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Want to boycott Israel? There will soon be an app for that.

on 26 Comments

With the recent and significant victories of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement, Israel is facing mounting pressure by the international community to abide by international law.

In addition, prominent figures have been expressing their solidarity with the boycott by cancelling scheduled events. Late last year, Stephen Hawking canceled a visit to Israel out of respect for the picket line of Palestinian civil society. Stevie Wonder, a UN representative and legendary artist, also decided to cancel a benefit concert for the organization the Friends of the IDF.

Nor is the boycott solely the purview of the well-connected.

Due to the different facets and flexible approaches encapsulated by BDS, the consumer boycott is a convenient way for “ordinary” citizens, who are otherwise unconnected to politics, to participate in the movement.

logo-snSoon, supporters of the movement will also have access to a new smart-phone app, which will help them to participate more actively in the movement. This application will make it easier for consumers to make choices that uphold the values of BDS.

The BDS application will not only consist of a comprehensive database warehousing product names and descriptions, involvements, and campaign information, but it will also come equipped with a barcode scanner. Instead of sifting through endless websites, googling meticulously, or depending on word of mouth, consumers may now dynamically and quickly identify products that fall within the BDS boycott guidelines—all with the use of their smartphone. All of the products in the application’s database will be researched thoroughly by BDS activists.

The BDS application is an important tool for allowing the public to participate in consumer boycott campaigns. Those against Sabra and Tribe hummus, Hewlett-Packard (HP), AHAVA, SodaStream, and Violia are gaining traction. Not only do these boycotts create animus toward companies that are complicit in human rights violations, but they also promote creative spaces to converse, educate, and engage the public about Palestine.

ss-1Next-generation technologies, such as Twitter, Facebook, and the internet, have also played a major role in spreading the boycott movement. The most prominent role of these social media platforms is in forcing the accused party to publically respond to claims. For example, Moddi, a world-renowned musician of Norwegian descent, solicited opinions and feedback on his Facebook fan page regarding a proposed concert in Israel. In the end, he announced that he was canceling his concert in support of the BDS movement and Palestinian human rights.

Boycott from Within and the US Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USABI) – two major Israeli and U.S. organizations who support BDS- have thousands of Twitter followers and regularly utilize Twitter for its advocacy.

Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the movement, recently wrote a piece in The Nation describing these latest trends as a “tipping point” for the movement.

Israeli and US politicians, including Benjamin Netanyahu and John Kerry, have been forced to recognize this intense pressure by acknowledging BDS.

In addition, a diverse array of institutions is coming out in support for BDS. For example, two major academic associations have recently passed resolutions in favor of the academic boycott of Israeli institutions: the Asian Studies Association and the American Studies Association.

ss-2Yet, despite the great gains that the movement has made in recent years, direct participation by the “average Joe” falls short of what it could be. Thanks to the advent of smart phones, however, the BDS App aims to change that. Indeed, forthcoming technologies offer the greatest potential for taking the movement to the next level primarily due to their user-friendliness and accessibility.

We hope this revolutionary application, managed by a full team of volunteers and in development for more than a year, provides yet another avenue for promoting freedom and justice in Palestine. By encouraging the “average Joe” to make conscientious decisions, we hope to expand the BDS movement beyond its base.

Keep your eye out for the beta version, to be released soon. For up to date information, please sign up on our site here:

Abbas Naqvi
About Abbas Naqvi

Abbas Naqvi (twitter: @aanaqvi) was born and raised in New York, and resides in Philadelphia. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the field of molecular biology. He is actively involved with Philly BDS, along with other national and international initiatives.

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26 Responses

  1. Justpassingby
    March 13, 2014, 9:07 am

    Nice idea, I dont know much about apps but doesnt apps that deals with this kind of things often get banned?

    • Sycamores
      March 13, 2014, 11:09 am

      basically when you break it down it’s a barcode scanner app.

      there’s loads of them

      i don’t see how it can be banned but i’m sure some will try.

    • amigo
      March 13, 2014, 11:12 am

      “Nice idea, I dont know much about apps but doesnt apps that deals with this kind of things often get banned?”jpb

      I doubt any real democracy would even entertain a lawsuit on this issue.But hey , let the zios waste their time and money trying to sue the whole world.

    • CloakAndDagger
      March 13, 2014, 1:15 pm

      While it is possible that the app could be prevented from the Apple store for people using iPhones and iPads, It will be much easier to put this on Android phones, as Google Play is not the only source for Android apps (assuming Google bans it) – they can be directly downloaded from any web page.

    • The JillyBeans
      The JillyBeans
      March 13, 2014, 3:27 pm

      Given how Apple hosted El Bibi last week, I wouldn’t doubt it that it could quite possibly get banned by iTunes. Now, Samsung on the other hand may not have a problem with it.

      We already have boycott apps in the US that were inspired by people disgusted with superPAC’s. So I don’t think any company can legitimately get rid of it without showing a case of bias. Buycott.

