On Thursday Ireland saw one of its busiest days of action yet for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, Ronan Burtenshaw reports.
As the death toll in Gaza rose above 1,600, actions took place in six locations across the country in shops that stock Israeli goods.
In Cork, Galway, Castlebar, Westport and Limerick activists went to Marks and Spencer, Tesco, and SuperValu. They filled trollies with Israeli products, brought these to checkouts and made formal complaints about stocking goods that were helping to fund occupation, apartheid and the ongoing massacre in Gaza. All of these stores continue to stock numerous Israeli goods – from foods like dates and potatoes to wine and cosmetics. Meanwhile other shops, bars and other businesses are proclaiming their refusal to handle Israeli produce.
In Dublin groups conducted ‘die-ins’ at two Dead Sea stalls in the Jervis and Ilac Centres. They spoke to crowds of shoppers who gathered to watch the event about how the products sold in these stalls were sourced from occupied territories and amounted to war pillage – which is illegal under international law.
They then visited Toymaster to ask that the store stop stocking toys made by companies like Amav, Taf and Tiny Love whose profits helped to fund the massacre of more than 300 children in Gaza in the last month.
In all cases activists were respectful to the workers in the stores – who don’t decide what gets stocked. But the public response was terrific, with leaflets about the BDS movement received well and plenty of pledges to boycott Israeli goods in future.
Later that evening, as part of Gaza Action Ireland’s demonstration, hundreds of protestors marched down Grafton Street chanting “boycott Israel!” and received loud applause from people in pubs, shops and passing cars. Kevin Squires of the IPSC commented:
“Recent weeks have galvanised people to support the Palestinian cause. But the massacre in Gaza goes on, with another UN school bombed just this morning. The fight for justice will be long and require international solidarity. Thirty years since the famous Dunnes Stores strike we need to build a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions to help end Israeli apartheid.”
From this week the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) will be running rolling boycott actions on THURSDAYS around the country to crank up the pressure. Their contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also find information on what products to avoid and how to engage in consumer boycott yourself on the IPSC’s website or ask for details at the National Demonstration on Sat 9th August in Dublin’s O’Connell St. at 2pm (details here).