Australians for BDS is a group established in response to the call from Palestinian civil society for a nonviolent campaign of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israeli and international organisations involved in the abuse of Palestinian human rights until these organisations comply with their legal obligations under international law. The BDS movement is modeled on the successful campaign against South African apartheid and was launched in 2005 by an unprecedented coalition of over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations including NGOs, unions, professional associations, religious groups, human rights organizations, students groups refugee networks, youth, and cultural organisations.
The BDS movement was launched on the one year anniversary of the landmark 2004 International Court of Justice ruling that found that Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory is illegal under international law particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign works to promote human rights, basic equality, sustainable peace with justice, and democracy in Israel-Palestine.
The BDS campaign follows in the footsteps of similar nonviolent, peaceful and effective movements for social change. Indeed recent research has found that nonviolent campaigns are more than twice as successful in achieving their objectives -whether that be self determination, overthrow of a dictatorship or removal of a foreign occupation- than violent campaigns. Associate Professor Erica Chenoweth at the University of Denver outlines this important research is this TEDx talk:
Australians for BDS has worked closely in support Professor Jake Lynch, Director of the University of Sydney’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS), and Professor Stuart Rees, founder of the Sydney Peace Foundation, in their fight against allegations of racial discrimination due to their support of the Palestinian call for an academic boycott of Israel. On 29 October 2013, an Israeli law firm, Shurat HaDin, launched a legal case against Professor Lynch in the Federal Court of Australia. Shurat HaDin claim that Rees and Lynch are backing racist and discriminatory policies through their support for the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. These accusations were unfounded and intimidatory. They were intended to stifle free speech and democratic dissent in Australia. We reject these baseless claims and reiterate our support for the non-violent Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until Israel fully complies with their legal obligations under international law. In July 2015 Professor Lynch concluded his successful defense in the case, Shurat HaDin abandoned their unfounded claims and unsuccessful court action and were ordered by the court to pay Professor Lynch’s legal costs.
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