      • JeffB
        March 14, 2014, 1:23 pm

        Apple has 3 whole divisions in Israel, the most important being PrimeSense (custom 3D sensor chips). They are currently expanding their operations in the Ra’anana Industrial zone to pick up TI’s old employees. Of course they are biased! There is over a $1b in Apple property that would be destroyed if the Palestinians were “liberated”. And on top of the supply side, on the demand side they would also lose a semi-important market.

        Apple has consistently throughout its history stood by its Jewish employees. Doing things like offering that they can take all Jewish holidays (including Rosh HaShanah). Liberal shabbat policies. Steve Jobs frequently called Jacob Goldman (Jewish) a mentor. Jef Raskin (led the Macintosh) design team attributed many of the key ideas of Mac’s multi lingual interface to what he had learned in synagogue. Andy Herzfeld was one of the first 10 employees. They are better than average (and for Silicon Valley that’s saying something) on Jewish issues.

        Apple is biased. They are openly, strongly and consistently pro-Jewish. They have no problems being associated with Israel and haven’t throughout the company’s life.

  2. pabelmont
    March 13, 2014, 10:03 am

    Fabulous! Some Israeli H/R group had to take down their list of Israeli- (or Israelis inside OPT-) made products, due to Israel’s anti-BDS law (legal status of which inside Israel still pending but assumed to be a very scary law). So, the APP-maintainers pick up that list and other people’s lists and I assume that, as to products with bar-codes, you can read on the APP: [A] made-in-Israel, or [B]made-by-Israelis-in-OPTs.

    Will the APP also tell of upcoming BDS-events in nearby cities?


  3. Cliff
    March 13, 2014, 10:05 am

    This is awesome!

    • CloakAndDagger
      March 13, 2014, 1:17 pm

      Indeed – I wondered why nobody thought of this before. Hopefully they will be able to hype this to a wide enough an audience. I would be interested to see their download counts.

  4. eljay
    March 13, 2014, 10:24 am

    An app that brings the powerful, oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist David (and his alter-ego, Captain Israel) to his knees. They should call it “Little Goliath”.

    Unfortunately, that name would quickly be played up as some sort of anti-Semitic, impending-Holocaust existential threat (even as supremacist David / Captain Israel continues to steal, occupy, colonize, destroy, torture, hate and kill).

  5. amigo
    March 13, 2014, 11:02 am

    Now sit back and wait for the zio apologists to tell us to boycott smart phones as they were all invented in Israel.
    Be careful what you invent ,it may outsmart you.

    I just love the idea of going into a store and doing an instant Stock Check and passing along details of Israeli contraband to the store manager.Usually I have to take photos and then research the bar codes when I get home.

    Meanwhile back in ziosville .All hands on deck—incoming smart BDSers.

  6. Yserbius
    March 13, 2014, 11:09 am

    So will it run on iPhones using technology produced by Anobit, or use some Android Google technology?

    I know that the double standard of the BDS movement has been pointed out many times before, I’m just curious what people respond to it. Let’s face it. There are a ton of products out there that everyone uses every day that have some connection to Israel, if not entire developed there. Just boycotting the convenient ones (does anyone who doesn’t keep Kosher ever touch Sabra Hummus?) is kind of ridiculous.

    • Cliff
      March 13, 2014, 2:33 pm

      What does Israel make that we use every day of our lives, that we could not get elsewhere?

      I mean, it wouldn’t surprise me if you were right though.

      China makes tons of stuff. Most people are hypocrites. I think we should try to be less hypocritical instead of perfect Saints.

      It’s not possible for us all to be full-time activists. We do what we can.

      Your absurd rubric is informed by YOUR tribal politics and world-view (where everyone is out to get the Joos and poor little defenseless misunderstood Israel).

      We could talk about any protest movement in the same way you talk about BDS, because if you live in a Western country, you are by-definition a hypocrite.

      You will buy and use products that come from human-rights-violating countries.

      You will unwittingly support oppressive policies around the world.


      So what is the Zionist solution to this hypocrisy? OH WAIT – there is none. In fact, you hasbarats only bring this inanely idiotic framework into the picture when it’s ISRAEL under the microscope.

      If we lived by your words, we would ignore all conflicts because in some way, small or large, purposeful or unwittingly, we’d be contradicting ourselves elsewhere.

      • The JillyBeans
        The JillyBeans
        March 13, 2014, 9:36 pm

        I actually hope there is an FTA with Europe soon. I’ve resorted to EU produced goods as being the only reliably not totally HR violating manufacturers. But the surcharges on the products makes stuff 1.5 the price. My bike cost $500 alone on import fees.

      • Yserbius
        March 14, 2014, 12:55 pm

        > What does Israel make that we use every day of our lives, that we could not get elsewhere?

        The RSA crtypographic algorithm is used by every single website that starts with “https”. Without it, Internet commerce and banking would be non-existent.

        > We could talk about any protest movement in the same way you talk about BDS, because if you live in a Western country, you are by-definition a hypocrite.

