FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York, NY, July 9, 2014— As Israel escalated its assault on the Palestinian people, more than 100 human rights activists gathered Monday evening near New York City’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge to mark the 9th anniversary of the July 9, 2005 Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
The protestors spoke out against the current onslaught of Israeli military and settler violence against Palestinians, and vowed to intensify BDS campaigns targeting Israel, with the aim of ending Israeli apartheid and occupation. Since Monday, Israeli bombs have killed 40 Palestinians, including 13 children, in the Gaza Strip alone.
The Monday event - organized by Adalah-NY and endorsed by 16 human rights organizations - was part of the We Divest National Week of Actions, which included events in several US cities, and supported the Stop the Wall Campaign’s Month Against the Apartheid Wall, marking the 10th anniversary of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on the illegality of Israel’s Wall. In related development, in a letter published today legal experts called on the UN and member states to take action to implement the ICJ’s decision on the illegality of the Wall.
At the scenic Fulton Ferry Pier Monday evening, participants handed out fliers and held signs describing both local and international successes of the BDS movement, including the recent decision by the Gates Foundation to divest from Israeli prison contractor G4S. The event featured spirited pro-BDS songs led by guitarist Dave Lippman and the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, and spoken word performances by New York-based Palestinian-American poet Remi Kanazi, including “Normalize This!” and “This Divestment Bill Hurts My Feelings.”
Ramallah-based Palestinian-American activist and student Mariam Barghouti told attendees about Israel’s ongoing suppression of popular protests and of her recent weeklong imprisonment following a peaceful demonstration in the village of Nabi Saleh. She explained, “It is not a conflict. It is not two sides having a feud. It is a colonization, it is ethnic cleansing, it’s murder… We need to stand against it.”
A number of activists held signs stating, “1400 Palestinian kids killed by Israeli soldiers & settlers since 2001,” accompanied by a drawing of Mohammad Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian teenager who was kidnapped and killed by Israeli extremists on July 2.
Adalah-NY's Riham Barghouti captured the atmosphere of the demonstration when she declared, “We do not celebrate today. We commemorate. We commemorate every Palestinian killed, injured, arrested, orphaned, oppressed, detained, denied freedom of movement, denied a right to education, deprived of their home or of their land. And today we pledge to redouble our campaigns for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel and the international companies that continue to profit from and enable the perpetuation of Israel’s horrific crimes against humanity.”
Monday's demonstration came on the heels of a number of recent BDS movement successes, including the June 20 decision by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to divest $21 million from Hewlett-Packard, Motorola Solutions and Caterpillar, three companies that are complicit in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.