Sun Mar 1, 2015 10:48AM
An increasing number of American students are joining BDS, a decade-old movement for boycotting Israeli goods in the US.
An increasing number of American students are joining BDS, a decade-old movement for boycotting Israeli goods in the US.

A decade-old movement for boycotting Israeli goods in the United States is gaining momentum at American universities, a report says.

An increasing number of American students are now joining the Boycott-Divestment-Sanction movement, refusing to sell off stock since January with student governments at some universities taking divestment votes, the Associated Press reported on Saturday.

Student governments at five of the 10 University of California campuses have voted for divestment. Two more, Santa Cruz and Davis, did the same, but the votes were thrown out over procedural issues.

In addition, divestment has gained, since December, the support of the labor union UAW2865 which represents thousands of teaching assistants and workers for the entire UC as well as the UC Students Association representing student government bodies statewide.

The movement, based on the campaign against the former Apartheid regime in South Africa, grew from a 2005 international call from Palestinian groups, and aims to increase pressure on Israel to bring to a halt its expansionist policies including building settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Lectures and workshops have been organized by college activists against Israel and in support of Palestine, with protests being held to ridicule Israeli military checkpoints and West Bank separation barrier, which activists call an "Israel apartheid wall."

In addition, flash mobs have been performing the dabke, an Arabic folk dance, in order to underscore the Palestinian culture.

Advocates write op-eds to appear on campus newspapers, requesting protection for Palestinian human rights. The op-eds also accuse Israel of employing colonialism and racism.

"It helps get the plight of the Palestinian people into mainstream discourse," said Taher Herzallah, national campus coordinator for advocacy group American Muslims for Palestine.

The movement has also gained support in European countries. Israeli officials have been concerned by the campaign, saying it's aimed at isolating Tel Aviv.

AT/HRJ