How to Help Palestine as a US Resident


ICNA CSJ

Date published: Tue, 21 November 23


For many, witnessing the destruction of Gaza and the horrific crimes of Israel has led to a state of hopelessness and helplessness. Many are unsure of how to help Palestinians, and specifically Gaza, as the flow of donations and aid is difficult. However, as US residents, there are many actions you can take to help Palestinians. Below is a guide on some actions you can take.

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. BDS is a movement 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: HP, Siemens, Puma, Sodastream, Sabra, Ahava Cosmetics. 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. Attend protests

Attending protests is very important – protests show visible support of a cause. The National March for Palestine on November 4 was estimated to have been attended by over 400,000 people. This visible support shows the world, Palestinians, and government leaders that people care about Palestine. Participate in shutdown days, where organizations call for people to walk out of school/work, attend a protest, and cease from buying anything. 

3. Put pressure on politicians

Tell elected officials to end the siege of Gaza, and to stop US support to Israel. 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. Urge your representatives to end US aid to Israel.

4. 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. 

5. 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 Decolonize Palestine. Take some time to read the books on this list, and to understand the occupation. Follow Palestinians on social media, especially journalists from Gaza, listen to what they have to say, and be an advocate for them when necessary. 

We cannot tolerate the Israel genocide of Gaza any longer. We must take actions as those living in the West. We, as average people, can make a change in the way our countries, communities, friends, and family view Palestine.