Tue, March 29, 2011 | The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
The Anti-Israel “Global BDS Day of Action”
BDS, an umbrella network striving to boycott Israel, is holding a global “Day of Action” in solidarity with the Palestinian “Land Day” on March 30. BDS links the boycott of Israel to the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, but without mentioning the uprisings in Iran, Syria and Libya.
BDS is an umbrella network operating worldwide to boycott Israel as part of its delegitimization campaign. BDS recently posted a appeal on its website calling on anti-Israeli activists around the globe to hold solidarity activities with Palestinian “Land Day” on March 30, 2011.
The activities’ theme is “The Global BDS Day of Action.” The notice was issued by the Ramallah-based BNC (the BDS National Committee), which directs BDS activities around the world. It calls on people of conscience to join the boycott of Israel, which it represents as an apartheid, colonial, occupying state which stole the lands of the Palestinians. It also calls for continuing “divestment initiatives,” boycotting Israel products, trying Israelis for so-called “war crimes” and imposing cultural and academic boycotts on Israel.
In effect, the BDS activities began on March 26 and are expected to continue until April 2, 2011. According to its website, the main activities planned are the following:
1) Britain: Events will focus on London and be held from March 17 to April 2. They will be organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, one of the organizations working to delegitimize Israel, and will include activities protesting the sale of Israeli products. A protest is planned for the London Zoo and another in south London.
2) The United States: Events will focus on Washington, DC, and be held from March 26 to April 4. Other events are expected to be held in Seattle and at the University of Arizona, where a model of the Israeli security fence (called the “apartheid wall”) will be erected. The general theme will be a call to boycott Israeli products.
3) Sweden: Anti-Israeli activities will be held in Stockholm and Malmo.
4) Germany: A demonstration was held in Berlin to protest the sale of weapons to Israel.
BDS “Land Day” solidarity events were held in previous years. However, the notice posted this year stressed that the activities were inspired by the “popular uprisings” and the intifadas in Egypt and Tunisia. According to the notice, they manifest “courage, dignity, civility and determination” for “self determination, freedom, democracy, social justice and equality.”
Praise for the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and the analogy between them and the campaign against Israel and for the Palestinian cause are repeated several times in the BDS “Land Day” notice.
BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) is an umbrella network inspired by the first Durban conference (2001). It includes a large number of NGOs, both Palestinian and non-Palestinian, and has an important role in the anti-Israeli delegitimization campaign.
BDS’s global activities are directed by the BNC (the BDS National Committee) in Ramallah, which issued the specific call for anti-Israeli events on March 30. The BDS specializes in promoting boycotts of Israel in various areas, in preventing foreign investors from investing in its economy, in promoting sanctions on Israel, and preventing cultural, academic and sports relations with it (as was done previously regarding the apartheid regime in South Africa). BDS played a central role in the “Israeli apartheid week” events held around the world this past March (2011).
It was the first time activities to delegitimize Israel were linked to the popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, as far as we know. In our assessment its primary objective is to exploit Western sympathy for the popular uprisings in the Arab-Muslim world in order to promote the delegitimization campaign and the struggle for the “rights of the Palestinians.” That is done by representing the anti-Israeli campaign as manifesting the same values of justice and freedom demonstrated by the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.
In effect, the genuine goal of the BDS hard core, as we understand it, is to bring about the collapse of Israel and found a Palestinian state on the ruins. The goal is hidden behind slogans of “Palestinian rights,” “social justice,” “democracy,” international law, etc., suitable to the worldviews of many Western supporters of the Palestinian cause. However, the BDS appeal makes no mention of the popular protests in Iran and Syria, or of the repressive Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip, which is far from corresponding to the BDS slogans. However, it does include a hostile mention of the Palestinian Authority, saying that the peace negotiations with Israel were being held by “unelected and unrepresentative Palestinian officials.”
In addition, in our assessment the BDS notice may indicate that those directing the boycott and smear campaign of Israel fear it might lose momentum. That is because world attention might being diverted from the Israeli-Palestinian issue to the dramatic events currently unfolding in the Middle East (which have consequences for the United States and Europe). Thus, the “Israeli apartheid week,” one of whose major organizers was BDS, did not have the effect in the West its organizers were hoping for. It is our initial impression that “Land Day” events, which are still under way, have so far not been well-attended and have had only minimal media impact.
 BDS website
 The events of “Apartheid Week” and “Land Day” may overlap. For further information about “Apartheid Week,” see the February 8, 2011 ITIC article, “Israeli Apartheid Week”: Part of the Global Campaign to Delegitimize Israel.