Palestinian political analyst gives lecture on the ‘BDS Imperative’

By Sorelle Mbakop

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Yousef Munayyer, a Palestinian American gives a lecture on why imposing costs on Israel is necessary. (Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)

Yousef Munayyer, a Palestinian American gives a lecture on why imposing costs on Israel is necessary. (Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)

Yousef Munayyer, a Palestinian Israeli citizen and political analyst, delivered his “BDS Imperative: Why Imposing Costs on Israel is Necessary” lecture in Hasbrouck Laboratory Monday night.

Munayyer argued that calling for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel (BDS) is important because it carries with it the goals of the Palestinian struggles.

The BDS movement is a tactic of Palestinian resistance, demanding Israel to give Palestinian refugees the rights of return, Palestinians in Israel their rights to full equality as well as self-determination for Palestinians in occupied areas.

According to Munayyer, Palestinian Israeli citizens are often referred to as “demographic threats” and Palestinians in the occupied areas, such as the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, are often discussed as “demographic spill over.”

Munayyer said minorities in Israel – mainly Arabs and Africans – are marginalized and discriminated against on a daily basis as well.

The state of Israel has no incentives to change or take part in a peace agreement because they are profiting from the current system, according to Munayyer. He explained that under the occupations, Israel has been able to monopolize control of its lands’ natural resources, with these resources generating the nation billions of dollars.

“The Israelis do not want to see change, for the same reasons whites did not want to see changes in Alabama … it is a cycle that continues because at the foundation there is inequality,” Munayyer said.

He added that the Israeli government has monopolized political power and is using a system that abuses humans rights. Munnayer said that western countries have enabled Israel to maintain this status quo.

Munayyer disagreed with many individuals who say that violence is the only way to end the occupation. He said that history has shown Palestinians are the ones who pay when the struggle turns violent.

Instead, Munayyer said he wants to see a change in the cost to Israel under the current circumstances. He called on foreign governments and companies to boycott Israel, saying the entire state needs to understand that the settlements and occupations are problematic.
“Anything that shows that the Israeli policies are unwelcomed in the international community is helpful,” he said.

Munayyer added that although most Jewish Israeli citizens don’t interact with the occupation unless they are in the army, he still wants them to join the fight and to look at the situation and say that “we cannot continue with this.”

He said he wants Jewish Israelis to know that, “This is about boycotting the Israeli state, not the Israeli people or Jewish people.” Munnayer said that the participation of Jewish Israelis is crucial.

Emily Miller, a member of the Western Massachusetts Jewish Voice for Peace, said that she “came to the event to support Students for Justice in Palestine and to learn more from the Palestinian perspective.

“It is important for our organization to challenge the notion that there is a U.S. Jewish consensus in support of the government of Israel,” Miller said. “There are many Jewish citizens in Israel and in the United States who do not support the policies of the state of Israel.”

Munayyer said that the most important message students should take away from his talk “is that without pressure, the Israeli state is not going to change its policies of human rights violations and violations of international laws toward Palestinians.”

He continued, “BDS campaigns allow students to organize and effectively target interests that are invested in the Israeli occupation and other Israeli human right(s) abuses and violations of international laws.

“Aside from just seeking out targets that economically invest, it also gives students an opportunity to build coalition, educate new allies and expand the support base for justice on this issue.”

Sorelle Mbakop can be reached at [email protected]