by Asa Winstanley
Reports on Saturday’s fourth national Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions conference in Bethlehem tended to focus on the shaming of Palestinian Authority minister Jawad Naji (including my own initial one). But the conference itself was a bigger story.
The main reason the audience was so angry with Naji was that the focus throughout the day was on local boycott initiatives. The PA undermines these through its many contacts with Israeli officials and institutions.
Despite the minister’s walk-out and his thugs’ subsequent bloody attack on Nizar Banat (the man who supposedly “insulted” PA leader Mahmoud Abbas), the conference was a vibrant and exciting event.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights today called for an investigation into the attack on Banat.
Several speakers from the platform [PDF] denounced efforts by Israel and its collaborators to normalize the occupation. Many of those who spoke from the floor demanded the PA make laws to punish normalization. Several said the PA was undermining boycott efforts through joint initiatives. An-Najah University economist Yousef Abdul Haqs said of such efforts: “We have breached our boycott movement.” more