Italy shows growing sign of support for BDS Call
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Italy shows growing sign of support for BDS Call

***image2***Fathy Khdirat, coordinator of the Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign for the Jordan Valley, has finished a successful tour of various cities throughout Italy. Participating in Biella at the concluding seminar of a series of events focusing on Palestine as well as in meetings with social groups and media, he witnessed a growing trend in Italy for the isolation of Apartheid Israel.

Rome was the beginning of the tour with meetings with social movements and independent media. Fathy Khdirat highlighted the Zionist plans to ghettoize the Palestinian people and elaborated on the dramatic situation in the Jordan Valley. He further insisted on the moral responsibility of European activists to take concrete steps to end the complicity of their governments and institutions with Israeli crimes. He urged Italian movements and activists to take up the calls from Palestine and engage in effective and concrete campaigns of boycott, divestment and sanctions.

A full hall of students greeted a lecture at the University in Pisa and sparked discussions on ways to implement a BDS campaign at various levels (from consumer boycott to the campaigns against military cooperation with the Occupation). Some of the students highlighted past experiences, including the protests against a representative of the Apartheid Israeli embassy, Cohen. In 2004, the University had scheduled a lecture for Cohen to talk about “Israel” as an example of democracy coming at the very moment when the massacres in Gaza were ongoing. Students promptly protested and successfully interrupted the lecture. The organizers of the initiative highlighted that the series of meetings organized in Tuscany had stimulated new discussions about solidarity actions.

In Biella, a two-day global conference concluded a circle of meetings on Palestine. Discussions focused on the current situation within the Palestinian political system and Zionist plans after the elections. Moreover, the refugees received considerable attention as well as the ongoing ethnic cleansing policies. The second part of the seminar focused on ways forward. Jamil Hilal discussed the end of the two state solution while Mazin Qumsiyeh proposed a new global movement against apartheid. Concrete forms of BDS as a popular form of resistance was also discussed. (For more see: )

The organizers of the seminar also held several BDS events in various occasions. In February 2006 they managed to put a huge floating balloon at the river in Turin during the Olympic Games. The float boldly proclaimed “Free Palestine – Boycott Israel”. A national BDS meeting is planned for early September.

The tour has highlighted that new and old solidarity activists in Italy are once again actively striving to build a movement to Isolate Apartheid Israel with fresh momentum and stronger coordination.