No, this isn't a War Diary. So you can feel free to read on.
If anything, this is a Peace Diary. Because it explains how you can help to be a force for Peace, Human Rights, and Dignity for an oppressed People who have been forced to live as stateless persons for almost 70 years.
This diary lays out the case for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement which has the goal of forcing Israel to end its Apartheid practices, negotiate in good faith with the Palestinian People, and bring an end to the status-quo situation which permits the continuing theft of Palestinian land and resources by the occupier of those people.
Since the start of the current massacre, I have seen lots of people asking "How can I help?" Of course, helping with the current Humanitarian Crisis should be done through the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and/or the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East. Good, honest, and hard-working groups are these.
The most immediate and pressing need is to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians who have been bombed, rocketed, and shelled out of their homes, refugee camps, and UN-designated shelters. The attackers have destroyed hospitals, UN facilities, the one (inadequate) power station in Gaza, water treatment facilities, sewage treatment facilities, and anything else which would give the ordinary Palestinian living in Gaza the most basic needs of human life.
And, given time and enough money from everybody else in the world, these facilities will likely be restored some day. Until the next time Netanyahu needs to whip up fear and nationalism in the Israeli people and blows all that new infrastructure to smithereens again.
There is a peaceful way to help prevent such a disaster from happening yet a fourth (fifth?) time. Let's explore that idea together in the next part of this.
The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement was born in 2005 as a way to permit the people of the world to help the Palestinians in their quest to end Apartheid and gain a state of their own. It is a NON-VIOLENT method of getting the Israelis to abide by International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights.
No bombs, no rockets, no artillery, no mortars, no tanks, no bullets, no violence. Hell, not even the frightening "harshly-worded letter" is involved. You don't have to make a phone call to a deaf Congresscritter or sign a petition or even give anybody your email address!
It is EXACTLY the same method that was used successfully against the Apartheid government of South Africa. It's been proven effective and it works.
And it won't cost you a dime to participate!
Take a minute to read this very informative article by Rafeef Ziadah, a human rights activist with the Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions National Committee and Senior Campaigns Officer at the British charity, War on Want. It will lay things out for you properly and in a way which saves space here.
HOW can you help? Simple! You just make buying choices designed to help put and keep pressure for change on the nation which needs to stop oppressing, occupying, and denying basic human rights to the Palestinian People. Buy this instead of that. Easy, right? And you wouldn't believe HOW easy it can be! More on that in a little bit.
Just so you understand that you're not alone in this (and to trumpet just a few of the successes this movement has had) permit me to list a few groups and individuals who are already part of this:
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has divested itself of certain stocks.
The US United Methodist Church has divested with this statement:
According to David Wildman, United Methodist Executive Secretary for Human Rights and Racial Justice at the General Board of Global Ministries, “This is the first time that a United Methodist general agency has included human rights violations related to Israel’s illegal settlements and military occupation in a decision to divest from a company. We celebrate this strong human rights message both to G4S specifically and to other companies whose business operations support longstanding human rights abuses against Palestinians.”Just announced today, Ireland's largest grocery and food distributor, SuperValu, has withdrawn Israeli products from its shelves. LINK.
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA voted to divest from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions because of their provision of equipment and services to Israel’s occupation.
Soros Fund Management, the family office of the billionaire investor George Soros, has sold its stake in SodaStream, the soda making appliance producer that profits from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. LINK
From the article I linked earlier by Rafeef Ziadah:
In the last 12 months, a groundswell of European investors, including Dutch pension giants PGGM and ABP; Danske Bank, Denmark’s biggest bank; Norwegian bank Nordea; and state pension funds in Norway and Luxembourg have all divested from Israeli military companies, banks or companies involved in settlement construction. Even the EU and its member states have taken measures to limit government and private-sector relations with Israeli settlements.Yes, Stephen Hawking has joined the boycott. Smart guy, that Hawking fellow - or so I've been told.
Additionally, the student bodies of universities around the world have voted to boycott and/or divest.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, the South African activist who fought to end apartheid, has joined a worldwide campaign calling on corporations profiting from Israel's occupation of Palestinian Territories to pull out their funding.
Additionally, there are thousands and thousands - millions, even - of voices who have joined to call for the non-violent economic, academic, and cultural isolation of Israel to get it to comply with International Law and respect the basic Human Rights of the Palestinians.
Even Spain has frozen military exports TO Israel.
I could list the trade unions in the EU and other organizations and well-known individuals, but you get the idea. If you need more examples, there are lots more to find in the Google-thingy.
Also, Kossack Flyswatterbanjo wrote a damn fine diary about BDS with lots more good and useful links right here. Read that for additional info. It's a helluva good diary.
So what does all this come down to? Choose with just a little bit of care what you decide to buy, and BAM! - you're part of the movement. That's all there is to it. Every little buying decision you make is added to the buyinig decisions of millions of others around the world, and it all adds up to real and helpful pressure on the offending nation. Every small action helps, so don't think that you can't have an impact here. And the boycott is NOT a permanent thing. Just as with South Africa, it disappears when the oppressor agrees to comply with the rules of human decency.
Now for the easy part. There exists for smartphone users something called the Buycott App. You can download it for Apple's iOS or the Android Operating System, plug in your cause, and scan barcodes while you shop. How easy is THAT?
Oh, and one last item to cover. This is important. The Cheerleading Team for Israel is going to show up in comments and do a couple of things. You're going to read that you can't buy Intel-chipped computers (or will have to throw away the one you have) because that US-based company has a facility in Israel. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Intel is an American company with facilities all over the planet. They do a little R&D in Israel, but it isn't their primary business location and certainly not their primary manufacturing facility. Take your information from the movement, not from those who hate the movement. Also, ignore the comments from these same "usual suspects" who will try to deflect, inflame, hijack, and otherwise troll the diary. Just ignore them. Don't reply. Don't refute. Don't Feed 'Em.
If you REALLY want to help the Palestinian People long-term, join BDS.