The Year 2009 has proved to be a watershed in the growth of the global BDS movement. The massive lethal Israeli war of aggression on the Gaza Strip in late December 2008 and January 2009 galvanized many organized groups and individuals around the world to call for BDS actions as a means to end Israel”s criminal impunity and disregard for international law.
The report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission led by Judge Richard Goldstone, released in September 2009, found strong evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the assault on the Palestinian people in Gaza, and called for holding Israel accountable before international law. That report, and the media attention given to it, moved the terms of international solidarity with Palestine into a new plane, where calling for BDS is no longer considered “unrealistic” or “counterproductive.” BDS is emerging more strongly than ever as a key morally sound and politically realistic strategy for bringing an end to Israel”s impunity and holding it accountable to the same international standards as other nations.
In Palestine, the BDS National Committee (BNC), established in April 2008, has emerged as the principal anchor of the global BDS movement. A wide civil society coalition representing major sectors of Palestinian society in the OPT, inside Israel (1948) and in exile, the BNC has played a leading role in initiating international action, giving advice to BDS activists around the world, and participating in national and international forums. PACBI, which is one of the founders of the BDS movement and a member of its leadership, the BNC, continues to be actively engaged in the global BDS movement, both locally and internationally, on the level of academic and cultural boycott. Members of PACBI”s Steering Committee have participated in many conferences, workshops, lectures, and seminars around the world to promote BDS and form alliances within international civil society. PACBI has also issued a number of important reference documents; it continues to receive positive feedback and requests for advice from artists, academics and activists using this material. The PACBI website, with both English and Arabic pages, is a valuable source of information for BDS campaigns around the world, averaging 750,000 unique visits per year.