No Other Way – Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against the Occupation

September 11, 2005

o all appearances every political action against the ongoing Israeli Occupation and its illegal elements has been outmanoeuvred by the occupying power. For thirty-eight years massive land and water confiscation, roadblocks, extrajudicial killings, closures, curfews, and collective punishment have taken place in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, in contravention with international law. Oppression, segregation and humiliation, house demolitions, and the construction of the annexation wall in the West Bank and the walls in the Gaza Strip determine the daily life of the occupied Palestinian people.

To all appearances the Israeli government, throughout the years of Occupation, has felt it is entitled to breach the Charter of the United Nations as well as the rules of international law, and has allowed itself to ignore and violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Fourth Geneva Convention, and even the International Humanitarian Law of Den Hague. It has allowed itself to do so under the eyes of the international community

To all appearances the United Nations and the international community as a whole have ignored the fact that Israeli governments and military forces have been taking the law into their own hands in the Occupied Palestinian Territories of the West Bank (which includes East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip, as well as the Syrian Golan Heights for many decades.

In view of the intolerable situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories the 2005 Annual Plenary Session of the European Jews for a Just Peace (EJJP) reaffirms the rules declared in Amsterdam 2002, the final resolution of the Annual Plenary Session in Brussels 2003, and the final resolution of the Annual Plenary Session in Paris 2004. Specifically, EJJP

Expresses its continuing concern with the grave situation for the Palestinian people living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,

Emphasizes the inadmissibility of the annexation of territories that were conquered and occupied by the Israeli army during the course of the War of 1967, contravening international law,

Emphasizes the illegality of the perpetuation of the war by keeping the Occupied Palestinian Territories under the command of the Israeli military forces,

Emphasizes the illegitimacy of settling and thereby colonizing the Occupied Territories and separating them according to colonial needs by the construction of annexation walls in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

Emphasizes the illegality of establishing a new status quo by the occupying power, according to the Charter of the United Nations and all United Nations resolutions subsequent to the War of 1967

The 2005 Annual Plenary Session of the EJJP

Recalls that the fulfilment of the principles of the United Nations Charter requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace between both Israel and the future Palestinian state which must be based on the preconditions that were expressed in the EJJP Amsterdam Declaration in 2002.

All Member States of the United Nations in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter.

Israel, as a powerful state occupying the land of another people, is an equal member of the international community and must be held accountable for its policies and actions in the light of accepted international norms as are all other nations. Any other approach to the State of Israel would indeed imply the kind of intolerable distinction that inevitably must be termed “anti-Semitic”.

Furthermore, if the international system of justice is to keep its authority and meaning for the international community Israel must be compelled by all political means, including non-violent pressure, to end the Occupation.

If Israel succeeds in

  • Defying the Fourth Geneva Convention and in making its Occupation permanent,
  • Locking an entire population behind walls that have been judged illegal by the International Court of Justice,
  • Perpetuating the denial of the Palestinians’ right of self-determination
  • Reviving colonialism and illegal territory annexation

i. e. if Israel succeeds in abusing international law systematically and continuously, then the power of the rule of law as such will be jeopardized and the trust in its superiority over power politics and militarism will necessarily decrease.

Therefore, the 2005 Annual Plenary Session of the EJJP declares that the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian land is an international issue.

We all have a stake in ending it.

We are no longer willing to accept the blindness of the so called super powers, the indolence of the United Nations, the apathy of the “Quartet”, and finally, the indifference of the nations of the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

We are no longer willing to be silent about the fact that theoccupying power, Israel, claims to be carrying out its policy of war and injustice on behalf of our ancestors, who were victims of the Nazi genocide, and supposedly for the sake of all victims of anti-Semitism and racism. In particular, it is using our names illegitimately as Israelis or Jews.

We are no longer willing to witness passively a policy course that has already caused too many casualties, unbearable destruction, and constant pain.

Regarding ourselves as European citizens and, hence, believing that human rights is the political basis of European civil society, we share the responsibility for peace and justice with our friends and sister organizations in Israel, in Palestine, and in all countries of the international community.

We are determined to take a major stand against the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian territories, i. e. against the course of hatred and hostility that by necessity will culminate in a catastrophe – not only for Palestinians and Israelis but in all likelihood, for humanity itself.

There is no other way!

The time has come to support our criticism of and opposition to the Israeli governments and policies by effective, non-violent means.

