The Goal of the BDS Movement Is Justice

Israel denies justice and therefore does not exist as a legitimate state

Justice and legitimacy are one and inexorably linked to the Charters and Declarations of the United Nations. This is a truth that Michael J. Rosenberg does not address as he castigates the supporters of the BDS movement in his recent article: “The Goal of the BDS Movement is the Dismantling of Israel”, wherein he states:

The reason why BDS keeps failing despite the almost universal recognition that the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the blockade of Gaza, are illegal and immoral is that the BDS movement is not targeting the occupation per se. Its goal is the end of the State of Israel itself…

In fact, the BDS Movement does not have to dismantle the state of Israel.  The state of Israel is not only dissembling its inherent Judaic roots of compassion and equity for all humans but delegitimizing the state itself by defying the International Laws established for all member states of the United Nations. Let me illustrate with 16 of the 30 Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that the Israeli government signed in 1949. I will place Articles 16 to 29 after this article as footnotes for those who would want to continue the full impact of Israel’s illegal occupation of a defenseless people. One cannot argue truth when one has abandoned it as Rosenberg has by elimination of the essence of why the BDS Movement must exist, to rectify 65 years of injustice.

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

In 1949, Israel adopted and signed this Proclamation.

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the commonpeople,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore, THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims

THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Israel is under this provision as an occupying power.

Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Apply this to the conditions that imprison the Palestinians.

Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Palestinians living under the edicts of an occupying power have been assassinated without recourse to due process as declared to be a right under this proclamation, are condemned to constant harassment, forced break-ins of homes and businesses, and subjected to military checkpoints wherever they go. They have no security being without a military of any kind.

Article 4.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Under the occupation the Palestinians are in fact enslaved by denial of articles of this Proclamation or in servitude to the occupiers through confiscation of their lands and homes or by imprisonment.

Article 5.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

It has been established that Israeli prisons use torture as former Directors of Mossad have attested utilizing conditions that deny formal charges, right of access to their accuser or of evidence used to incarcerate them.

Article 6.

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

The Palestinians are subject to the laws of the Israeli government and its courts, laws they were not allowed to approve or disprove; they are, in fact, subjugated by laws that are based on beliefs different from those created for the International community by the United Nations or allowed to create their own laws responsive to those designed by that body.

Article 7.

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.  All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

It is obvious that the Palestinian people are discriminated against under Israeli laws and have only token representation by the legal system that incarcerates them.

Article 8.

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Even the UNHRC has been neutralized to provide such rights.

Article 9.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

This is a matter of daily routine under the Occupation with laws in place that protect the perpetrators.

Article 10.

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

No such system of justice exists in the occupied territories for the Palestinian people.

Article 11.

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence or international law, at the time when it was committed nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Check the human rights witness to checkpoints that mock and ridicule Palestinians.

Article 13.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

This is a right totally denied to the Palestinian people yet open to others who immigrate to the state because of religion.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

This is a right denied to the Palestinians.

Article 14.

(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

This is a right that properly belongs to the Palestinian refugees but denied by the state of Israel.

(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15.

(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.

This is a right denied to the Palestinians.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Needless to say, there is no need to go further with all the rights denied to the Palestinian people by the state of Israel. I will let the flow of the Universal Declaration continue without comment only to make it absolutely clear that Israel is a rogue member of the United Nations having not only denied the rights of the indigenous people of Palestine but invaded at will surrounding neighbors without provocation beyond their “existential” beliefs that justify in their minds disregard of international law. Since they have the bought blessing of the United States Congress they have no fear of retribution or the need to respond to demands that they adhere to the laws designed by the communities of nations around the world.

In fact, the Israeli Zionist government has declared itself illegitimate by disregarding the laws that it purportedly adopted when it signed as a member of the United Nations in 1949. When they determine that they are responsible as detailed here point by point in defiance of International Law then they can blame others for seeking Justice for the people of Palestine. Justice exists in the universal recognition declared by 193 nations around the globe, it does not exist in Israel.

Here are the remaining Articles of the Declaration. They speak for themselves; we must speak for those who are denied their rights.

Article 16.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

(2) Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country.

(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22.

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23.

(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28.

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29.

(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30.

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

William A. Cook is a Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. He edited The Plight of the Palestinians: A Long History of Destruction (2010). He can be reached at: wcook@laverne.edu. Read other articles by William A., or visit William A.'s website.