JfJfP statement on BDS

December 24, 2015
Sarah Benton



JfJfP executive committee
December 23, 2015

Jews for Justice for Palestinians is a voluntary network of Jews in Britain supporting the struggle for Palestinian rights.

We are committed to the principles of human rights, justice and equality. We oppose all those Israeli policies and actions that undermine the livelihoods, and human, civil and political rights of the Palestinian people both in the Occupied Territories (namely the areas outside the ‘Green Line’ which are controlled by Israel: the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights) and within Israel itself.

JfJfP campaigns in three ways: working within the Jewish community; developing solidarity actions with and alongside other groups; and engaging with British, EU, US and international officials and elected representatives.

JfJfP regards its Jewish identity as central to its campaigning. We celebrate the humanitarian values of Judaism, and see the Israeli state’s many abuses of human rights as a profound assault on these values. JfJfP is proud to promote its boycott, divestment and sanctions policy as a peaceful, effective and, above all, ethical set of tools for campaigning against Israel’s oppressive policies and actions.

JfJfP’s boycott policy is not targeted at Israel per se and in no way delegitimises Israel. It is aimed at institutions and organisations, both Israeli and from other countries, which implement, are implicated in or collaborate with this oppression. We call our policy ‘smart boycotting’ and it comprises the following elements:

1. Building our boycott, divestment and sanctions work specifically on the Occupation and  Israeli policies that undermine the livelihoods, human and civil rights of the Palestinian people, and

2. Selecting our campaigns on a case-by-case basis

3. Using our campaigning to target identifiable institutions and organisations, or parts of institutions or organisations

4. Identifying and agreeing desired outcomes from such campaigns

5. Retaining the flexibility to identify changes in the way Israel operates its Occupation policy, and the impact it has on civil society within Israel and being ready to respond with new targeted boycott campaigns that address these changes.

JfJfP’s campaigning has, for many years, concentrated on commercial organisations which profit directly from the Occupation (e.g. boycotting growers of settlement-produced food products being sold in British supermarkets; supporting divestment from companies that operate in settlements or sell equipment that is used in the occupation, in particular, building and security companies, and companies that make arms sales to Israel; opposing trade fairs where Israeli settlement property is marketed). We also support suspension of preferential treatment for Israel under the EU -Israel Association Agreement until Israel respects the human rights provisions in the agreement.

We have taken part in the campaigning against Ahava, G4S, Elbit Weapons Systems and Motorola, and have been prominent in lobbying in Brussels regarding the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

JfJfP acknowledges how, after nearly half a century, the Occupation has become intertwined with Israel’s social and political fabric. We take into account the effect of Israel’s policy of ‘normalising’ and incorporating the Occupation, and its direct impact on many aspects of civil society within Israel itself. Consequently, our campaigning around boycott, divestment and sanctions has extended beyond commercial organisations to include many other Israeli institutions which may not be straightforwardly commercial, or even commercial at all, but are intimately associated with settlement development and legitimation.

Examples include:

• Israeli arts institutions that perform in the settlements or at military posts providing settlement security or serving checkpoints (e.g. Israel Philharmonic, Habima Theatre)

• Israeli university departments funded by and/or collaborating with weapons manufacturers

• The Israeli Medical Association which has explicitly denied the well documented evidence of Israeli doctors covering up the abuse of Palestinian prisoners, including children

• Sports organisations which discriminate against Palestinians

In Summary

JfJfP’s ‘smart’ boycott policy can be applied to any institution, organisation or part of institution or organisation, that is implicated in the Occupation or otherwise undermines Palestinian human rights.

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