1. The Call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israeli Occupation and Apartheid
1.1 What is the Call for Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions against Israeli Occupation and Apartheid?
The Call for Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions against Israeli Occupation and Apartheid is the Palestinian call issued by the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, which represents a number of major Palestinian civil society organizations and over 60 regional popular committees coordinated within the Campaign.
After 50 years of suffering and struggle, after the expulsion of two thirds of the Palestinian people that up to today have been refused their right of return, after the destruction of Palestinian heritage in all of Historic Palestine, Palestine today is now facing the third wave of expulsion. The Apartheid Wall is now over 1/3 completed. Palestinian lives, livelihoods, lands, and villages are being destroyed on a daily basis. The effects of expulsion and displacement are already visible everywhere. Today, the Apartheid Wall, with its horrendous effects on Palestinian life, is merging with the longstanding policies of settlement expansion, the creation of Jewish-only infrastructure in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip and industrial zones – Israeli sweatshops for the impoverished Palestinian population – into a comprehensive scheme of colonial domination and conquest. This crime of apartheid needs to be stopped, together with the incursions, killings, and stranglehold of the Palestinian people that is the Israeli Occupation.
People throughout the world are expressing their solidarity with Palestinians struggling against Israeli Apartheid with constant actions of support. The international community has expressed its views in hundreds of UN resolutions, and most recently, the highest judicial body in the world – the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague – has confirmed the illegality of the Apartheid Wall, as well as the Israeli Occupation and colonial settlement policy. The ICJ has reminded all states of their “obligation not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction.”
However, Israel has refused to recognize and comply with this decision and the subsequent UN resolution endorsing the ICJ opinion, just as it has done with all other resolutions regarding Palestinian rights. Only concrete international pressure against Israel can ensure that these decisions are implemented and that apartheid will be relegated to the past once and for all.
The Call for Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions against Israeli Occupation and Apartheid also aims at highlighting the responsibility of the international community. Not only has the international community not enforced its own decisions, such as the ICJ decision and UN resolutions, it has continued to directly support Israeli Apartheid. Most of the countries in the world give direct or indirect support to the Occupation, massacre, and Bantustanization of the Palestinian people. This needs to stop!
1.2 What are the objectives of the Call for Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions?
The aim of the Call for Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions is to force Israel to respect international law and to free Palestine from the crimes of Israeli Apartheid, starting with the dismantling of the Apartheid Wall, the payment of reparations for damages caused to Palestinians by the Wall, and the return of all confiscated lands.
This Call must serve as a tool in the hands of the people of the world to exercise their power and exert pressure on their governments, institutions, and companies, in order to demand respect for the rights of the Palestinian people.
The main goals of the Call for Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions are:
- To reveal to the world the true nature of Israel’s occupation and apartheid practices
- To give human rights a real value by making Israel accountable and forcing it to pay a price for its crimes
- To reveal and highlight the responsibility of the international community in supporting Israeli Occupation and Apartheid
- Above all, to end international support for Israeli Apartheid, since apartheid can never survive without external assistance.
1.3 How are the calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli Occupation and Apartheid linked?
Boycott, divestment, and sanctions are three levels of pressure that share the same motivations and goals.
The Call begins from the fact that resolutions and verdicts calling for Israel to respect some of the most fundamental rights of the Palestinian people have already been expressed by governments, the UN, and now by the International Court of Justice as well.
However, during the last 50 years the international community has never been willing to take up the enforcement of any of its own decisions. We are thus calling upon the people of the world to pressure their own governments to bring about real change. The people of the world must demand that their governments and institutions finally implement their own statements and resolutions through sanctions.
Boycott campaigns are the most immediate form of action. The power to boycott is in the hands of everyone and can be implemented in everyday life. Boycott actions help to raise awareness in the streets, in the shops, and in our homes; they address everyone. A successful boycott does not only state that a price must be paid for Israel’s apartheid crimes, but is also a clear sign to your political representatives of how their constituencies want them to act. However, individual action cannot be a substitute for organizing and mobilizing with others in order to end the support for apartheid from your institutions and enterprises, since the base of support that allows Israeli Apartheid to exist and continue lies in the political and financial ties between Israel and your economies and governments.
Divestment campaigns respond to this call by involving organizations, groups, and movements in coordinated campaigns that pressure enterprises and institutions to divest/disinvest from Israeli Apartheid. These campaigns involve networking and mobilizing towards a common goal: spreading awareness and creating involvement on different levels of political activism and within different sets of institutions. This involves creating links with social movements and other constituencies in your communities and calling for always greater involvement and support from your governments to impose sanctions against Apartheid Israel.
