Sanctioning Apartheid: Comparing the South African and Palestinian Campaigns for Boycotts, Disinvestment, and Sanctions
This chapter critically compares the campaigns for boycotts, disinvestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel and South Africa. While the South Africa analogy is frequently invoked to justify BDS against Israel, the political economy and social conflict dynamics in both cases are radically different, making it unlikely that ‘success’ can simply be replicated. In South Africa, BDS were used to supplement an active liberation struggle; in Palestine, they are expected, unrealistically, to create one. Furthermore, only the existence of mass struggle allowed BDS to ‘bite’ in South Africa. Finally, the Palestinian BDS campaign lacks the South African opposition’s clarity over goals and the mechanism by which BDS should advance these. BDS supporters must beware simplistic analogies and think more strategically.