and disregarded international law. Its practices of settler colonialism, apartheid, and occupation are sustained by international support, while governments and corporations globally fail to hold Israel accountable.

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The Call for BDS

The movement employs three strategies: boycotts, divestment, and sanctions. These actions target Israel’s apartheid regime, complicit institutions, and companies violating Palestinian human rights, aiming to pressure Israel to comply with international law.

In 2005, Palestinian civil society organizations initiated the BDS movement, backed by unions, refugee networks, women’s groups, and various associations. Modeled on South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, BDS calls for non-violent pressure on Israel until it meets three primary demands.

BDS garners support from unions, churches, NGOs, and millions worldwide. Its campaigns span economic, academic, cultural, and governmental sectors, aiming to raise awareness about Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and urging companies and institutions to change their policies.

Movement in Other Countries

The BDS movement has found resonance in various nations, with coalitions like the Canadian BDS Coalition and BDS Malaysia embodying the principles of the global movement.

Canadian BDS Coalition:

The Canadian BDS Coalition consists of Canadian groups committed to supporting the global Boycott Israel movement. It aligns with the founding call of BDS made by Palestinian civil society organizations in 2005. The Coalition’s objectives include promoting and coordinating BDS activities within Canada, providing resources for understanding and action, and defending freedom of expression in support of BDS.

The Coalition operates independently, advocating for just peace and the realization of freedom, justice, and equality for Palestinians. It engages with local challenges and works in collaboration with Canadian, Palestinian, and international organizations striving for a just peace in the region.

Despite facing disagreements with the BDS National Committee (BNC) and attempts to distance itself from the BDS label, the Canadian BDS Coalition remains steadfast in supporting boycott actions and addressing local concerns within the Canadian context.

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BDS Malaysia:

BDS Malaysia is part of the global movement, answering the Palestinian call for freedom, justice, and equality. It focuses on boycotts, divestments, and sanctions as non-violent pressure tactics against Israel’s occupation and apartheid regime over Palestinians.

The movement in Malaysia targets institutions and products associated with Israeli entities, ensuring that investments and pension funds are not utilized to support such entities. Moreover, BDS Malaysia aims to raise awareness about Palestinian suffering and advocates for the rights of Palestinian refugees to return home, in line with UN Resolution 194.

The vision of BDS Malaysia is to lead campaigns towards Palestinian liberation and justice in Malaysia. Through local initiatives and participation in the global BDS movement, it aims to exert pressure on Israel to comply with international law and end its occupation of Palestine.

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The BDS movement is a response to decades of Palestinian rights violations. It advocates for ending Israeli occupation, recognizing equality for Palestinian citizens, and ensuring the rights of Palestinian refugees.

By employing boycotts, divestment, and sanctions, it seeks to amplify international pressure on Israel and raise awareness about the ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people.

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