Sanction campaigns are directly addressed to your governments and international institutions. It is important to note that it will be only through grassroots pressure, such as boycott and divestment campaigns, that the call for sanctions will gain the necessary political weight to force the international community to stop compliance with Israeli crimes. Sanctions can reach from the suspension of Free Trade Agreements and arms embargos, to a complete halt to all trade with Israel.
1.4 Are we strong enough to make the Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israeli Occupation and Apartheid effective?
The Boycott Movement against South African Apartheid started in the late 1950s with small groups of activists and exiles in Britain and Sweden. It took years, if not decades, before it became a global movement and before churches, trade unions, and political parties became directly involved in the struggle. But once it was initiated, this movement helped lead eventually and inevitably to the overthrow of apartheid in South Africa.
The supporters of Palestine today can already count on existing boycott campaigns in many countries of the world; on divestment campaigns aimed at a diverse group of institutions and companies; and on a widespread call for sanctions at national and international levels. But just as important, the movement can help find its way forward by learning from past experiences of the anti-apartheid struggle, thanks to the active support of South African movements and from many representatives of the worldwide movement against apartheid in South Africa.
Dozens of websites offer research and information about different campaigns against Israeli Apartheid. Initiatives and campaigns are already mobilizing the streets throughout the Arab world, Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia with calls for boycott and divestment.
In fact, the potential power of this movement has begun to worry the Israeli government and pro-Zionist lobbyists to such an extent that they have supported the introduction of a proposed law in the U.S. Congress that would ban divestment, and are working with institutions and websites to stop the “danger that we will be exposed to an international boycott as was the case before the fall of the regime in South Africa.” These words come from none other than the Israeli Minister of Justice, Tommy Lapid. (BBC, January, 4, 2004).
So our strength lies in unified and coordinated efforts that allow all of these various initiatives to work together and reinforce each other, reaching out to all of our societies in order to effectively unmask Israel’s apartheid policies and create popular pressure on our governments and enterprises to stop their support for Israel.
1.5 Don’t boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns also hurt Palestinians?
The clear call of the Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, of the more than 60 popular committees located all along the Wall’s path, and of the civil society organizations coordinated in the Campaign, is to enforce an immediate and effective boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign against Israeli Occupation and Apartheid.
As one of the members of the grassroots campaign in Palestine against the Apartheid Wall has declared: “On top of daily humiliation, we are suffering 70% unemployment, our land and water is stolen, our trees uprooted, our houses demolished, our people massacred, and thousands imprisoned and tortured – we have nothing left, so how could a boycott ever harm us?”
The Apartheid Wall – as well as Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies as such – is aimed at rendering the Palestinians cheap and easily exploited labor for Israeli industries, by destroying their agriculture and preventing any Palestinian industrial development. International support for this process of exploitation does not in any way help the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice, and self-determination, but instead furthers Israel’s apartheid policies. This support for Israeli Apartheid needs to be stopped, not safeguarded in the name of concern that these campaigns will “hurt” Palestinians whose lives are already being decimated.
1.6 Why do you not call for boycott and divestment only for companies directly involved in the construction of the Apartheid Wall?
The Apartheid Wall is currently the central element of the further development of Israeli Apartheid; however, it is certainly not the only crime Israel has been committing against the Palestinian people. The Wall cannot be understood except in relation to the expulsion of 3/4 of the Palestinian population since 1948, the massacres, the house demolitions, the destruction of land, the theft of natural resources, the annexation of land, the colonial settlement policy, the killings, the mass arrests, tortures, collective punishment, and the many other exhaustively documented crimes and human rights violations committed against the Palestinian people in their land and abroad.
Calling for a boycott of and divestment from only those products and companies directly involved in the construction of the Wall would mean seeing the Apartheid Wall outside of its proper context. This would also mean implicitly condoning all of these other crimes that have been committed.
Further, singling out these products and companies would mean overlooking the fact that it is the Israeli state and not the individual companies that bear the responsibility for the construction of the Apartheid Wall. It has been a “democratically” elected government of national unity (Likud and Labor) that approved the Wall’s project, and it is this state and its national economy that needs to be the target of world wide pressure to respect human rights and international law by ending its apartheid policies.
For the same reasons, boycott campaigns aimed only at settlement goods implicitly give the wrong message and ultimately take aim at the wrong target.
