Reimagine Co has previously declared our support for the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement. At this time of renewed attacks on the Palestinian people on an unprecedented scale, we urge London businesses, institutions and community groups to join Reimagine Co in declaring themselves Apartheid Free Zones and committing not to sell products from the illegal Israeli settlements or from any company that profits from violations of Palestinian human rights.
Palestinian civil society has called for a General Strike and Day of Action on Tuesday, May 18th. The General Strike and Day of Action call is to either 1) host an action at the Israeli consulate or Embassy in your region, 2) hold a protest or vigil for Palestinians killed by Israeli terror, 3) make a public commitment to Palestinian liberation and BDS, or 4) call on your governments to place sanctions on Israel.
What is an Apartheid Free Zone?
(Source: bdsmovement.net) Inspired by the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, the Apartheid Free Zone (AFZ) campaign seeks to foster the creation of spaces free of Israel’s apartheid, including settler colonialism and military occupation, that oppresses the Palestinian people. As citizens and people of conscience, we want to ensure that the spaces in which we participate do not contribute to maintaining an apartheid regime or benefit from grave human rights violations.
An organisation that wants to become an Apartheid Free Zone commits to refraining from any kind of support or assistance to the Israeli apartheid regime. This objective can be achieved through a number of initiatives, for example, by ending contracts with companies that are providing support to Israel’s flagrant human rights violations, by ending trade with the illegal Israeli settlements, or by endorsing the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) guidelines.
Building alliances for freedom, justice and equality
Being an Apartheid Free Zone implies overall a principled commitment to the equal rights of every human being and promotes the creation of spaces of proactive international solidarity, free of racism, discrimination, domination and oppression. Initiatives to create apartheid free zones can therefore build joint initiatives or create broad alliances with other social justice movements promoting the same principles.
About the BDS movement
The global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights was initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005.
For decades, Israel has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination through ethnic cleansing, colonization, racial discrimination, and military occupation. Despite abundant condemnation of Israeli policies by the UN, other international bodies, and preeminent human rights organisations, the world community has failed to hold Israel accountable and enforce compliance with basic principles of law. Israel’s crimes have continued with impunity. In view of this continued failure, Palestinian civil society has called for a global citizens’ response.
The campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is shaped by a rights-based approach and highlights the three broad sections of the Palestinian people: the refugees, those under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Palestinians in Israel.
The call urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:
- Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
- Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
- Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.
The BDS call has been endorsed by over 170 Palestinian political parties, organizations, trade unions and movements. The signatories represent the refugees, Palestinians in the OPT, and Palestinian citizens of Israel.
How you can participate in the campaign
- We invite other London businesses, institutions and community groups to join us in formally denouncing Israel's illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories, declaring themselves Apartheid Free Zones, and joining the global BDS campaign. If you are a local business owner, or if you know a business or group that supports this movement, please get in touch.
- Check if the local stores you shop at are selling, for example, dates, herbs, wine or vegetables from the illegal Israeli settlements and explain to the owner why this is unacceptable. Ask owners to declare their shops an AFZ and ask if you can distribute some brochures or materials in the store.
- Join the People For Peace, London Facebook group to learn more about the BDS campaign and upcoming actions in London
Want to get involved with our campaign to create a network of AFZ’s in London? Curious and want to know more? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also see these statements that were released at the same time as this one: