Arab-Jewish Party Declares Support for Boycotting Firms in Settlements

Sanctions against international companies are 'a legitimate form of civil resistance,' says statement by Hadash, part of the Knesset's Joint Arab List.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Palestinians in a Ramallah supermarket marking goods produced in the settlements, February 2015.
Palestinians in a Ramallah supermarket marking goods produced in the settlements, February 2015.Credit: AP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Israel's Arab-Jewish Hadash party has declared its support of an international boycott of companies operating in the West Bank, since it regards such action as a legitimate form of civil resistance to the occupation there.

In an official statement publicized on Tuesday, Hadash’s bureau, its top institution, said the party “welcomes all expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian people in its just struggle, including boycotting commercial enterprises that are involved in the occupation and in violation of the Palestinian people’s rights, since this is a legitimate manner of civil resistance. Hadash calls on all nations of the world, on associations and labor unions, to intensify the struggle for a just peace in the region, based on respect for the rights of its peoples and on cessation of all acts of injustice, repression and racism.”

Along with the United Arab List, Balad and Ta’al parties, Hadash is part of the new Joint Arab List in the Knesset. One of Hadash's leaders, journalist Raja Za’atra – the spokesman for the Joint Arab List in the last election campaign – was also a founder in 2011 of the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement in Israel, under the inspiration of the global movement.

Earlier this week, Za’atra posted a status in Hebrew on his Facebook page, in which he said that the movement has three principal demands: an end to the occupation of land conquered in 1967 (including East Jerusalem, and in addition to the removal of settlements and the dismantling of the separation barrier); recognition of the rights of Palestinian refugees based on UN resolutions; and termination of what is referred to as the regime of racist discrimination in Israel.

Essentially, these demands are no different than what Hadash, the Israel Communist Party (Maki, in the Hebrew acronym) and the Joint Arab List in general are proposing.

For his part, Za’atra refutes claims that BDS is anti-Semitic, noting that the movement includes many Jewish activists in the United States and in Israel.

“Jewish-Israeli citizens that oppose the occupation are partners to the struggle, not enemies. The movement does not deny the right to self-determination of the Jewish people in Israel, but is fighting so that the other nation living in this country – the Palestinian people – can also realize its right to self-determination in its homeland," he says. "The movement welcomes [involvement in] the struggle of people resisting the draft – the ones objecting to the separation fence, to settlements and to war – as well as the struggle to bring the Palestinian narrative to the Israeli public.”

In March 2013 the local BDS group organized an event in Nazareth as part of "Israeli Apartheid Week,” which is marked each year on campuses and in cities around the world. Following that event, then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called on the University of Haifa to fire Dr. Yousef Jabareen, who denounced what he called Israel's discriminatory and racist legislation. Jabareen is currently a Knesset member on behalf of the Joint Arab List.

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