1.7 With boycott, divestment and sanctions, aren’t you are targeting the citizens of Israel, instead of the politicians who make Israeli Apartheid politics?
The target of boycott and divestment is the Israeli state – its economy and institutions. It is aimed at an economy shifting between the expulsion of the Palestinian workforce and the exploitation of Palestinian resources and labor; an economy that is flourishing and surviving only thanks to international financial and commercial aid. It is aimed at a national economy that has been in a deep crisis since even before the start of the second intifada in September 2000 and that seeks a way out – as with all previous economic crises – through increased military spending and war profiteering. It is the task of a politically conscious worldwide civil society to stop this support to this war economy which is the base on which Israel is able to build its occupation and apartheid policies.
On the other hand, cultural, sports, and academic boycotts are focused on key institutions that create and propagate Israeli propaganda and political strategies aimed at hiding the daily crimes of apartheid and aiding their implementation. These forms of boycott intend to stop “business as usual” and to highlight the fact that Israel is systematically denying Palestinians their rights to education, culture, and sports as part of the destruction of everyday life of the Palestinian population, while it is at the same time asking for full support and integration on an international level.
Boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns against Israeli Apartheid are thus neither targeting single citizens nor individual politicians, but are rather aimed at a regime and its infrastructures that have destroyed Palestinian life for more than 50 years and are now on the verge of closing off the Palestinian people definitively into impoverished Bantustans.
1.8 Is boycott of Israeli Goods or Zionist labels anti-Semitic?
Who asks you this question normally is not really interested in knowing if you are anti-Semitic, nothing can make him or her think so. When the world boycotted Apartheid South Africa nobody was wondering if it was based on “anti-white” or “anti-protestant” motivations.
This question or accusation is often brought forward in order to make you feel the racist and to hide the racist character of Israeli apartheid. It will come up in order to depict Israel as the victim, at best “not only a victim” through a conscious confusion between Judaism and Zionism and a complete distortion of the reality on the ground where the Zionist quest to conquer Palestine but without the Palestinians has brought over the Palestinian people more than half a century of expulsion, humiliation, exploitation and oppression.
1.9 Don’t boycott, divestment and sanctions contradict or hamper existing or future negotiations over “Peace proposals”?
“Peace” proposals can only bring Justice and Peace if they are based on the respect of Palestinian Human Rights, International Law and the UN Resolutions regarding Palestine . The call for boycott, divestment and sanctions is aimed at creating effective pressure on Israel in order to force a regime that has violated international law and Human Rights since its very inception to obey to international rulings and concede Palestinians the rights upon which peace can be built. It is Israel’s determination to use its military and economic power to devastate Palestinian lands and lives day after day and to impose negotiations that force Palestinians to renounce on their legitimate rights and make sure no real peace can be achieved. It is effective international pressure supporting the Palestinian struggle for their rights that can build the ground for a just and lasting solution.
2. The Call for Boycott against Israeli Occupation and Apartheid
2.1 What is a boycott?
By its nature, a boycott is an instrument of the powerless against the powerful, used by those without access to power mechanisms and who are therefore forced to organize voluntarily from the grassroots level. Boycott is a move and movement of ordinary people who refuse to support injustice and who use their right to choose as consumers in order to support – in this case – the Palestinian quest for freedom and justice, and to express their opposition to the political positions of their governments and institutions. Boycott is thus a means of pressuring these governments and institutions from below to take action on a political level against Israeli Apartheid.
2.2 Do boycotts work?
Boycotts are effective on various levels. A successful boycott can change public opinion and indicate to political representatives what course of action their constituencies are expecting from them. In addition, boycotts have also already made a clear economic impact in preventing companies and multinationals from supporting Israeli Apartheid.
Take the example of a boycott campaign against McDonald’s that has been carried out throughout the Middle East:
“McDonalds is a ‘major corporate partner’ of the Jewish United Fund. In its own words, the Jewish United Fund ‘works to maintain American military, economic and diplomatic support for Israel; monitors and, when necessary, responds to media coverage of Israel.’ Also, McDonalds chairman and CEO Jack M. Greenberg is an honorary director of the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
McDonalds has [recently] announced it is closing down its operation in the Middle East due to loss of revenue as a direct result of the boycott (Oct 2002), and is replacing Greenberg as its chairman and CEO (Dec 2002). Since the launch of the boycott campaign, two of Jordan’s six McDonald’s franchises have closed due to lack of business. In Egypt, McDonald’s decided to change its brand name to Manfoods this past March, in an attempt to dodge the boycott. It had no effect and Egyptian police forces were ordered to guard the entrances to McDonald’s restaurants, after stone throwing incidents took place. A total of 175 restaurants will be closed at a loss of $350 million.
