The following statement was released by Kairos Palestine this week:
Bethlehem, 17.11.2011. Anything but subtle – that sums up the desperate campaign recently launched by an assortment of anti-Palestinian conglomerates. Buy Israel Week, to be held from November 28 to December 4, is an apparent attempt to hijack Christmas shoppers and divert attention from the success of the ongoing BDS campaigns around the world.
This is a moment when the BDS movement is claiming colossal successes in many countries around the globe, with an impact that has encouraged its initiators to dare the hope that political change will come sooner rather than later.
Indeed, the Buy Israel Week is rooted in a frantic attempt to sidetrack attention from the deteriorating international tolerance for the crimes being perpetrated by the Israeli military forces in the Occupied Territories. Buy Israel Week’s initiators claim that those who work to undermine Israel do so by boycotting its very right to exist. They call on shoppers to ‘counteract this movement’ by ‘buying Israel’.
The call to ‘Buy Israel’ has a sense of hysteria about it. Rather than come to terms with the illegality of the occupation, the architects of the campaign remain defensive. The initiators are frustrated by their inability to “shape decisions made at the United Nations or on Capitol Hill” and wary of the possible acceptance of Palestine in an increasing number of UN fora in the coming months. They are unleashing ‘Buy Israel’ as a diversionary tactic from the international gaze strengthened by the UN bid and subsequent actions in UNESCO.
Kairos Palestine remains steadfast in its call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions. In our document “A Moment of Truth,” Kairos endorses the call on “individuals, companies and states to engage in divestment and in an economic and commercial boycott of everything produced by the occupation. We understand this to integrate the logic of peaceful resistance. We understand that the object of our BDS stance is not one of revenge but rather to put an end to the existing evil, liberating both the perpetrators and the victims of injustice”.
Indeed, the BDS movement itself does not seek to punish Israel, nor is it an end-goal unto itself. Rather, it is a means: a measure of non-violent protest in line with democratic rights and responsibilities that we seek to implement until Israel complies with international law and concedes Palestinian rights.
Kairos Palestine strongly urges people who seek justice for Palestine — and those who seek peace for all — to see anxiety of the ‘Buy Israel’ campaign for exactly what it is: a flagrant attempt to distract the world from a powerful non-violent movement that is actually working. Accordingly, Kairos Palestine also urges people to maintain their unwavering support for BDS. BDS is visibly hurting the apparatus of Israeli interests; with solidarity and persistence, we know we will succeed in making Israel accountable to its obligations under international law rather than to the oppression it implements to uphold its own illegal occupation.