By Naomi Klein
In 2005, Palestinians called on the world to boycott Israel until it complied with international law. What if we had listened?
Exactly 15 years ago this week, I published an article in the Guardian. It began like this:
Enough. It’s time for a boycott
It’s time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa. In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on ‘people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era’. The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions was born.
Back in January 2009, Israel had unleashed a shocking new stage of mass killing in the Gaza Strip, calling its ferocious bombing campaign Operation Cast Lead. It killed 1,400 Palestinians in 22 days; the number of casualties on the Israeli side was 13. That was the last straw for me, and after years of reticence I came out publicly in support of the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights, known as BDS.