Antinote: We received this press release early Friday morning, 24 November 2023.
Contact: Grace Haze, 507-400-7303, firstname.lastname@example.org
Banners Dropped at Mall of America Call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions of Israel in Solidarity with Palestine
Messages like “Boycott Apartheid Israel” and “Don’t Fund Genocide” filled the mall’s rotunda this morning during peak Black Friday shopping hours
(Bloomington, MN) Early this morning during the rush of Black Friday, activists dropped large banners in the Mall of America’s rotunda encouraging shoppers to boycott brands that are targets of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS). The group also distributed hundreds of pamphlets with information about BDS. Companies like Puma and Hewlett Packard were highlighted for providing goods that directly support Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank and their military operations.
With over 14,000 Palestinian lives taken in Gaza in recent weeks, activists around the world are continuing to plan protests and campaigns calling for the end of Israel’s occupation and brutal military campaign.
In a statement distributed on the flyer, the group said “We call on people of conscience to engage in a targeted boycott of companies upholding Israel’s system of apartheid and military occupation in Palestine. These companies profit from the subjugation, displacement, and death of the Palestinian people.”
The global BDS movement, founded in 2005, is modeled off of the anti-Apartheid movement which helped end the structures of racial segregation and oppression in South Africa. In the BDS campaign’s own words, “Israel maintains a regime of settler colonialism, apartheid, and occupation over the Palestinian people. This is only possible because of international support.” The movement coordinates targeted consumer boycotts, as well as supporting institutions in divesting their financial support from Israel and calling for international sanctions.
BDS activists and campaigns have faced significant repression from the US government in recent years, with anti-BDS legislation being passed in numerous states including Minnesota. This legislation has faced critique, particularly from activists who defend their right to organize and refute that anti-Zionist organizing is in any way antisemitic. Groups of anti-Zionist Jewish activists, such as Jewish Voice for Peace, have supported campaigns for boycotts and divestment from Israel over the years. Currently in Minnesota, a major petition is calling for the State Board of Investment to divest from Israel. Despite the repression, many groups are continuing to organize around BDS demands particularly amidst the ongoing violence in Gaza.
Original photos and anonymous statements from activists available upon request.