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Italian Premier Renzi gets his facts and priorities wrong on Israel and the Palestinian struggle

a BDS Italia Statement

Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, July 27, 2015

During his visit to Israel, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi gave a speech to the Knesset in which he stressed the relationship and friendship between Italy and Israel, affirming that “Italy will always be in the front line against all forms of boycott, which are futile and stupid”.

Renzi’s statement demonstrates his utter lack of knowledge of the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) launched in July 2005 by a broad coalition of Palestinian civil society as a necessary and moral response to the failure of international institutions to halt Israel’s continuing violations of international law.1

For decades and with complete impunity, Israel has carried out policies of occupation and colonisation, appropriating Palestinian land and resources, building settlements and the Apartheid Wall, approved laws that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel and forced half of the Palestinian population to live as refugees or in exile.2 A year after the operation “Protective Edge”, Israel’s third military operation in five years bombarding the Gaza Strip, which caused the death of over 2,200 people, the vast majority civilians and a quarter of them children, Israel continues to prevent, through the illegal blockade it has imposed for eight years, the reconstruction of the 18,000 homes it damaged.3

BDS serves to break the status quo in which Israel continues to violate rights with impunity, thanks to the inaction of states and institutions, and businesses, including Italian firms, continue to profit from this illegal situation.4

Now more than ever, the BDS campaign in Italy must be intensified in order to end complicity of Italian institutions and companies.

In these 10 years, the BDS movement has grown steadily, garnering ever more consensus and successes. Among the endorsers of the campaign are trade unions, movements, churches, non-governmental organisations, artists and intellectuals, including Ken Loach, Naomi Klein, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd and South African Archbishop and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu. Thanks to the work of civil society around the world, businesses, banks and pension funds have divested from the Israeli economy and complicit international companies and consumers refuse to buy Israeli products.5

The boycott is a recognised and time-honoured non-violent means to apply pressure and withdraw support from systems of injustice, just as was the case with the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Now more than ever, the BDS campaign in Italy must be intensified in order to end complicity of Italian institutions and companies.

It is “futile and stupid” to continue to ignore the violations of Israel instead of taking concrete measures to ensure respect for human rights, international humanitarian law and UN resolutions, and support the Palestinian call for freedom, justice and equality.

BDS Italy

BDS Italia is a movement supporting boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. It is comprised of associations and groups throughout Italy who endorse the 2005 call from Palestinian civil society and work to promote BDS campaigns and initiatives locally and nationally.


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