The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement
“A land without a people for a people without a land” is a common phrase associated with the Zionist movement to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine during the 19th and 20th centuries. Many of us grew up on the idea that Israel had to exist, that it was a haven for survivors of the Holocaust and a place of safety in a world where Jews have never been safe. Later we learned that the “land without people” had, in fact, been full of people — Palestinian Arabs who were forced from their ancestral homelands and live, to this day, in exile in Jordan and Lebanon, and in the “Occupied Territories” of Gaza and the West Bank.
As the organization Jewish Voice for Peace states, “Through study and action, through deep relationship with Palestinians fighting for their own liberation, and through our own understanding of Jewish safety … we have come to see that Zionism was a false and failed answer to the desperately real question many of our ancestors faced of how to protect Jewish lives from murderous antisemitism in Europe.
“While it had many strains historically, the Zionism that took hold and stands today is a settler-colonial movement, establishing an apartheid state where Jews have more rights than others. Zionism has meant profound trauma for generations, systematically separating Palestinians from their homes, land and each other. Zionism, in practice, has resulted in massacres of Palestinian people, ancient villages and olive groves destroyed, families who live just a mile away from each other separated by checkpoints and walls and children holding onto the keys of the homes from which their grandparents were forcibly exiled.”
Today, one of the most important acts of solidarity with Palestinians, pro-Palestinian Israelis and anti-Zionist Jews is the movement called BDS — Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. The BDS movement calls for a boycott of Israeli and international corporations which benefit from the ongoing occupation of Palestine.
This movement also calls on countries to impose sanctions on Israel until a peaceful and just solution is reached and calls on investors to divest from any companies profiting from the occupation.
The Loretto Community has joined Jewish Voice for Peace in shareholder activism, protesting Caterpillar’s selling militarized equipment to Israel, one bulldozer of which killed the activist Rachel Corrie as she and others tried to nonviolently protect a Palestinian home from destruction by the Israeli Defense Force.
We encourage Loretto Community members and others to educate themselves about the situation in Israel/Palestine and to take the actions that conscience dictates.