Monday 13-07-2015 - 13:26
BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) is a Palestinian-led movement that seeks to build international pressure against Israel until it abides by international law and puts an end to its extensive human rights abuses against the Palestinian people, including its occupation of their land.
Influenced by the historical success of the boycott movement against South African apartheid, the aim of BDS is to isolate Israel through international pressure at the individual, institutional and governmental level, by targeting economic, academic and diplomatic relations with the Israeli state.
In the decade since the international call for BDS was released by Palestinian civil society in 2005, successes have been seen across society – from boycott campaigns in over two dozen UK campuses to divestment resolutions by the US Presbyterian Church and major European banks, to nations like the Maldives suspending free trade agreements with Israel.
BDS has captured public attention and is rapidly gaining mainstream traction; and in August last year the NUS voted to give its backing to the BDS campaign, joining UK Trade Unions like the TUC, NUT, UCU and Unite.
The NUS BDS handbook is for people of all levels of understanding of the Palestine/Israel question, and is both educational and instructive. It provides a detailed guide covering everything from a history of the occupation of Palestine, through to practical advice on running BDS campaigns on your own campus, including against key campus-based targets such as G4S, Veolia, and Eden Springs. Resources found in the handbook include model motions for your Students’ Union Council, and steps on how to research and maintain strong, vibrant campaigns bringing together a broad range of people and groups in solidarity with Palestine.
The unceasing determination of the Palestinian people, against colonialism and under decades of occupation, has inspired generations of students and activists. It is their struggle which many of our campaigns here in the UK draw their energy, with the wave of protest against Israel’s 2008/09 ‘Cast Lead’ massacre in Gaza revitalising the UK student movement which later mobilised against the tuition fee increases in 2010.
Whilst the liberation of Palestine can only ever come through the resistance of the Palestinian people themselves, international solidarity plays an important part; and as always, students have remained at the forefront of this solidarity. Asserting our influence as students, as consumers, as people of conscience and members of a global society, we can make tangible steps in supporting the Palestinian struggle for freedom by making our colleges and universities places of learning free from complicity with apartheid. In doing so we are acting in a proud tradition of internationalism and shared values that has defined our student movement, and marked the history of the NUS – going back to its role in supporting the Black struggle against white-ruled South African apartheid, as commemorated by NUS’ former base of operations at Nelson Mandela House, in London.
This month we also mark one year since Israel’s ‘Protective Edge’ assault on Gaza last summer, where over 2,200 Palestinians were murdered over a 51-day attack from air, sea and ground against a civilian population. Protective Edge awakened a new generation of young people and students globally, committed to supporting the decades-long Palestinian struggle.
With this handbook and over the next academic year, we hope to see the energy of this generation focussed into vibrant campaigns across campuses and communities!
Piers Telemacque, NUS VP Society & Citizenship
Malia Bouattia, NUS Black Students’ Officer
Please make your order here: http://bit.ly/1Tq4HOd
(Please note that due to availability, multiple orders from members of the same Students’ Union may allocated on a first-come-first-served basis)