Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) votes unanimously in favour of a motion backing BDS

APAN Statement on BDS

APAN is a national-level advocacy organisation representing a broad range of Palestine solidarity organisations, religious organisations, trade unions, peace groups and individual members who support the cause of Palestinian liberation. Previously, APAN has recognised and expressed its general support for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) as a valid and non-violent political tactic without actually endorsing or advocating for it.

At its November 2014 AGM, APAN decided not to change its position in order to consult further with its affiliates on the issue.

Since then the following developments have prompted the APAN Executive to revise its position on BDS:

  • The failure of the peace process.
    In April 2014, the US Secretary of State John Kerry’s Peace Initiative collapsed. According to an anonymous US official (widely-believed to be US Special Envoy Martin Indyk), “the primary sabotage” of the negotiations was Israel’s announcement that it would build 14,000 new settlement housing units in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It is noteworthy that since 1993, the main outcome of a succession of the US-brokered “peace processes” has been to normalise the process of colonisation and displacement that is destroying the territorial basis of Palestinian statehood and marginalising Palestinian moderates who call for a negotiated end to the conflict.
  • Gaza.
    Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza was an atrocity resulting in over 2,000 deaths including 500 children, as well as immense destruction of civilian residential and other infrastructure. According to a United Nations report released in September, Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020 due to “ongoing de-development, eight years of economic blockade and three military operations in the past six years.” The report notes that already 95% of Gaza’s water supply is “not safe to drink” and that, even before the destruction of Palestinian infrastructure in Operation Protective Edge, its electricity supply was insufficient to meet 40% of its demand.
  • The 2015 Israeli Election.
    In March, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was re-elected on a platform of continued settlement expansion, explicit opposition to Palestinian statehood and naked appeals to anti-Arab racism. It is noteworthy that his commitment to Israel’s settlement enterprise, the siege of Gaza and the demolition of Palestinian communities reflects a broad consensus within Israel’s Knesset which is shared by all of its “centrist” parties, including the Zionist Union.

The foregoing developments have convinced APAN that it can no longer advocate for an end to the occupation and a just, peaceful solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict without also advocating for a credible non-violent means of opposing the structural nature of Israel’s oppression and violence towards the Palestinian people. Accordingly, the following statement was unanimously endorsed at the APAN AGM of 25 October 2015:

APAN endorses and advocates a policy of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) of Israeli and international institutions complicit in violations of human rights and international law in Israel and Palestine. APAN recognises BDS as a non-violent means of ending violence and promoting peace, human rights and international law and is opposed to racism in all forms, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. APAN supports BDS as a non-violent means of ending the Occupation and securing a just peace in Israel-Palestine. APAN understands that BDS targets need to be carefully chosen in order to support the work of Palestinian and Israeli peace organisations.

http://apan.org.au/media-release-26-october-2015/

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One comment

  1. The BDS movement is of interest to tax-payers in Australia because the Australian is government is actually *funding* Israeli and other organisations involved in human rights abuses in Israel and Palestine. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade own data shows that over the last ten years the Australian government has spent over $1.5 billion (that’s BILLION, not million) of Australian tax payer’s money to directly fund Israeli arms companies (compiled here: http://www.endmilitarytieswithisrael.com/military-ties/). These are the same arms companies actively involved in human rights abuses, violence against civilians and other breaches of international law in Israel and Palestine. #ElbitSystems has received the bulk of this Australian tax-payers’ money. #ElbitSystem’s drones were used extensively by the Israeli military in their 2014 assault on Gaza, in which over 2000 people, including over 500 Palestinian children, were killed. #ElbitSystems also profits as the key supplier of electronic surveillance equipment for the illegal Israeli separation wall built throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories — a wall which the International Court of Justice ruled in 2004 is illegal under international law.

    This shows a clear double standard in favor of Israel compared to its neighbours. Are you aware that Australia maintains a wide range of sanctions on countries in Israel’s region, with sanctions on states and groups in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iran, and Libya (see #DFAT pages: http://dfat.gov.au/…/sanct…/Pages/sanctions-regimes.aspx and http://dfat.gov.au/…/sanct…/Pages/consolidated-list.aspx)?

    There is however one country in the region with a terrible human rights record which is conspicuously absent from Australian sanctions.

    Israel.

    Instead Australia is actually using their tax-payers money to fund Israeli arms companies that are actively involved in violence against civilians and human rights abuses.

    If Australia is placing sanctions against Arab and other Middle East violence, why is it not placing sanctions against Israeli violence?

    Australia’s failure to adopt a sensible, balanced foreign policy towards Israel and its neighbours is why the civil-society lead BDS campaign is so important in Australia. And why the campaign is growing.

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