The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) was the first Israeli organisation to endorse a boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign and to formulate a statement, issued in January 2005, calling on the international community to support it. The statement was updated in January 2010 and reaffirms ICAHD’s support for BDS as an instrument of Palestinian liberation and brings our call into the framework of the Unified Palestinian Civil Society Call of 2005.
After more than four decades of diplomatic and grassroots efforts aimed at inducing Israel to end its Occupation while nevertheless watching it grow ever stronger and more permanent, ICAHD supports a campaign of BDS based upon the fundamental principles of the Unified Palestinian Civil Society which calls for:
- Ending Israel’s occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Separation Barrier
- Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
- Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and
properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
Such a formulation addresses the fundamental issues underlying the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians; it targets Israel ‘s Occupation policy and its structured discrimination against its Arab-Palestinian citizens rather than Israel per se. Without specifying a particular solution to the conflict, a BDS campaign will be in effect until Israel becomes either a truly democratic state of all its citizens living peacefully alongside a Palestinian state, or a single state, bi-national or unitary, which encompasses both peoples.
ICAHD calls on the international community – the UN, governments, political parties, human rights and political groups, trade unions, university communities and faith-based organizations, as well as concerned individuals – to do everything possible to hold Israel accountable for its Occupation policies and actions while ensuring the equal rights and security of both the Palestinian and Israeli peoples. We also call on the Palestinian Authority and other Palestinian political organizations to adhere to human rights conventions and support the joint efforts of our civil societies to reach an end to this tragic conflict and usher in a just peace for all the peoples of the region. The urgency of this appeal is of the utmost.
- Sanctions , defined overall as “penalties, specified or in the form of moral pressure, applied against a country guilty of egregious violations of human rights, international law and UN resolutions, intended to bring that country back into compliance with international norms.” Since they must be imposed by governments, regional associations (such as the EU or SEAC) or the UN, the power actually to apply sanctions falls outside of civil society. Nevertheless, governments can be prodded in that direction – and the “prodding” itself constitutes an important form of consciousness-raising and moral pressure.
- Divestment , the withdrawal of investments in companies doing business with the offending country or directly involved in violating human rights and international law.
- Boycott , the voluntary refraining from purchasing the products of the offending country or allowing its companies, institutions, representatives or even professionals from participating in international intercourse.
Since sanctions are a powerful, non-violent means of resisting oppression, ICAHD supports the following actions:
- Stopping the purchase of Israeli arms, security products and services by governments, local authorities and corporations, while making the sales or transfer of arms to Israel conditional upon their use in ways that do not perpetuate the Occupation or violate human rights and international humanitarian law;
- Divesting from companies that profit from involvement in the Occupation or help perpetuate it;
- Boycott of settlement products, including annulment of the “Association Agreements” between Israel and the European Union due to Israeli violations of marketing settlements products as “Made in Israel” and the Agreement’s human right provisions;
- Boycott of Israeli academic institutions, which have not fulfilled their responsibility of upholding the academic freedoms of their Palestinian counterparts. Our call for an academic boycott means refraining from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions. It does not call for boycotting individual scholars or researchers in any way;
- Boycott of cultural events, be they performances by Israeli performers or artists abroad or by foreign performers and artists appearing in Israel, of participation in cultural events such as book or trade fairs held in Israel or of Israeli installations abroad, except those of Israelis and internationals who stand in solidarity with the principles listed above and whose performances at least refer to them;
- Boycott of participation in Israeli sports events and of Israel participation in sports events abroad;
- Endeavouring to persuade academic, professional and cultural associations to adopt resolutions condemning Israeli policies; and
- Holding individuals, be they policy-makers, military personnel carrying out orders or others, personally accountable for human rights violations, including trial before international courts and bans on travel to other countries.
See our resource section on boycotts, divestments and sanctions for more info. Included are links to other organisations working on this issue such as Who Profits from the Occupation. Their website contains a database that reflects the on-going grassroots investigation effort by activists in The Coalition of Women for Peace, a leading Israeli feminist peace organization, dedicated to ending the Israeli Occupation.
British Committee for Universities in Palestine (Bricup) calls for an academic boycott.
Kairos Palestine is based on the document, The Moment of Truth, from the leaders of the Palestinian Christian Churches . It calls for BDS.
Here is a link to a PDF document by Rachel Goria, Milestones in the history of the Israeli BDS movement: A brief chronology, to which former ICAHD board member Shir Hever, our patron Ilan Pappé and ICAHD’s Jeff Halper have had input.