Italy rallies for BDS
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Italy rallies for BDS

The first annual Global BDS Day of Action, which coincided with Land Day on 30 March, was a major success in Italy, where several campaigns and initiatives were launched and awareness-raising activities took place throughout the country. This has been the largest mobilization in Italy to date, marking a milestone for BDS in the country.

***image3***An Italian trade union FIOM, a part of the CIJL, the largest of the three main trade union confederations in the country, announced its support for BDS, becoming the first union in the country to publicly support the movement. Activists from several different cities also came together to call for the suspension of all military ties between Israel and Italy, especially in light of the massacre in Gaza earlier this year.

Other important events took place in Milan, where a group of activists used the Day of Action as the opportune moment to announce their joining of the worldwide BDS movement. As their first initiative, the group, called Boicotta Israel, launched a local campaign against the multinational corporation Alstom. Along with Veolia, Alstom is complicit in the Judaization of Jerusalem through its construction of the light rail line that will connect the city with surrounding settlements.

Over the course of several days, Milan was the site of several other actions as well, including leafleting and hanging Palestinian flags and banners condemning Zionist aggression in front of shops and supermarkets; occupying street corners for protests; and placing boycott stickers on Israeli products. A group of activists also staged a demonstration to protest Milan’s twinning arrangement with Tel Aviv, and to demand an end to the practice of bringing Occupation military personnel to the city to train local police forces. Several activists also spoke at the city council about the importance of BDS and the reasons for the flurry of activity around March 30th.

Meanwhile, in Palermo, the Committee for Solidarity with Iraqi and Palestinian Resistance organized a sit-in in front of the Teatro Massimo. The sit-in lasted for five hours, and also involved leafleting, as well as a photo exhibit displaying atrocities committed by Occupation forces in Gaza and in Lebanon. A mere 30 minutes into the sit-in, police officers arrived on the scene to try and break up the gathering, but the demonstrators refused to accede to these attempts to silence dissent and continued their show of solidarity late into the evening.

Another BDS campaign was launched in Torino, where demonstrators gathered to protest against the provision of funding for the Friends of the Peres Centre for Peace, an organization that plays the role of apologist for Israeli crimes. Demonstrations were sustained for several days, with actions and awareness-raising activities taking place in front of numerous supermarkets and shopping malls.