We are convinced, that the only political, non-violent measures that are likely to effect the Israeli government inasmuch as the dissemination of information, protest campaigns, demonstrations, legal actions and lobbying have not succeeded are Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against the Occupation.

These measures represent powerful international responses that arise not only from our opposition to an intolerable situation in Palestine, but also from the belief that time has come for every person in the international civil society who is concerned about the international law and human rights’ system to take responsibility and to apply any non-violent measure that might help to cease this injustice.

Boycott and sanction campaigns are very strong and extreme measures. They are rooted in the will of the international community to ward off any attack on its system of laws and are regarded as basic human and civil rights because they are non-violent responses to injustice and aim at expressing moral force. Sanction campaigns were invoked by social and grass roots movements when injustice and suffering had become routine and so resistant to international policy standards and diplomacy protocols that their toleration compromised the very validity of the rules of law for the international community and the moral standing of its members, be they countries, corporations, or citizens.

The call

  • for civil boycott actions
  • for economic and institutional divestment as well as
  • for legal sanctions on the national and international level

is directed against the Israeli Occupation.

It is based on the conviction that the Israeli leadership and decision makers, as well as most of Israel’s civil society, although having the power to alter the intolerable situation, are reluctant and/or unwilling to do so. For this reason, it is impossible to end the Occupation without pressure from outside. Palestinians, on the other hand, are too weak to shake off the Occupation . International, non-violent but effective pressure is the only way to achieve a breakthrough of this deadlock.

The 2005 Annual Plenary Session of EJJP responds to

  • The “Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Human Rights” that was launched by representatives of Palestinian civil society and signed by more than one hundred NGOs and other grass roots organizations in May 2005
  • The “Agenda of Struggle” that was approved by of the 5th World Social Forum inPorto Alegre on Jan. 2005 calling upon the social movements to “mobilize for de-investments and boycotts” with the explicit aim of “pressuring Israel to implement international resolutions and to respect the decision of the International Court of Justice for the immediate stop and destruction of the illegal apartheid wall and the end of occupation”
  • The final resolution of the United Nations International Conference in Support of Middle East Peace that was published in Paris on July 2005, announcing for the next year the inauguration “of a global campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel to end the occupation and comply with international law and all relevant United Nations resolutions”
  • The petition that was approved to be launched by the meeting of the European Co-ordinating Committee of NGOs on the Question of Palestine (ECCP) in Brussels on May 2005, that calls upon all citizens of the EU members to “urge our Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Council of the European Union and the United Nations to take political and economical measures, including sanctions, aiming at preventing Israel from continuing the construction of the wall and to oblige it to respect the ICJ Advisory Opinion”.

in declaring:

The Federation of the European Jews for a Just Peace and many of its affiliated groups will be supporting and pursuing an interwoven campaign of boycott, divestment and sanction actions against the Occupation on all levels, local, regional, national, European and intercontinental.

We believe that, for the beginning, a variety of interwoven measures targeted specifically at the machinery of Occupation and the Israeli Military-Science-Technology-Economy tiers that are linked to it are appropriate. Furthermore, we will take part in campaigns that other organizations have already launched, and vice versa, in order to direct and increase the pressure.

At the same time, we would like to paraphrase our sister organization, the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) in the United States and state clearly that we reject completely the accusation that general divestment or boycott campaigns are inherently anti-Semitic. On the contrary, we believe that condemning the Israeli governments and military forces for their abuse of state power and increasing non-violent pressure from abroad and from within are more likely to make them halt, thus preventing the Israeli and Palestinian people from descending into an irreversible catastrophe.

In no way are non-violent boycott, divestment, and sanction campaigns against the Occupation the same as attacking people for being Jewish.

We note that many Jewish and Israeli organizations support the idea of selective boycott and sanctions on Israel: ICAHD (Israeli Committee Against House Demolition), the Jewish Voice for a Just Peace (JVP/US), Not in My Name (US); Mazpen (Israel/International), Matzpun (Israel/International); New Profile (a Refusenicks, feminist and antimilitaristic organization in Israel), Jews Against the Occupation (NYC Chapter); the petition of South African government minister Ronnie Kasrils and legislator Max Ozinsky, which has gathered more than 500 signatures of South African Jews; Jewish Voices Against the Occupation (US); Jewish Women for Justice in Israel and Palestine (US); Gush Shalom (Israel); Jews for Global Justice (US); and Visions of Peace With Justice (US), among others.

