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5 ways to support Palestinians through Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions

5 ways to support Palestinians through Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions

Palestinians marching for right of return with giant Palestinian flag
Photo: AFSC / Middle East office

This list was created by Mike Merryman-Lotze, Dalit Baum, Ali Abunimah, and Rebecca Vilkomerson from their workshop, "Our response to the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS): U.S. perspectives," at AFSC's 2017 Centennial summit. See this list and others from the summit online at afsc.org/5ways. Download this list as a PDF here

1. Listen and learn 

The violence inherent in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the harm that has been done to both Palestinians and Israelis, and the often contradictory information that is presented about the conflict make this a difficult issue to discuss.  It is likely that addressing this topic will raise political sensitivities and political concerns among members of your faith community.  The best way to address these concerns while promoting learning and action is to take time to listen to Palestinians and Israelis and to learn about the ways in which Israelis and Palestinians are impacted by violence and human rights violations today. 

2.  Take economic action 

In 2005, over 170 Palestinian organizations issued a call to the international community asking for the implementation of boycott and divestment initiatives (BDS) to stop human rights abuses against Palestinians by the Israeli government. The initial Palestinian call was signed by a broad coalition that included unions, academics, political parties, cultural groups, and civil society organizations.  AFSC is supporting and organizing various actions and campaigns and has developed an investment screening tool for individuals and groups to review their investments: investigate.afsc.org. 

3. Write a minute or statement of support 

Once your congregation has taken time to learn about the issue and become involved with efforts in the United States and around the world to end human rights abuses against Palestinians, consider writing a minute or statement of support for the BDS movement.  

  • Read the minutes, statements, and actions from other meetings, churches and faith organizations supporting the use of economic activism to end the conflict. 
  • Bring the topic to your Business Meeting or other decision making body to consider. 
  • Take time to season the appropriate language, and then share your minute with the wider faith community. 
  • If and when approved, share with the larger Quaker community! Email Lucy to help spread the word. 

4.  Join a national network 

All around the country, Quakers are taking action in their communities to help bring about peace with justice in Israel and Palestine.  

  • Join the Quaker Palestine-Israel Network to stay connected and learn more about the work of others around the country.  
  • Become an AFSC Meeting/Church liaison and participate in calls with AFSC staff about how you can partner with us on our efforts in the United States to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. 
  • Subscribe to "Impact," AFSC's monthly online newsletter with resources for action on Israel and Palestine. 

5. Become an advocate 

The United States and foreign corporations are deeply enmeshed in the politics and actions that perpetuate injustices towards Palestinians, and it is critical that our they know more about what their constituents and customers would like to see change in the region.  

  • Dedicate one day per month to letter-writing to elected officials or your local newspaper about the need for sanctions to end to US military aid to Israel, highlighting the negative aspects of militarism on the prospects for peace. 
  • Dedicate one day per month to letter-writing to corporate heads or your local newspaper about corporate complicity in violations of international law in Israel and Palestine, highlighting the negative aspects of this involvement that sustain occupation and rights violations.  
  • Write letters to the editor calling for just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and inform the public about ways to engage in economic activism to end corporate profiting from military occupation and war. 
  • Join AFSC by supporting one of our education and change campaigns including Gaza Unlocked and No Way to Treat a Child. Use these campaigns to educate people about the realities of life under occupation, to highlight why economic activism is important, and to call for change.
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