Rush transcript: Michael Deas, Europe coordinator with National Palestinian BDS Committee
Audio link The Electronic Intifada: Let’s have you assess the last eight years of the BDS movement — how it’s grown since that initial call, and what it looks like now.
Michael Deas: What I think is really exciting is that BDS is now recognized as one of, if not the most important and effective tools of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. When the BDS call was launched in 2005, lots of solidarity groups and solidarity networks endorsed and took the BDS call as one of their main frameworks of action.
But those groups didn’t just endorse the call, they built BDS campaigns and the built effective BDS campaigns, and they went out and they won support for those campaigns — from trade unions and faith groups, and celebrities and so on. And what we have now is we have BDS winning huge amounts of support from those types of organizations like unions and faith groups and NGOs and political parties and so on, and BDS is increasingly being recognized in the mainstream media and elsewhere, as a key force and a key actor.
I think one of the main things that stands out about the growth of the BDS movement is that it really emerged all across the world as a result of grassroots organizing. Whether it’s things like artists, like Elvis Costello, or Roger Waters from Pink Floyd, refusing to play, or companies like Veolia losing millions of dollars worth of contracts because of its complicity with Israeli apartheid, all of these things in the BDS movement have become successful because of the work that’s been done by people giving up their time to organize at the grassroots level.
That’s really in contrast to Israel’s well-funded hasbara machine, and it means that we now have a movement with a lot of in-built strength and a lot of potential for continued growth and effectiveness. more