Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – The heating up of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has made many people give different reactions. One thing that often happens is boycotts.
Usually boycotts are carried out by Palestinian supporters of products or companies supporting Israel. In the latest case, for example, happened to McDonald’s Israel.
The restaurant openly stated that it had sent food packages to Israeli soldiers fighting against Hamas militants. As a result, as a reaction, there were calls for a boycott of McDonald’s.
Basically, boycotts are carried out to put pressure on Israel in the economic and political realm so that the occupation of Palestine can end. Boycotts are basically organized propaganda carried out at the global level.
So, how could this happen? Who is the initiator?
Globally, this boycott action is also known as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. First launched in July 2005 by 170 grassroots groups and supporters of Palestinian independence.
From that group, there was a central figure who obeyed The Guardian is the founder of BDS, namely Omar Barghouti. He is a man born in Qatar in 1964 who later became a Palestinian citizen who has lived in Israel since 1994.
He made the decision to become an Israeli resident after marrying a woman of Israeli-Arab descent in 1993. However, even though he has legally settled and has an Israeli ID card, which is a legal Israeli resident, this does not mean that Omar’s loud voice regarding the situation in Palestine has faded.
For him, living in Israel is the best moment. He became increasingly vocal about the oppression that had occurred so far.
In an interview with The Intercept, Omar considers the oppression of Palestinians by the military or Israeli citizens to be a serious threat. This is because every day he sees many Israeli citizens who are racist and often commit acts of violence against Palestinians.
Realizing that he was living amidst racism, Omar was moved to voice non-violent resistance. From here, the BDS movement was born.
Omar himself commands the Israeli boycott group in the academic and cultural spheres (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, PACBI). As reported Timethe emergence of BDS was inspired by the Apartheid political events in South Africa when black residents experienced oppression by white immigrants.
After hundreds of years of oppression, black people always fought for equality until they finally succeeded in overthrowing white domination in the 1990s. It is this struggle that Omar will emulate in the BDS movement.
He believes that one day the struggle of the Palestinian people will also bear sweet fruit. On this basis, the official website states that the aim of BDS is not only to pressure Israel in the economic realm, but also to restore the rights and dignity of Palestinians in accordance with international law.
The journey is not easy
As the main BDS activist, Omar often travels abroad to voice this action. Many parties then supported Omar’s steps.
With the help of media reports, the BDS movement has become popular with those who support Palestinian independence. In many countries, including Indonesia, there are already local BDS movements affiliated with BDS centers.
The BDS movement in each country is united in boycotting products or companies supporting Israel. However, on the other hand, this movement clearly made the Israeli government or those who are pro-Israel hot.
Photo: AP/Nasser Nasser
Omar Barghouti (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
Practically, Omar’s footsteps became an easy target. Even so, Omar admitted that the BDS movement created in Israel did not violate state law because there was no legal basis in the Jewish state that prohibited boycotts.
“However, the government continues to look for ways to intimidate, oppress and silence me in other ways,” said the man who graduated from Tel Aviv University.
Until finally, the government found a way to endanger Omar’s life. Namely the revocation of residency rights which resulted in him being expelled from Israel.
Not only that, since 2016, Omar has also been required to report if he wants to go abroad. In fact, in 2019, Omar was prohibited from entering even an inch of US soil by Uncle Sam’s authorities.
Even so, restrictions on Omar’s physical movements have not reduced his activism. He may be ‘caged’ by the government, but not his thoughts.
He recently wrote an opinion piece in The Guardian about the Israel-Hamas conflict entitled “Why I Believe the BDS Movement has Never Been More Important Than Now”.
According to him, the ethical obligation during a massacre is to act to end complicity. This action is intended to strengthen the BDS movement as one of the best ways that can be taken.
“Only in this way can we truly hope to end oppression and violence. […] we aspire to live in a more just world, without rankings of suffering, without hierarchies of human value, and where the rights and dignity of each person are valued and upheld,” wrote Omar.
Omar’s ideals are indeed noble. However, one thing that is worth paying attention to is the effectiveness of the BDS movement. On its official website, BDS claims that many countries, well-known groups or individuals have taken part in boycotting Israel.
Unfortunately, on the other hand, there are many analysts who call BDS complete nonsense. Because, since it was launched in 2005, Israel has not gone bankrupt and oppression in Palestine is still ongoing.