At the Annual General Meeting of Bradford's Palestine Solidarity Campaign, it became clear that the local group had excelled themselves. Rukaiya Collector, of the National Executive of PSC, explained how the campaign to ask wholesalers to stop stocking Israeli goods was a groundbreaking initiative.
The Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign is a classic tactic of Non-violent direct action, and it has gained ground in the last 5 years around the issue of Israel/Palestine. Here in Bradford, activists have been asking Muslim stores to not sell Israeli dates, especially during Ramadan. The campaign has been quite effective, though there are still many stores who do not seem to care where their produce comes from, even if they recognise that they shouldn't be supporting the Israeli economy.
Rukaiya hopes that other parts of the country could follow Bradford's example, and that the BDS campaign can grow till the point that even the business community in Israel puts pressure on the Government to stop its atrocities in the occupied lands and seek a realistic peace settlement.
Things are changing, Egypt is beginning to lift restrictions on Gaza; a new wave of democratic youth movements is forcing the old Palestinian leadership to unite rather than fight amongst themselves; and the Israeli government heads towards pariah state for its killing of Palestinians and arrogant denial of human rights in the region.
Israel cannot keep playing the 'anti-semitic' card against the BDS campaign or any criticism of its policies. It needs to engage in a pragmatic and peaceful diplomacy, it needs to recognise the rights of the Palestinian people to live in peace and with dignity. We must struggle against injustice with every non-violent tool at our disposal.
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