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BDS: In the crosshairs of human rights colonialism

20 49 0
12.11.2019

In his report on antisemitism, presented to the United Nations on October 17, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief Ahmed Shaheed, cited - without rejecting - claims "that the objectives, activities and effects of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] movement are fundamentally antisemitic."

This validation of the assault on BDS is a damning indictment - not of BDS, but of the spurious logic used to impugn it.

The "objectives" and "activities" of the movement are entirely based on international law and the UN's own resolutions: Ending the occupation of Palestinian territory, guaranteeing equality of Palestinian citizens of Israel, and honouring the right of return of refugees.

From an international legal perspective, it is not BDS that should be considered controversial, but Israel's brazen recalcitrance when it comes to respecting basic norms of international law.

As another recent UN publication points out, Israel has implemented less than 0.5 percent of the recommendations prescribed by the UN since 2009 to rectify the crimes of the occupation - making the application of additional mechanisms of economic and political pressure manifestly necessary. The UN itself has identified 192 businesses in likely breach of which break international law by facilitating and profiting from Israel's illegal settlements.

The discrediting of even nonviolent strategies like BDS is tantamount to denying the Palestinians any right to resist being colonised at all.

By erasing the context of the occupation, Shaheed's report perversely manages to present Palestinians as the abusers of human rights rather than the abused.

He references a UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) report expressing concern about antisemitic hate speech in Palestine - but completely neglects to mention that this report begins by acknowledging that "the Israeli occupation, the expansion of settlements and the continued blockade of the Gaza Strip, which are considered unlawful under international law, pose severe challenges for [Palestine] in fully implementing its obligations under the Convention [on Racial Discrimination]."

Shaheed also castigates the "left-wing antisemitism" of "individuals claiming to hold anti-racist and anti-imperialist views". But he is conspicuously silent on the racism inherent........

© Al Jazeera