Norwegian parliamentarian Bjørnar Moxnes has officially nominated the BDS movement for Palestinian rights for a Nobel Peace Prize. He did so with the support of his party, the progressive Rødt (Red) Party, explaining why BDS “should be supported without reservation by all democratically-minded people and states.”
The following is his statement on nominating the BDS Movement for Palestinian Rights for a Nobel Peace Prize.
As a member of the Norwegian parliament, I proudly use my authority as an elected official to nominate the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Nominating the BDS movement for this recognition is perfectly in line with the principles I and my party hold very dear. Like the BDS movement, we are fully committed to stopping an ascendant, racist and right-wing politics sweeping too much of our world, and securing freedom, justice and equality for all people.
Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement and the American Civil Rights movement, the grassroots, Palestinian-led BDS movement is a peaceful, global human rights movement that urges the use of economic and cultural boycotts to end Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights and international law.
Basic Human Rights
The BDS movement seeks to end Israel’s half-century of military rule over 4.5 million Palestinians, including the devastating ten-year illegal siege collectively punishing and suffocating nearly 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, the ongoing forcible eviction of Palestinians from their homes, and the theft of Palestinian land through the construction of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. It seeks equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, currently discriminated against by dozens of racist laws, and to secure the internationally-recognized legal right of Palestinian refugees to return to homes and lands from which they were expelled. Palestinian refugees constitute nearly 50 per cent of all Palestinians, and they are being denied their right to return, guaranteed by law to all refugees, simply because of their ethnicity.
The BDS movement’s aims and aspirations for basic human rights are irreproachable. They should be supported without reservation by all democratically-minded people and states.
The international community has a longstanding history of supporting peaceful measures such as boycotts and disinvestment against companies that profit from human rights violations. International support for such measures was critical in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and the racist colonial regime in former Rhodesia.
If the international community commits to supporting BDS to end the occupation of Palestinian territory and the oppression of the Palestinian people, new hope will be lit for a just peace for Palestinians, Israelis and all people across the Middle East.
The BDS movement has been endorsed by prominent figures, including the former Nobel Peace Prize winners Desmond Tutu and Mairead Maguire. It is gaining support from unions, academic associations, churches, and grassroots movements for the rights of refugees, immigrants, workers, women, indigenous peoples and the LGBTQI community. It is increasingly embraced by progressive Jewish groups and anti-racist movements across the world.
Twelve years since BDS’ launch, it’s high time for us to commit to doing no harm, and for all states to withdraw their complicity in Israel’s military occupation, racist apartheid rule, ongoing theft of Palestinian land, and other egregious human rights violations.
Awarding a Nobel Peace Prize to the BDS movement would be a powerful sign demonstrating that the international community is committed to supporting a just peace in the Middle East and using peaceful means to end military rule and broader violations of international law.
My hope is that this nomination can be one humble but necessary step toward bringing forth a more dignified and beautiful future for all peoples of the region.
Palestinian BDS National Committee
The Palestinian BDS National Committee is the broadest Palestinian civil society coalition that works to lead and support the BDS movement for Palestinian rights.
The broad consensus among Palestinian civil society about the need for a broad and sustained Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resulted in the Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel that was launched in July 2005 with the initial endorsement of over 170 Palestinian organizations.
The signatories to this call represent the three major components of the Palestinian people: the refugees in exile, Palestinians under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the discriminated Palestinian citizens of the Israeli state.
The efforts to coordinate the BDS campaign, that began to grow rapidly since the 2005 Call was made public, culminated in the first Palestinian BDS Conference held in Ramallah in November 2007. Out of this conference emerged the BDS National Committee (BNC) as the Palestinian coordinating body for the BDS campaign worldwide.
The BNC’s mandate and role is:
- To strengthen and spread the culture of boycott as a central form of civil resistance to Israeli occupation, colonialism and apartheid
- To formulate strategies and programs of action in accordance with the 9 July 2005 Palestinian Civil Society BDS Call
- To serve as the Palestinian reference point for BDS campaigns in the region and worldwide
- To serve as the national reference point for anti-normalization campaigns within Palestine
- To facilitate coordination and provide support & encouragement to the various BDS campaign efforts in all locations
The BNC has offices in various parts of Palestine, a small staff spread across five countries and a network of international partners.
The BNC’s main activities include:
- Campaigning with BDS activists locally and worldwide by preparing and disseminating BNC statements and public speaking
- Advocacy by briefing and lobbying policy makers
- Monitoring & Rapid Response by means of BNC calls for action against projects and initiatives which amount to recognition of or cooperation with Israel’s regime of apartheid, colonialism and occupation (i.e., normalization)
- Media Outreach in Palestine and abroad, based on a professional media strategy
- Coordination with BDS activists locally and worldwide, including preparation of regional and international organizing meetings and conferences
- Awareness Raising & Training activists and organizations about BNC analysis, standards and BDS campaign work; through workshops, BNC information materials and the BDS campaign website (www.bdsmovement.net)
- Developing the BDS Campaign in Arab countries
- Research and BDS Strategy Development
The current members of the BNC are:
Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine
General Union of Palestinian Workers
Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions
Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS (PTUC-BDS)
Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)
Palestinian National Institute for NGOs
Federation of Indep. Trade Unions
Global Palestine Right of Return Coalition
Occupied Palestine and Syrian Golan Heights Initiative
General Union of Palestinian Teachers
Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE)
General Union of Palestinian Women
General Union of Palestinian Writers
Union of Palestinian Farmers
Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign – Stop the Wall
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC)
Civic Coalition for the Defense of Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem
Coalition for Jerusalem
National Committee to Commemorate the Nakba
Union of Public Employees in Palestine-Civil Sector
General Union of Palestinian Peasants
Union of Palestinian Charitable Organizations
Union of Professional Associations
Women Campaign to Boycott Israeli Products
Palestinian Economic Monitor
Union of Youth Activity Centers-Palestine Refugee Camps
Agricultural Cooperatives Union
National Committee for Grassroots Resistance
Bjørnar Moxnes is a Norwegian parliamentarian, member of Rødt (Red) Party.
All images in this article are from the author.