A Pakistani campaign of solidarity with the Palestinian people has just been launched in Lahore. As its first action of solidarity, the campaign calls on Pakistani academics and cultural workers–artists, poets, writers, singers and filmmakers–to join the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel that is spreading around the world.
We are focusing initially on endorsing the boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, as called for by the PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel). In the wake of the recent slaughter in Gaza in winter 2008-09, we oppose any kind of normalization of relations between Pakistan and Israel, including normalization of Israeli discourse about terrorism that masks the realities of occupation and the denial of human rights. We wish to send a message to the Palestinian people who suffer daily dispossession and denial of their rights to sovereignty, that Pakistani people of conscience support them in their struggle for justice and equality as men and women, children and youth, workers and the working poor. We are fully aware that Israel is aided by the economic and military might of the United States, and we oppose their imperialist designs and aggressions that are enabling violence and devastating the region.
Why we believe such a campaign is necessary here in Pakistan:
1. Israel’s policies are being normalized through the presence in Pakistan of
International/Jewish American organizations that are funding NGO’s and groups and supporting a pro-Israel agenda American spokespersons and academics that are advocating Israeli positions, and, products made in Israel that are marketed by American and European organizations.
2. There is a normalization of Israel’s brutal policies under the guise of “counter-terrorism” by media commentators and members of the military and political establishment who, implicitly and explicitly, valorize the Israeli military.
All these attempts aim at justifying Israeli crimes and pacifying solidarity with Palestinians among Pakistanis.
We believe this campaign is part of a larger effort to re-energize ethical political engagement in Pakistan and the region, with the aim of opposing American imperialist policies and its favored Israeli enabler in the Third World. This campaign aims at channeling the potential for Third World solidarity in an attempt to resist American and Israeli hegemony in the Middle East and Pakistan.
The Palestinian movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (representing the overwhelming majority among Palestinian civil society parties, labor unions, networks and organizations) emphasizes fundamental Palestinian rights, sanctioned by international law and universal human rights principles, that ought to be respected by Israel to end the boycott. The principles of PACBI state:
“In light of Israel’s persistent violations of international law, and Given that, since 1948, hundreds of UN resolutions have condemned Israel’s colonial and discriminatory policies as illegal and called for immediate, adequate and effective remedies, and Given that all forms of international intervention and peace-making have until now failed to convince or force Israel to comply with humanitarian law, to respect fundamental human rights and to end its occupation and oppression of the people of Palestine, and In view of the fact that people of conscience in the international community have historically shouldered the moral responsibility to fight injustice, as exemplified in the struggle to abolish apartheid in South Africa through diverse forms of boycott, divestment and sanctions;
Inspired by the struggle of South Africans against apartheid and in the spirit of international solidarity, moral consistency and resistance to injustice and oppression, We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. These non-violent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”
[For more information: http://www.pacbi.org/campaign_statement.htm]
The campaign calls on all those in Pakistan who support these principles listed above to join the campaign.
Please contact us at:
Cell phones: 0344-4648479 & 0323-4160352
Email address: PakistanisForPalestine[at]gmail.com
Sponsors of the Pakistani campaign of solidarity with the Palestinian people:
Qalandar Memon, FC College, Lahore
Khalid Mahmood, Labour Education Foundation, Lahore
Kashif Aslam, Labour Party of Pakistan, Lahore
Maqsood Mujahid, Labour Party of Pakistan, Lahore
Amanullah Kariapper, Young Professionals, Lahore
Cindy Zahnd, LUMS, Lahore
Farooq Tariq, Labour Party of Pakistan, Lahore
Niaz Khan, Carpet Workers Union of Pakistan, Lahore
Magid Shihade, LUMS, Lahore
Ziyad Faisal, National Students Federation, Lahore
Sunaina Maira, UC Davis, visiting academic in Lahore
Labour Party Pakistan
40-Abbot Road Lahore, Pakistan
Tel: 92 42 6315162 Fax: 92 42 6271149 Mobile: 92 300 8411945
labour_party[at]yahoo.com www.laborpakistan.org www.jeddojuhd.com