In Defense of a Divestment Campaign Against Israel

by Francis Boyle

During the drafting of the Palestinian Declaration of Independence, the Palestinians carefully studied the American Declaration of Independence as well as the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic. As can be seen from the text of their Declaration, the Palestinians deliberately patterned their Declaration upon Jefferson’s document.

In other words, the Palestinians purposefully sought to communicate with Americans in terms the Palestinians thought the Americans could readily comprehend and sympathize with. There are good grounds to believe that their message has finally gotten through and been well received.

During the course of a public lecture I gave at Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal on 30 November 2000 at the request of Professor Jamal Nassar, Chair of their Political Science Department, I issued a call for the establishment of a nationwide campaign of divestment/disinvestment against Israel, which I later put on the internet.

In response thereto, the Students for Justice in Palestine of the University of California at Berkeley launched a divestment campaign against Israel there.

Then the City of Ann Arbor Michigan considered divesting from Israel. Next, the Palestinian Students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (whom I am privileged to advise) launched an Israeli divestment campaign here.

As of last count, over 30 campuses in the United States have organized divestment/disinvestment campaigns against Israel. This grassroots Movement is taking off!

Concerned citizens and governments all over the world must organize a comprehensive campaign of economic divestment and disinvestment from Israel along the same lines of what they did to the former criminal apartheid regime in South Africa. This original worldwide divestment/disinvestment campaign played a critical role in dismantling the criminal apartheid regime in South Africa.

A worldwide divestment/disinvestment campaign against Israel will play a critical role in dismantling its criminal apartheid regime against the Palestinian People living in occupied Palestine as well as in Israel itself.

For much the same reasons, a worldwide divestment/disinvestment campaign against Israel can produce an historic reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians–just as it successfully did between Whites and Blacks in South Africa. This new divestment/disinvestment campaign should provide the Palestinians with enough economic and political leverage needed to negotiate a just and comprehensive peace settlement with the Israelis–just as it did for the Blacks in South Africa.

Today the Republic of South Africa stands as a Beacon of Hope for Peoples and States all over the world. The same could be true for Palestine and Israel.

Francis Boyle is Professor of International Law Legal at Illinois University, an advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization on Creation of the State of Palestine (1987-1989) Legal Advisor to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations (1991-1993) Sometime Legal Advisor to the Provisional Government of the State of Palestine. He is the author of The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence, just published by Clarity Press.

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