In the face of giants like McDonalds crumbling under the pressure of the boycott, smaller companies are wary of supporting Israel and are steering clear in fear of being boycotted.
Amidst calls for a boycott of Amazon.com, the internet bookstore Amazon.com terminated its association with the Jerusalem Post (Nov 2002). It was revealed that the Jerusalem Post was donating its slice of the profits derived from the Amazon.com partnership to Israeli soldiers returning home after committing massacres and other abuses of human rights on the occupied territories. Their advert, which appeared on most of their pages, read ‘Buy Amazon.com & Support Israel.’ Inundated with complaints, Amazon.com severed its ties to the Jerusalem Post, demanding they remove all the adverts and vowed not to hand over any more profits.” (seewww.inminds.com)
2.3 How can I recognize Israeli products? Are there lists of products to be boycotted?
All products packaged and exported by Israel bear a barcode that starts with “7290.” However, many products are packaged abroad or are produced by multinationals and companies supporting Israeli Apartheid – these products will be coded in other ways.
In order to orient boycott initiatives and consumers willing to make a choice against Israeli Apartheid, many websites offer comprehensive lists of products to be boycotted. These sites often make a division between companies and products “made in Israel” and companies and products supporting Israeli Apartheid.
Comprehensive lists and information can be downloaded among others from:
http://www.kate3.com/index.jsp, http://www.albadil.net/index.htm (Arabic)
2.4 What is the academic boycott?
The academic boycott calls upon universities, academic institutions, students, and scholars to stop cooperation with their Israeli counterparts. Israeli academic institutions and scholars are not only instrumental in perpetuating and teaching Israeli racist and colonial ideologies and repressing internal dissent, but these institutions are also places where the theories, plans, and projects of Israeli Occupation and Apartheid are elaborated and intellectually supported. The academic boycott asks the student movements and the international academic community to take up their responsibility as intellectual leaders to uphold and promote the ideals of justice, freedom, and equality and to oppose colonial apartheid policies such as those inflicted upon the Palestinian people. Academia can never be “neutral”; academics need to choose between supporting the status quo or being part of a movement to promote social change and justice.
2.5 Doesn’t the academic boycott limit the growth of opposition inside Israel and target scholars who oppose the politics of Israeli Apartheid?
Noted Israeli historian and University of Haifa Professor Ilan Pappe has estimated that only 100 out of 9,000 Israeli academics have “raised their voice against the occupation,” and some of those 100 are in danger of losing their jobs because of their stated political positions. (Quotation from www.inminds.com).
Over the last 50 years, during which Israel has committed incessant crimes against the Palestinian population, no clear opposition has come from Israeli universities – although there has been no academic boycott in existence that could have hampered this opposition from developing. Instead, Israeli academic institutions have continued to maintain their strong ties with the state’s political and military elite through close cooperation, developing research, strategies, and projects for the oppression of the Palestinian people, in addition to providing an intellectual basis and support for the discourse of racism and colonialism on which Israeli society bases its claims to the conquest of Palestine.
The Palestinian population, as well as other political opponents of Israeli state ideology, cannot see these institutions as anything but instruments for perpetuating discrimination and apartheid rule. The academic boycott inevitably has an impact on individual Israeli academics, even those who oppose the apartheid regime of their state. But Israeli academics who support the boycott understand and accept this as a temporary personal inconvenience that is incomparable with the systematic suffering of the Palestinian people.
At this very moment, Israel is destroying the Palestinian academy and educational system as a whole through closures, the targeting of students and professors, and the denial of access to educational facilities through the construction of the Apartheid Wall and other forms of Bantustanization of the Palestinian people. At such a moment, safeguarding an Israeli academy that is supportive of these crimes is not supporting intellectual freedom, but rather supporting its destruction.
2.6 Are academic boycotts effective?
The effects of an academic boycott are not only measurable in a decrease of funding for institutions that support Israeli Apartheid, but also in the impact it can have on public opinion. As with the academic boycott that gradually isolated academic institutions in Apartheid South Africa, the academic boycott against Apartheid Israel will provide an important message to future generations and future leaders of the worldwide Anti-Apartheid movement. It also forces academics around the world to take seriously their institutional and intellectual connections to Israeli Apartheid and to the Occupation in Palestine, and their intellectual responsibility to refuse to support the status quo through a bogus form of intellectual “neutrality.” The movement for an academic boycott seeks instead to be part of a movement of academic institutions that work to bring about social change and social justice.