Proposed Actions

  • Boycott actions

A boycott of settlement products and of companies which provide housing to the settlements, or which play a major role in perpetuating the Occupation on the basis of a campaign and on an annually updated product list initiated by Gush Shalom several years ago.

Civil boycott of all Israeli products in Europe as long as they are not properly labelled in such a way that not only tax officials but every European citizen can judge whether a product originates from the Occupied Palestinian Territories or from Israel.

These campaigns build on existing initiatives of affiliated EJJP groups and individual members as well as other European and international organisations. Boycott actions against the import and sale of products from the Occupied Palestinian Territories are focused and easy to grasp. They raise public consciousness about the economic aspects of the Occupation and expose the complicity of the international community in it. They bring significant moral pressure to bear on Israel, while moving towards effective forms of economic sanctions designed to end the Occupation.

  • Divestment actions

Non-violent pressure by boycott and information campaigns should be imposed on companies, institutions, organizations, and individuals that profit from involvement in or active contribution to the Occupation, regardless of whether this happens directly or indirectly, openly or secretly.

This includes European and American companies such as, for example, Caterpillar Inc., Intel Inc. or Soda Club, which profits from the wholesale destruction of Palestinian homes and orchards.

It also includes Israeli companies which depend on settlements for materials or labour or which produce military equipment used to violate Palestinian human rights. It further includes universities, research and development institutions, academic groups, and individuals which are linked to the Occupation and contribute to its perpetuation.

The recent call upon Israeli academics to boycott the continuing presence of the Israeli army on Palestinian territory that was launched by the Executive Committee in June is currently being circulated in many European and non European countries. The fact that it was welcomed by Israeli as well as by Palestinian academics and NGOs as a support of their fights, confirms us in our intentions. We therefore repeat our appeal to all European academic and teaching unions, who wish to support the end of occupation by their Israeli colleagues as stated in our call to either sign the statement as it stands or else use it as a basis for their own resolution.

The 2005 Annual Plenary Session of EJJP reaffirms the final resolutions of the Annual Plenary Session in Paris 2004 which expresses that we “… refuse to cooperate with artists, academics, politicians and others who support the occupation or represent it., and that we finally extent our full support to all those Israeli groups, such as the Refuseniks and the Bereaved Parents, the artists, intellectuals, politicians and other individuals who are against the occupation, who support the oppressed Palestinian people, and who are attacked and boycotted by the Jewish establishments in Europe”.

  • Sanctions

Trade sanctions on Israel due to its violation of the “Association Agreements” it has signed with the European Union which prohibit the sale of settlement products under the “Made in Israel” label, as well as for violations of their human rights provisions have been demanded by and campaigned for by EJJP since 2003.

Military collaboration and arms export sanctions.

The 2005 Annual Plenary Session of EJJP calls on the governments of Europe, America, and Asia to stop selling arms to Israel which are used in perpetuating the Occupation in accordance with their own laws prohibiting sales of weapons to countries engaged in war and in serious human rights violations.

In addition, existing international law must be applied against Israel and lead to sanctions for using its weapons illegally against civilian populations, for example, or in campaigns of extra-judicial executions, to name but two.

Sanctions that comprise the implementation of international and domestic laws should include a ban on the purchase of Israeli arms and weapons, as well. This should include weapons development, joint production, and co-ordinated sales with Israeli military forces.

We also call on activist groups within EJJP and beyond to investigate and publicize the forms of aid their country is giving to Israel and to the IDF and the kind of collaboration between the military in their own country and the IDF. Components of aid which supports Occupation or settlement, whether military, technological, or economic, should be opposed.

To sum it up:

All suggested actions are targeted against the Israeli Occupation. The European Jews for a Just Peace call upon the international community – civil society as well as governments – to do all that is possible to bring it to a swift end so that all the peoples of the region can enjoy the benefits of a just and lasting peace for the generations to come.

The time has come! Non-violent pressure, boycott, divestment, and sanctions are unavoidable and the next logical step in a global campaign to end the Occupation.

Civil boycott actions, economic and institutional divestment, as well as legal sanctions campaigns have been implemented by social and grass roots movements in the past and are approved as effective civil instruments to achieve justice and peace.

The struggle will be long and hard. It will have to be a grass roots struggle such as that which brought Apartheid in South Africa to an end.

The 2005 Annual Plenary Session of EJJP London, 11 September 2005