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Omar Barghouti on the 6th anniversary of the BDS call: ‘[BDS] targets a system of oppression so that all people can live in equality and justice.’

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From the interview:

Is the BDS movement alienating Israelis?

Resistance to oppression always alienates the oppressors. It’s a rule in any resistance to colonial oppression throughout history and the colonial community is never fond of it, of this resistance. They would like us to be complacent slaves who just take injustice as fate and just live with it, move on. Well we won’t move on. We’ll continue resisting and it will continue bothering them because it promises to deprive them of their colonial privilege and no one is happy to give up, simply, their colonial privilege as you know very well in Britain. It has to be pulled out from the colonial masters that you can no longer be our colonial masters. We want to live in full equality and have full rights. So yes, the great majority of Israelis are alienated by BDS of course and they ban together as some journalist call ‘they circle the wagons’ so to speak and this tribalism has become really extreme and fascism is growing in Israel as many many leading academics and artists in Israel are saying. So yes we know but this happens at the beginning, this feeling that everyone is banning together and the minority is dissenting.


This suppression reflects that they’re really scared and when people feel scared they do ban together until the price becomes much higher and then you’ll see cracks in this wall of silence in Israel and wall of complicity in Israel where almost all Israelis are complicit. Almost all, all cultural institutions, all academic institutions, all economic institutions, everyone is complicit with very few exceptions. But we’ve seen it before. We’ve seen it in South Africa, we’ve seen it with the British colonial rule, French colonial rule. We’ve seen it before when the public do not pay a price they say ‘well we’re enjoying the fruits of colonialism and apartheid and oppression why can’t we continue?’……. enjoying the benefits of billions and billions of dollars of your (British) tax money, American tax money, German tax money that’s subsidizing its occupation and apartheid so why should it stop oppressing us? Why should it question? Why should people question ending occupation and the oppression? Only when the price goes higher as we’re doing and that’s why BDS is truly alarming to the establishment, to the colonial establishment in Israel. It promises to threaten their hegemony and their privilege and once that happens we’ll see the dissent. That’s what happened in South Africa and we’ve studied South Africa experience very closely, very very closely…..from that experience we’ve learned if we keep at it with moral consistency with continuous pressure the system will start cracking and then we’ll see a lot of dissent.

Five years ago a rabbi stood up and asks Barghouti why he wasn’t honest about the BDS demands of ending inequality and having full equality for Palestinians in Israel. He asked him “Why don’t you just say it, that you want to destroy Israel?”

I specifically copied this segment of the interview because Barghouti’s response  clearly speaks to the intentions of the BDS movement.

Let me understand what you just said, so I told him “you’re saying ending inequality would destroy Israel what does that say about Israel? Has ending inequality destroyed South Africa? Ending apartheid destroy South Africa? Has ending segregation in the US destroyed the United States, southern states that had an apartheid system? We did not call it apartheid then but it was an apartheid system. Since when does ending inequality destroy anything? It destroys inequality, it destroys apartheid, it destroys injustice. That’s what we’re delegitimizing in Israel, its occupation, its apartheid, its denial of our basic rights, its ethnic cleansing. Yes, we’re proud to be delegitimizing Israel’s oppression, Israel violations of international law. That does not call for ending the existence of any person or any group or anything, it does not target people as people, it targets a system of oppression so that all people can live in equality and justice.”

Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is a mom, a human rights activist, and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area and likes to garden. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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