2.7 What would an academic boycott look like?
Academic boycotts can take various forms:
• Stopping or refusal of joint academic and research projects with Israeli institutions
• Suspension of all forms of funding and subsidies to Israeli academic institutions
• Refusal to participate in conferences organized or hosted by, or involving, Israeli academic institutions
• Refusal to contribute with research and studies to Israeli academic institutions or publications
• Promotion of divestment and disinvestment of international academic institutions from Israel and from companies supporting Israeli apartheid
2.8 What is the cultural boycott?
The cultural boycott is a means for artists and cultural institutions to express their opposition and outrage against the construction of the Apartheid Wall and Israeli Occupation and Apartheid in Palestine. It is a call upon artists and cultural institutions not to lend their names and works to Israeli Apartheid and not to continue “business as usual” in the face of the ongoing crimes committed by Israel. The cultural boycott is especially important, considering the severe destruction that is aimed at annihilating the development of Palestinian culture and arts, and more generally, at destroying the entire Palestinian cultural heritage.
Cultural boycotts can include:
• Refusal to perform in Israel.
• Refusal of copyright or distribution rights to Israeli institutions and companies.
• Opposition to Israeli participation in cultural initiatives as long as Palestinian artists and their people are still suffering under Israeli Apartheid.
2.9 What is the sports boycott?
The sports boycott has its main precedent in the boycott imposed against South African apartheid on all levels. For many countries, sports are a way to represent and assert themselves and their politics in front of the international community, especially at international events such as the Olympics and the World Cup. Israel is no exception to this. The massive international media attention that was paid when an Israeli athlete won a gold medal in windsurfing at the Athens Summer Olympics in 2004—which included public statements from Ariel Sharon and Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz—is an example of the powerful link between sports and propaganda.
The sporting community, federations, athletes, and sports fans are asked to express their opposition to Israeli crimes and to call for an end to Israeli Occupation and Apartheid by contesting Israeli participation in international and bi-national competitions.
3. The Call for Divestment from Israeli Occupation and Apartheid
3.1 What is divestment and disinvestment?
Divestment is a political tool that was developed by the anti-apartheid student movement during its campaigns against South African Apartheid. It was first used by the U.S. student movement of the 1980s, when students protested their universities’ relationship to the racist South African economy and government. Divestment campaigns became a way to organize student support and to challenge large corporations that were financing and benefiting from the exploitation of blacks in South Africa. Today, especially in the U.S., Palestine solidarity groups have started up dozens of divestment campaigns all over the country. The Student Council of Wayne State University has already passed the first official divestment resolution against Israeli Apartheid on a U.S. Campus. (See: www.smjwayne.org)
Divestment campaigns, however, are not limited to university initiatives, but can be implemented by any groups or movement to force companies and institutions to divest from Israeli companies, or from companies that support Israeli Apartheid. In the case of South Africa, after years of awareness-raising among grassroots movements, combined with advocacy and pressure from below on the leadership of various large groups and organizations, divestment began to be practiced on a widespread basis by churches and local authorities as well as on university campuses.
Direct divestment/disinvestment campaigns are organized by trade unions, churches and local or national networks and organizations that mobilize pressure directly against companies to stop their cooperation with Israeli Apartheid by severing their financial and commercial ties with Israel or with companies supporting Israel.
Divestment is a way in which grassroots campaigns are able to pressure institutions, industries, companies, and local authorities to stop supporting Israeli Apartheid. Don’t expect open doors for your requests: the call for divestment is a long struggle and needs consistency and strong pressure on companies and institutions before they will be willing to expose themselves and give up a potential for profits and dividends. But as the divestment campaigns against South African Apartheid proved, this can be a crucial and extremely effective part of the larger struggle against Israeli Apartheid.
3.2 How did divestment campaigns work for the movement against apartheid in South Africa?
“The divestment campaign sent a strong message to the Apartheid regime, telling them that they had lost financial and institutional support, along with the political and moral support of the international community. Between 1977 and October 1985, 55 universities and colleges across the U.S. had partially or fully divested from South Africa. 30 of those divested between April and October of 1985 due to protest actions. The United States government was also forced to act because of the magnitude of the divestment and boycott campaigns.
