Ten years ago, a small group of Palestinian activists had a novel idea: Inspired by the anti-apartheid movement, they called for a global boycott movement against Israel as a nonviolent method to promote the Palestinian struggle for independence. Long confined to the sidelines, the so-called BDS movement appears to be gaining momentum — so much so that Israel has identified it as a strategic threat on a par with Palestinian militant groups and the Iranian nuclear program. While Israel says the movement is rooted in anti-Semitism, its decentralized organization and language calling for universal human rights have proven difficult to counter, resulting in a string of recent victories that have alarmed Israeli leaders.
“We are now beginning to harvest the fruits of 10 years of strategic, morally consistent and undeniably effective BDS campaigning,” said Omar Barghouti, one of the group’s co-founders. “BDS is winning the battles for hearts and minds across the world, despite Israel’s still hegemonic influence among governments in the U.S. and Europe.” The BDS movement — named for its call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel — began as an idea by 170 Palestinian civil society groups worldwide in 2005. It has grown into a global network of thousands of volunteers lobbying corporations, artists and academic institutions to sever ties with Israel. FULL REPORT