An event that Muslims fear during every Ramadan is the annual Israeli attack on Palestinians. During the convergence of Passover, Ramadan, and Easter, Israeli police used tear gas and stun grenades against Palestinian worshippers at Al-Aqsa. Medical officials said that 150 Palestinians were injured during the attack, while hundreds of Palestinians were arrested. Horrific videos show Israeli police beating Palestinian worshippers with batons, as chaos and tension escalate. During this weekend celebration of Orthodox Easter, Israeli police blocked Palestinian Christians from entering the Holy Sepulchre church. Israel is not liberal in its attacks on Palestinians, attacking them “coincidentally” during holy times.
During events like this, it is important as always to show support for Palestinians. You may think it’s hard to take action, but as American citizens or residents of the Global North, it’s strategically important for us to show dissent in support of Israel – our tax dollars fund Israel’s apartheid state, and we must stand against it.
Here are some things you can do to support Palestinians and end the apartheid state of Israel:
1. Support Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) on Israel
BDS is a movement to boycott against Israel until it complies with international law and Universal Principles of Human Rights. It is aimed to curb international support for Israel because all forms of international intervention and peace-making have failed in making Israel comply with humanitarian law. Palestinians explicitly call for BDS, so BDS should be the first thing on anyone’s list when thinking about how to support Palestinians.
On the BDS list, here are companies you should avoid: Home Depot, Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch, Express, Kmart, Land’s End, Wal-Mart. You can find the full list on BDS’ website here.
BDS support has worked in the past, and can continue to work in the future! Chile suspended a free trade agreement over the Gaza massacre, the Kuwait government has boycotted 50 companies that are linked to occupation, and Israel’s state water has lost contracts due to BDS. This sort of pressure by average people on Israel is a great way to support Palestinians.
2. Put pressure on politicians
Tell elected officials to end the blockade of Gaza. There has been a blockade on Gaza for over 16 years, which has caused generational impact on the lives of Palestinians. Every year, the US gives Israel $3.8 billion in military funding. The US provides Israel money even though Israel does not stick to the US positions on peace in Palestine. The US is complicit in apartheid, it is funding the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people.
3. Write to companies
In addition to supporting BDS, put pressure on companies and corporations to hold them accountable for their role in violating the rights of Palestinians. There are companies in the BDS list who explicitly profit from occupation and apartheid of Israel. Make sure that the money you are earning and spending is not contributing to the occupation of another.
4. Listen and learn from Palestinians
With a violent settler-colonial state like Israel, it is a given that the media will uplift Israeli narratives whilst silencing Palestinians. To support Palestinians, you must stand up, speak out, and listen to Palestinian voices.
The American Friends Service Committee says, “It is likely that addressing this topic will raise political sensitivities and political concerns among members of your faith community. The best way to address these concerns while promoting learning and action is to take time to listen to Palestinians and Israelis and to learn about the ways in which Israelis and Palestinians are impacted by violence and human rights violations today.”
Here is a list of recommended readings and media on Gaza and Palestine, compiled by the American Friends Service Committee. Take some time to read this, and to understand the occupation. Follow Palestinians on social media, listen to what they have to say, and be an advocate for them when necessary.
The Palestinian cause is one that we must always support; brutal settler-colonialism should not be tolerated for any longer. We, as average people, can make a change in the way our countries, communities, friends, and family view Palestine. By making a legitimate effort to follow the tenants of BDS and supporting Palestinians, we can see a free Palestine soon.