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BDS Movement Calls for Global Day of Action on Wednesday

As Arabs mark Land Day, the BDS movement is using the momentum to call for anti-Israel activities around the world.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 3/30/2011, 5:24 AM / Last Update: 3/30/2011, 5:17 AM

Flash 90

The boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, an umbrella network operating worldwide to boycott Israel as part of a delegitimization campaign, has called on anti-Israeli activists around the world to hold solidarity activities with the Arab “Land Day” which is scheduled for Wednesday.

Land Day marks the anniversary of the massive Arab riots in March 1976 over the confiscation of land near Arab villages, during which six protesters were killed.

The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reported on its website that the theme for the planned activities is “The Global BDS Day of Action,” and said that the notice was issued by the Ramallah-based BNC (BDS National Committee), which directs BDS activities around the world.

The notice calls on “people of conscience” to join the boycott of Israel, which is represented in the notice as an apartheid, colonial, occupying state which stole the lands of the Palestinians. It also calls for boycotting Israel products, trying Israelis for so-called “war crimes” and imposing cultural and academic boycotts on Israel.

The report noted that BDS activities began on March 26 and will continue until April 2. Citing the BDS movement’s website, the report notes that the activities planned include events in Britain, the United States, Sweden, and Germany.

In Britain the events focus on London and are being organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, one of the organizations working to delegitimize Israel. Activities planned include protests over the sale of Israeli products, a protest in the London Zoo and another in south London.

U.S. events focus on Washington, DC, but are also expected to be held in Seattle and at the University of Arizona, where a model of the Israeli security fence (which organizers term “the apartheid wall”) will be erected. The general theme will be a call to boycott Israeli products.

The report notes that while BDS “Land Day” solidarity events were held in previous years, this year’s notice stressed that the activities were inspired by the recent “popular uprisings” in Egypt and Tunisia. According to the notice, these uprisings manifest “courage, dignity, civility and determination” for “self determination, freedom, democracy, social justice and equality.”

An analysis by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center suggests that the primary objective in the comparison to Egypt and Tunisia is “to exploit Western sympathy for the popular uprisings in the Arab-Muslim world in order to promote the delegitimization campaign and the struggle for the ‘rights of the Palestinians.’ That is done by representing the anti-Israeli campaign as manifesting the same values of justice and freedom demonstrated by the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.”

The center also notes that the BDS notice may indicate that those directing the anti-Israel campaign fear it might lose momentum because world attention is being diverted from the Israeli-PA issue to the dramatic events currently unfolding in the Middle East.

“Thus, the ‘Israeli apartheid week,’ one of whose major organizers was BDS, did not have the effect in the West its organizers were hoping for,” reads the analysis. “It is our initial impression that ‘Land Day’ events, which are still under way, have so far not been well-attended and have had only minimal media impact.”

Meanwhile, hundreds of Arab Israelis protested on Tuesday in advance of “Land Day”. The protests, under the banner, “Our martyrs and our land are in our hearts,” condemned Israel for demolishing illegally built Arab homes in Yafo and Lod.

During the Lod protest, protesters burnt pictures of Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman. Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party angered Arab MKs this week by passing a bill that would strip those who spy on Israel or assist terrorists of their citizenship.

The Land of Israel Legal Forum subsequently called on the Attorney General to investigate the matter. “These acts show extreme incitement against a minister in the Israeli government, and call to harm him in the clearest possible manner,” said Legal Forum head Attorney Nachi Eyal.

Click here for an op-ed on the BDS movement.