        Not true. I do not pretend to boycott China and other oppressive regimes. I know that there are tons of human rights abuses that go on over there, but I also know that they manufacture a good portion of the things I use on a daily basis. It’s a sad fact in life that I owe up to, unlike the BDS movement which pretends that useful Israeli products don’t exist.

    • Sycamores
      March 13, 2014, 8:34 pm


      Google is an American multinational corporation it has offices in over 40 different countries, israel is only one of them. Guess where Google HQ is for Europe, the Middle East and Africa? Dublin, Ireland not Tel Aviv, israel. i wonder what small percentage does israel actually contributes.

      maybe you should boycott google because of its Netherlands office.

      even the head of Google in israel is beginning to see the light.

      Anxious to hold on to their markets, Israel’s businessmen are increasingly backing the peace camp. The names on a recent advertising campaign in its favour included such luminaries as the head of Google in Israel. Hitherto they had usually preferred to stay out of politics.

      as for Anobit Technologies, a fabless semiconductor company one of hundreds in the world, it’s not even listed in the top 25.

    • puppies
      March 14, 2014, 10:12 am

      Yserpus – “does anyone who doesn’t keep Kosher ever touch Sabra Hummus?”
      I don’t think even religious insanity could drive anyone to eat such shit-tasting stuff. Hummus as imagined by ET.
      “There are a ton of products out there that everyone uses every day that have some connection to Israel”
      You guessed it! No to worry, slowly but surely all of them will feel the pain.

  7. Ligh7C
    March 13, 2014, 1:15 pm

    Great work. I’m praying this app will be a huge success

  8. puppies
    March 13, 2014, 2:15 pm

    One extremely important detail is to ensure that all (or as many as possible) “made in Israel” goods are included in the database.
    If this is to be limited to goods from the post-67 occupation area, or specifical targeted activities, it would become an app for the usage of those Zionists who hope to extend the life of the Zionist entity by boycotting insignificant parts of it, i.e. without touching the root of the evil.

  9. robbie_dd
    March 13, 2014, 3:45 pm

    The app Buycott has had a BDS campaign for months now. You can already use this to scan barcodes and figure out of the product is in the BDS avoid list and it’s available for iPhone and Android.

  10. amigo
    March 13, 2014, 5:32 pm

    App pro po

  11. American
    March 13, 2014, 9:38 pm

    Another victory. There are more activist(or aware people) out there than we think there are.

    EBSCO Backtracks On ‘Anti-Jewish’ BDS Index
    By Sigal Samuel

    ”Score this one in the victory column for BDS supporters and, much more broadly, for anyone who believes we should use language accurately — especially when we’re dealing with loaded terms like “anti-Semitism.”

    EBSCO Information Services, a major provider of library resources and online research databases, raised eyebrows when it initially classified articles about BDS — the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel — under the heading “Anti-Jewish Boycotts.”

    After some sharp-eyed EBSCO users took to Twitter on Sunday and Monday to complain about the classification, the company acknowledged its mistake and changed the indexing to “Boycotts.”


    Read more:

  12. BrianEsker
    March 13, 2014, 9:46 pm

    Yeah well, whoever puts out this app better lawyer up and and lots of money on hand. This is because the descriptions and reasoning for the products bans are generally made up by idiots. For instance the sample shown in the above article: Sabra Humus, which supposedly should be banned for “military support.” This is most certainly a fraudulent misrepresentation of the firm and how its products are sold or distributed. Even if the activist who came up with that phrase is hard to sue, the technology firm that produces the apps won’t be.

    • amigo
      March 14, 2014, 8:18 am

      “Yeah well, whoever puts out this app better lawyer up and and lots of money on hand.”esker

      Bring it on loser.

      It,s going to be fun watching you idiots being run out of Courtrooms all over the planet.

      Oh , about the lots of money.There are millions and millions of anti semites willing to support the Palestinian cause.Did you not hear, the world is full of Jew haters.

    • puppies
      March 14, 2014, 10:00 am

      @BrianEsker – Only people who are cool with Zionism limit their boycott to certain categories of products, with the intention of extending the life of the shitty pitbull state. The zionist entity is a warmongering, illegitimate, murderous cancer on the world’s asscheek. Any product even loosely associated with the Zionist entity as well as those of companies that support said entity must be boycotted. As for trying to use US law to order me what to buy and what to sell, go climb a tree and stay there.

  13. Woody Tanaka
    Woody Tanaka
    March 14, 2014, 8:28 am

    “This is most certainly a fraudulent misrepresentation of the firm and how its products are sold or distributed.”

    Baloney, it’s well known that Sabra’s manufacturer has a history of support for the zionist equivalent of the Waffen SS, the Golani Brigade.

    “Even if the activist who came up with that phrase is hard to sue, the technology firm that produces the apps won’t be.”

    Nope, here in America we have Free Speech and anti-SLAPP laws, which any such attempt at zio lawfare would implicate.

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