“Universities led the rest of the country in removing investments from companies that did business with the apartheid government. The divestment in 1986 of the University of California’s $3 billion in stock holdings was particularly important because at that point it was the largest public institution to take a stand. Nelson Mandela, during a visit to the area after his release from prison, pointed to this event as a catalyst that ultimately helped end white-minority rule in South Africa. […]
“The divestment movement posed a serious threat to the profit margins of companies doing business with Apartheid South Africa, leading them to divest, or apply pressure for change. It was also of great symbolic importance, in applying public pressure on the United States government to actively change its position on apartheid.” (Quoted from: www.divestment.org)
3.3 How can I know which companies are Israeli or support Israeli Apartheid?
The lists prepared by the websites supporting boycott campaigns include indications of Israeli companies and multinationals that are supporting Israeli Apartheid.
However, the research about specific companies and institutions to be targeted in your town, region, or country is field work to be done on the ground. Sometimes it is difficult to get access to the necessary information, or institutions and companies will withhold financial information or refuse their cooperation. Research is not wasted time, but rather, part of the awareness raising process, and it can bring new allies to the struggle. One strategy is to try to join with other groups in your community that are carrying on their own divestment and boycott campaigns for global social justice—for example, groups involved in the anti-globalization movement, or worldwide ongoing campaigns being waged against corporations such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s—and try to share information and resources with them.
4. The Call for Sanctions against Israeli Apartheid
4.1 What are sanctions?
Sanctions were developed as a means to enforce international law. Typically, sanctions cut off trade and investments, preventing a target country from buying or selling goods in the global marketplace. Sanctions may aim at particular items, like arms or oil. They may also cut off air traffic, suspend or drastically curtail diplomatic relations, block movement of persons, bar investments, or freeze international bank deposits.
4.2 Haven’t sanctions often proved to be counterproductive, simply strengthening the existing politics in the countries subject to sanctions? And aren’t they often also inhumane, since they punish the poor?
There is a fundamental difference between sanctions enforced in order to support the struggle of an oppressed people and sanctions enforced in order to actively oppress a people.
In fact, in most cases sanctions have not been imposed to support an existing struggle foppress countries (and their population) that have been in different ways hostile to the U.S. or the Western world. They have created incredible humanitarian disasters and strengthened economic exploitation. They have been built on already existing structures of exploitation and dependency.
On the other hand, there have also been cases where sanctions have been specifically aimed at supporting the already existing struggle of a people against oppression. The case of South Africa is a particularly successful example.
The implementation of sanctions against South Africa effectively supported the struggle against apartheid, led from within South Africa by the African National Congress and other movements. Significantly, the U.S. was among the last countries to impose sanctions against the apartheid state, while Israel never did, instead continuing to maintain an economic, political, military, and strategic relationship with Apartheid South Africa.
The reason for the specific character of the sanctions against South African Apartheid had everything to do with the fact that they came out of a longstanding campaign that was created and supported by thousands of grassroots efforts, and were linked to sustained boycott and divestment campaigns. These various coordinated grassroots campaigns eventually mounted so much pressure that governments were forced to take action in the form of sanctions.
Sanctions, in the case of developed economies like the South African and Israeli economies, do not have the result of creating starvation and humanitarian disasters, as in Iraq. But they do have the capacity to severely diminish the margins of profit to be gained within such economies – thus setting a price as a form of accountability for engaging in policies and practices of occupation and apartheid. Sanctions and the suspension of free trade agreements are an part of the struggle against corporate globalization highlighting the close link between political, military and economic oppression.
The effect of sanctions – which are in themselves simply a means of pressure – depends ultimately on the reasons for their implementation.
4.3 Who can implement sanctions?
Under Article 41 of the UN Charter, the Security Council may call on Member States “to apply measures not involving the use of armed force to give effect to its decisions.”
Sanctions can also be imposed by countries individually, as in the case of Apartheid South Africa.
4.4 Since sanctions are a measure to be taken by governments and international bodies, how can the people create effective pressure for sanctions against Israeli Apartheid?
It is by changing public opinion and exerting your right to vote that you can pressure your governments to adopt a policy that respects human rights and opposes Israeli Apartheid.
In addition, the carrying out of united and coordinated boycott and divestment campaigns will indicate clearly to members of governments and international organizations that the people of the world are demanding concrete actions, and not just hollow words, against Israeli crimes, Apartheid, and Occupation.